Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer indicated on Wednesday that the Senate would not take immediate action on legislation to reform the nation's gun laws, pointing to Republican opposition.
A shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday left at least 19 children and two adults dead, as well as the gunman. The shooting renewed calls for a congressional response to gun violence.
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In remarks on the Senate floor, Schumer indicated that the chamber might not soon vote on two House-passed background check bills, in apparent acknowledgment the bills could not clear the chamber's 60-vote filibuster threshold.
"What do we do about it?" Schumer said. "If the slaughter of schoolchildren can't convince Republicans to buck the NRA, what can we do? There are some who want this body to quickly vote on sensible gun safety legislation, legislation supported by the vast majority of Americans, Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike."
Schumer said that although he believes "accountability votes" are important, he would not soon hold a doomed-to-fail vote on the bills, arguing the people know where their senators stand on gun legislation.
"They know," Schumer said. "They know because my Republican colleagues are perfectly clear on this issue, crystal clear. Republicans don't pretend that they support sensible gun safety legislation."
In reference to the November elections, Schumer said, "Americans can make a choice" against Republicans' "guns at all costs doctrine."
Schumer called the prospects of a bipartisan deal "slim," arguing Democrats have been "burnt in the past" by Republicans.
Although Schumer framed the issue as a matter for voters, Democrats have not focused on gun legislation while controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House since early last year.
In his own remarks on the Senate floor, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the shooting "literally sickening" and "senseless brutality."
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"Words simply fail," McConnell said.
In his remarks, McConnell did not elaborate on what, if any, legislation Republicans would support.