The gun bill gets past the filibuster threat.
The Senate voted 68-31 on Thursday to send gun control legislation to the floor, passing a key test vote but setting up a much more painful battle toward final passage.
Sixteen Republicans joined all but two Democrats to back the procedural motion. Many of the GOP lawmakers who voted for the motion to proceed don’t support the bill, and warned that they may not vote to allow a final up-or-down vote. But they decided not to eschew the debate.
“I welcome a debate on gun control and you should too,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
The two Democrats to vote against the motion were Sens. Mark Pryor (AR) and Mark Begich (AK), both of whom are up for reelection next year.
“Americans are looking to us for solutions and for action, not filibustering or sloganeering,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT). “The Second Amendment is secure and will remain secure and protected.”
Between Republican threats to use every procedural tool available to gum up the legislation — the Senate provides many — and skittish red-state Democrats facing reelection in 2014, the fate of the legislation is uncertain.
One step at a time.