House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said it’s unclear whether lawmakers can reach a bipartisan deal on gun legislation following a meeting with fellow Republican leaders at the White House on Tuesday.
The Louisiana Republican said while “good faith negotiations and conversations” are taking place between parties and chambers, he doesn’t feel the bills Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has advocated for the Senate to take up would prevent future instances of mass violence. Scalise said Tuesday’s talks centered around both potential new measures aimed at preventing future shootings and improving the implementation of current laws.
“We talked about some of the things that still need to be done to make the background check system work better, making current laws work better. There are a lot of gaps in our current laws where people are able to buy guns, who shouldn’t have been able to buy guns that had criminal records and other things that weren’t getting fed into the background check system,” he told reporters following the meeting.
“And so we passed a law to make that work better. He’s looking at, you know, what might be other laws that he can get an agreement on, but the other concern is, you know, do the Democrats actually want to solve problems or do they want to just be more aggressive about taking away people’s guns.”
Scalise’s comments come as lawmakers and the White House attempt to figure out the next steps toward crafting gun policies in the wake of two mass shootings that took place last month.
Pelosi has pushed for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring House-passed universal background checks legislation, which faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled upper chamber.
Sens. Toomey (R-Pa.)has crafted proposals with both Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), but it remains uncertain whether either plan can garner enough support or the support of the administration.
“We had a lengthy discussion about the fall agenda and there’s no announcements to come out of it. We talked about the things you would expect us to talk about—the appropriations process, the possibility of gun legislation, and it was a good discussion,” McConnell told reporters following the meeting.
Asked if he liked what he was hearing in the gun discussion, McConnell didn’t answer as the elevator doors closed.
Jordain Carney contributed.