Dems appear to have the votes to break gun control filibuster

A preliminary vote on the legislation will take place on Thursday, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced

By Jillian Rayfield

Published April 9, 2013 8:40PM (EDT)

The Senate will hold a preliminary vote on gun control legislation to break the Republican filibuster on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced, after the Democrats pulled together enough votes from Republicans.

"We're going to vote Thursday," Reid said. "I'm going to file cloture on the bill tonight."

Though Democrats do have the numbers to break the filibuster, they still might not have enough votes to overcome other procedural hurdles and hold an up-or-down vote.

More than a dozen Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said that they would join a filibuster led by Rand Paul to stop debate on gun control legislation.

But at least eight other Senate Republicans broke ranks and said they would vote for cloture with the Democrats. From the Washington Post:

Thus far, eight GOP senators — John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Susan Collins (Maine) — have said they will not join in a filibuster being planned by a handful of the party’s more conservative senators.

“I am not going to join in a filibuster against bringing the bill to the floor as long as there is ample opportunity for amendments,” Collins told reporters. “It’s my understanding that amendments will be allowed to the bill, which is very important since there are portions of the bill that I do not support.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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