Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday the Senate will turn to a banking bill next week, dashing hopes of many senators in both parties that the Senate would be able to pass gun legislation quickly in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.
The decision reflects the reality that negotiators have not settled on legislation that can pass the GOP-led House and Senate and be signed by President Donald Trump.
Trump scrambled the debate at an unusual White House meeting with bipartisan lawmakers Wednesday when he embraced Democratic proposals and rejected Republican ideas.
"We'd love to do that at some point," McConnell told reporters in the Capitol as senators were casting their final vote of the week. "I'm hoping there is a way forward."
Asked if there will be a way forward on guns next week, McConnell replied, "No, we're going to the Crapo bill next week."
He was referring to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican, who has authored a measure to make changes to the Dodd-Frank banking law.
On guns, senators are now engaging in bipartisan talks to see what, if anything, they can agree on. One measure that it appears would be able to get at least 60 votes to pass is a bipartisan bill to improve reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The measure, commonly referred to as "Fix NICS," would offer financial incentives to state and local authorities for reporting information to the background check system.
"We'll get 80 votes on it if we get a vote on the floor," predicted Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, about the measure he co-authored.