Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told a Nevada television station Friday that the Senate is unlikely to pass an assault weapons ban or a radical revamp of filibuster rules.
But the Democratic leader was optimistic about changes to immigration laws, noting that it will be the chamber’s top priority this year.
In the interview that aired on Vegas PBS this weekend, Reid, a gun rights supporter, struck a pragmatic tone on gun control measures.
“Let’s be realistic. In the Senate, we’re going to do what we think can get through the House. And I’m not going to be going through a bunch of these gyrations just to say we’ve done something because if we’re really legislators, the purpose of it is to pass legislation,” Reid said.
He said he wants to see what President Barack Obama wants to do by administrative means. Reid also expressed reservations about legislation to outlaw assault weapons, a measure that he has long opposed.
“Is it something that can pass the Senate? Maybe. Is it something that can pass the House? I doubt it,” Reid said. “So I think there are things that we know we can do.”
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the No. 3 Democratic leader and a longtime supporter of stronger gun regulations, told reporters Monday that while he would like to see a more comprehensive approach to gun regulation, any incremental step would be positive.
“I think that Vice President Biden as well as those of us in the Senate who have been involved in the pro-gun-safety movement and those in the House are trying to figure out the maximum package that we think is passable,” Schumer said.
“I think everyone should just take a deep breath and realize where we are and where we need to go. We have too much violence in our society,” Reid said. “It’s not just from guns; it’s from a lot of stuff, and I think we should take a look at television, movies, video games and weapons. And I hope that everybody will just be careful and cautious.”
Reid said he would discourage action only “to get a headline in a newspaper.”
Filibuster Changes Will Be Modest
On the question of Senate rules, which are due to be the first item for action when the chamber returns Jan. 22, Reid offered suggestions that could form the framework for a deal with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. But his proposals would fall short of what Democratic advocates and outside groups have pushed for. Democrats have argued that Republicans have forced them to file cloture, or a motion to cut off debate, on too many pieces of legislation, resulting in bills being either blocked or delayed because of the time-consuming nature of the cloture process.
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