Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) urged his fellow Democrats on Wednesday not to insert any gun control or other unrelated amendments into budget negotiations.
Instead, Senator Schumer said his caucus should focus on opposing the Republican tax cut proposal, tax increases on the middle-class, cuts to Medicare or Medicaid, and adding to the deficit. He said he wanted to avoid a drawn-out process with multiple off-topic votes.
"I would like and I am urging my caucus to limit it to four issues," Schumer told the Hill. "Those are the four issues we’d like to focus on instead of doing a long vote-a-rama on every other issue."
Democrats and their allies in the gun control movement have pushed for new gun control measures in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1. Gun control activists said Democrats need to pursue the new gun control measures they've expressed support for.
"Democrats need to find courage and learn to speak to the issue," Ladd Everitt, director of the group 1Pulse4America, told the paper. "There’s a lot of anger in this movement about the response from Democrats right now. People think it’s totally inadequate."
Schumer's fellow Democrats have yet to commit to his plan. Senator Martin Heinrich (D., N.M.) said he agrees that the budget debate shouldn't be bogged down by unrelated items. "On a budget vote-a-rama I think we’re going to be focused on the fundamentals, the fact that this budget cuts Medicare, Medicaid and raises taxes on the working poor," he told the Hill. "That’s going to be our focus."
However, Senator Chris Murphy (D., Conn.), one of the Senate's most vocal gun control proponents, said he is drafting gun control amendments but didn't know if he would actually call for a vote on any of them.
"I'm drafting a variety of amendments," he told the paper. "Some of them have to do with gun policy. I don’t know whether I will eventually call them. I would only put things on the floor that have the broad support of the caucus. This budget is so toxic on its own terms I think there’s a question about whether you want to take the focus away from this terrible [budget] vote they’re about to cast."