Gun control debate: Trump to meet with key lawmakers Wednesday

In the congressional debate over gun control, all eyes are on the Cabinet Room in the White House for a Wednesday aft...

Posted: Feb 28, 2018 2:26 PM
Updated: Feb 28, 2018 2:27 PM

In the congressional debate over gun control, all eyes are on the Cabinet Room in the White House for a Wednesday afternoon meeting.

As House Republicans made clear, any and all gun restrictions were off the table, and senators still grappled with what, if any, path forward they had. It's President Donald Trump who will dictate the next steps in the gun debate.

Bottom line: Sweeping gun restrictions -- at this point, any gun restrictions -- are not in the cards in the Republican-led Congress. That much seems clear. But the top aides in both parties continue to acknowledge that the President can scramble the direction of things if the meeting takes some kind of unexpected turn toward, say, the universal background checks measure that's hanging out in the Senate.

Several aides in touch with the White House on guns say the same thing: There is no unified position on where the building stands on the issue.

"All over the map," one aide said.

"Serious splits on how this should go," said another.

And perhaps most importantly, from an aide working on the path forward on guns: "They are sitting over there just waiting to see with the President tweets or says, then trying to translate it for us as best they can. It's really reactive at this point, and that makes our job more complicated."

All of this makes Wednesday's meeting all the more important.

Actual developments

The parameters for an actual Senate gun debate are starting to form behind the scenes. Right now, talks continue about setting up a debate next week, with the bipartisan background check compliance bill -- "Fix NICS" -- serving as the base legislation and with each side getting a handful of amendment votes.

RELATED: The path on guns is narrow, but emerging

How to view this: Aides in both parties say the votes are not currently there in the Senate for universal background checks, raising the age for long gun purchases or limiting high capacity magazines. Assault-style weapons ban is completely out of the question. But Senate Majority Leader McConnell now appears willing to give some of those amendments votes (in exchange for several on the Republican side) next week if a time limit agreement can be reached. Game changer? No. But a substantive effort to do something? Yes.

And yet: No matter what the Senate does, House Speaker Paul Ryan made crystal clear where House Republicans stand at the moment. During a weekly news conference Tuesday, the Wisconsin Republican said, "We should be focusing on making sure that citizens who shouldn't get guns in the first place don't get those guns."

Reality check: As it currently stands, the end result remains likely to be what it's looked like for several days -- the "Fix NICS" bill, combined with some type of financial package for school security and violence prevention.

The Senate floor was the place to be Tuesday afternoon

Sitting in the gallery overlooking the Senate floor during Tuesday's vote series gave a great window into how this was all coming together.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranked Republican in the chamber, was discussing possible time agreements and amendment structures with Connecticut Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal on the Senate floor. After a few days without contact, McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer spoke. Cornyn spoke with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the co-sponsors of a universal background check bill, as did Schumer.

Behind the scenes: Multiple sources say the closed-door Senate Republican policy lunch and the leadership meeting beforehand made clear just how little consensus exists on the path forward even among GOP senators themselves.

The lunch itself focused primarily on school safety, with an array of proposals brought up as possible options. Gun restrictions were hardly broached, save for several comments about how it's the direction Democrats want to go.

"There is an acknowledgment that we should do something," one GOP senator told me. "But we are all over the place as to what that something is right now."

Reality check part 2: While Wednesday's White House meeting is expected by aides and lawmakers in both parties to lay out the path forward for the debate, don't think there aren't also risks. As the Senate Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on the fragile construct of a debate next week, multiple aides expressed concern to me Tuesday night that the President will do something to blow all of that up, and potentially live on camera.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 667262

Reported Deaths: 12737
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion913541660
Lake48729891
Allen36175646
Hamilton32489398
St. Joseph30361514
Elkhart25536420
Vanderburgh21343382
Tippecanoe20240205
Johnson16485363
Porter16077281
Hendricks15955302
Clark12079182
Madison11810323
Vigo11699234
Monroe10440164
Delaware9899179
LaPorte9838201
Howard9127203
Kosciusko8600111
Bartholomew7531147
Hancock7471134
Warrick7456153
Floyd7269173
Wayne6661192
Grant6465158
Boone618691
Morgan6135129
Dubois5942112
Dearborn551570
Cass5489100
Marshall5456105
Henry544395
Noble513878
Jackson465967
Shelby463591
Lawrence4197113
Gibson405585
Harrison404065
Clinton397653
Montgomery391984
DeKalb388278
Miami358463
Knox357886
Whitley352438
Huntington350877
Steuben340455
Putnam334660
Wabash333976
Ripley328062
Adams326349
Jasper319343
White298553
Jefferson296574
Daviess286196
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261732
Wells259175
Scott252150
LaGrange242670
Clay241644
Randolph226577
Spencer219630
Jennings216944
Washington213327
Sullivan203839
Fountain202842
Starke190051
Owen184254
Fulton179937
Jay178828
Carroll176919
Perry174136
Orange171451
Rush165722
Vermillion161543
Franklin160135
Tipton150041
Parke140216
Pike128633
Blackford120727
Pulaski107844
Newton96832
Brown95340
Crawford92613
Benton92513
Martin80314
Warren76014
Switzerland7568
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 978471

Reported Deaths: 17501
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1130371251
Cuyahoga969331881
Hamilton739231067
Montgomery47536923
Summit40720831
Butler35859531
Lucas35802720
Stark29602826
Warren22593275
Lorain22218424
Mahoning19586551
Lake18564332
Clermont18541205
Delaware16614121
Licking15096194
Fairfield14653188
Trumbull14437424
Greene13664221
Medina13531237
Clark12394256
Wood11670170
Portage11140172
Allen10822216
Richland10376188
Miami10065194
Muskingum8244117
Columbiana8174210
Pickaway8096111
Tuscarawas8083232
Marion8021127
Wayne7939199
Erie6972146
Ross6178132
Geauga6118142
Hancock6032121
Scioto600988
Ashtabula6002154
Lawrence527886
Union516741
Darke5052116
Belmont5000137
Huron4862108
Jefferson4843137
Sandusky4800112
Washington475596
Seneca4738111
Athens466449
Mercer459781
Auglaize456682
Shelby442679
Knox4056105
Putnam400593
Madison395755
Fulton383461
Ashland383083
Brown375252
Defiance374088
Crawford360198
Logan357673
Preble354187
Clinton342755
Highland328551
Ottawa325471
Williams303568
Jackson292046
Champaign291149
Guernsey288945
Perry271348
Fayette270143
Morrow261637
Henry247961
Hardin247359
Holmes244497
Coshocton241156
Van Wert230357
Gallia223938
Adams218339
Pike217328
Wyandot212450
Hocking195154
Carroll182143
Paulding161134
Meigs136031
Noble129233
Monroe117637
Morgan102220
Harrison100731
Vinton76713
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
Mostly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 64°
Huntington
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 64°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 64°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 63°
Breezy, Warm Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events