Utah’s Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee voted no today on a motion to proceed with legislation in the U-S Senate that could alter regulations for buying and owning guns.
The Senate voted 68-31 to move forward on a bill supporters say would help lower gun violence across the nation. But Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee were not among the sixteen Republicans voting yes on the motion. Hatch says he voted against proceeding because the language of the bill and potential amendments were not made available before the vote.
“We still don’t even know what’s in the gun control legislation because the text of it hasn’t been made public. Now I cannot in good conscience move forward on a proposal based on an outline and talking points. Let’s take the time to understand what’s in the legislation, what it will and won’t do and how it impacts every American citizen before we vote on it,” says Hatch.
Utah’s Junior Senator Mike Lee joined fellow Republican senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas last week, threatening to filibuster any effort to move forward on the bill. But a deal to extend background checks of gun sales led by Republican Pat Toomey of Pennslyvania and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, all but derailed a filibuster at this stage in the process. Senator Hatch wasn’t a part of Lee’s efforts, but he says he’s not ruling out that strategy in the future.
“Should I conclude that these changes to the second amendment that they’ve written and that the bill as a whole is something that should not be supported, I probably would support a filibuster in the end to stop it. But I’m going to keep an open mind, look at it and see what I can do,” says Hatch.
The bill now moves to a stage where Senators will offer, debate and vote on amendments to the legislation. It’s a process that could take weeks before a final vote on the legislation is called.