Can an AWB pass the US Senate

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Girodin, Dec 19, 2012.

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  1. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    This post examines the likelihood of a proposed AWB being approved by the US senate. It does not address whether it could then pass the house or whether it would survive constitutional scrutiny by the courts.

    Sen. Feinstein has stated she will once again introduce legislation to create a so called AWB. The President has called for gun control measures. Left wing media has called for gun control as have many higher profile Democratic politicians. It is abundantly clear that the gauntlet has been thrown down and we will have to fight to preserve or core rights and freedom.

    Some folks here and elsewhere have made statements that seem to suggest this legislation taking effect is a done deal. I have seen some discussion of the likelihood of this bill passing but I have not seen a real thorough reasoned discussion of it. I think it would behoove us to have that discussion before declaring the sky is falling. Remember we have a separation of powers and furthermore we have bicameralism within the legislative branch.

    It seems a given that Obama would happily sign anything that could get through congress. What would survive in the courts is far from certain. Thus, I’d like to focus on the likelihood of gun control making it through congress.

    As we know from basic civics class we have a bicameral legislature, that is to say there are two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Legislation must get a bare majority in both houses. Let’s do some congressional head counting and see how we think the vote is likely to come down.

    The Senate is where Ms. Fienstein will introduce her bill so let us discuss it first. There are of course 100 US senate seats. The bill is to be introduced when the new congress comes in. Thus, we should look at the makeup of the 113th congress not the 112th. The Democrats will have 53 seats. There are two independents who are for our purposes in essence Democrats (one Liberman a long time Democrat has voiced support for the legislation). Republicans hold the remaining 45 seats. I mention these numbers because the fact is this legislation will be drafted and pushed for buy the Democratic party bosses. Its hopes also seem to live or die with the Democrats.

    To win a vote the antis will need 51 votes. Can they get it. Let’s look at it. I think there will be at best a few Republican Senators that will vote to support it. We can look at that assertion in more detail later. It should also be noted that Republicans could filibuster and cloture (the procedural move to force an end below is a list of my projected votes with commentary for some and a note of the likely swing voters.

    In the fight to get to 50 votes it will very likely be a party split with limited crossover. Some Senators are going to be predictably in one camp or another. Below I discuss those that are likely to make the difference in whether this measure can pass the Senate.
     
  2. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Key Democratic Senators

    Let’s start with the supposedly pro gun democratic Senators. There is one A+ rated Democratic Senator and seven A rated Democratic Senators.

    Max Baucus, he has an A+ rating from the NRA. He is from Montana a state with a strong gun culture. MT at the state level scores only two points on Brady Campaign’s score card. Which means it is tied for 47th for least restrictive gun laws. Importantly Baucus faces reelection in the coming election. Support of an AWB or similar would likely hurt his chances significantly in that race. Recent state wide partisan races have been close races. In 2012 Democratic Governor won a narrow race 49% to 47%. In the same election Mr. Romney carried the state. He seems an improbable yes vote.

    Two supposed “Pro gun” Democratic senators with A ratings from the NRA have openly made statements indicating they will support the legislation Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Warner (D-Va.)

    Donelly (IN) He was endorsed by the NRA in both 2008 and 2010. However, we are seeing the many instances of that not meaning much at all. He seems to be another. He said recently. “I think there’s a discussion beginning. I heard [West Virginia] Sen. [Joe] Manchin this morning, and I think everybody’s willing to listen and be part of that discussion.”

    Henrich NM: Yet another case of an NRA A rated Dem that is lock step with his parties long time position on this issue. He recently said “I don’t need a 25-round clip for effective home defense, and I sure don’t need one for hunting. That’s just too much killing power. It defies common sense.”
    Casey (PA) He in a recent statement said “everything should be on the table.” Everything would seem to include taking away people’s constitutional rights. Again not outright support, but showing he is open to idea of it.
    T. Johnson (S.D) He appears to be yet another NRA backed “Pro Gun” Dem that is showing his true colors. He has said, “tragedy will certainly force us as a country to have a discussion about our gun laws, as well as our mental health system.” Again not outright support of the proposed infringements on liberty that are coming but nothing close to opposition either.

    Warner (VA): The trend continues with Warner. He has said: “I believe every American has Second Amendment rights, the ability to hunt is part of our culture. I’ve had a NRA (National Rifle Association) rating of an “A” but, you know, enough is enough,” Sen. Warner said. “I think most of us, realize that there are ways to get to rational gun control. There are ways to grapple with the obvious challenges of mental illness.”

    Sen.-elect Heidi Heitkamp (ND): She in another NRA “A” rated Dem that is waffling now that the issue is actually an issue. The Senator Elect made a statement that “possible changes to our gun laws” would be part of the conversation after the Newtown shooting. “As always, I will listen closely to North Dakotans and seek their input on any possible changes to current law.” Again not outright support

    Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) She has an F rating but is from a swing state with generally pro gun attitudes and a strong libertarian streak. However, she is openly calling for an assault weapons ban. “We need a comprehensive approach that includes improving access to mental health services, better enforcement of our current laws, and we need to get deadly assault weapons off our streets,” She said in a recent statement.

    Swing State/Close Race Senators

    Harry Reid: The next highest rated Dem Senator is Harry Reid with a B. Despite coming from a state with a strong gun culture and having tried to pass himself off as a Pro gun guy has made statements indicating he would likely support the legislation. He said, “We need to accept the reality that we’re not doing enough to protect our citizens,’’ Reid said after a moment of silence on the Senate floor. “In the coming days and weeks we’ll engage in a meaningful conversation and proper debate about how to change laws and culture that allow this violence to continue to grow...And every idea should be on the table.’’ As an aside I wonder how the folks at Arsenal feel having supported his reelection. I also wonder how all the folks on here who swore up and down that Reid was a defender of the RKBA and had caustic reactions to those who tried to call out Arsenal for supporting him feel now.

    Rockefeller: he is the other Senator from WV. He does not have the NRA “A” rating that this peer Manchin has, he only received a C. His C rating is pretty appaulling to me considering he voted for the 1994 assault weapons ban . Unlike Manchin, Rockefeller is up for reelection in two years and thus would be facing the political fallout of a yes vote when it was much fresher in voters’ minds. However, many think he may retire so that may be of no concern to him. He has openly called for reistating the AWB. He recently said: “West Virginia has a proud hunting tradition and respect for the Second Amendment,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “But most hunters I talk with know that prohibiting the use of military-grade weapons or clips that can fire dozens of rounds in a matter of seconds will not impact those traditions, nor do they have a place on our streets. We need to pass a bill that will again prohibit such weapons.” He is another person that seems to be all too happy to deny the reality of why we have the 2nd amendment. It has nothing to do with hunting. I scoff at the idea he has anything approaching respect for the 2nd.

    Sen. Landrieu (LA) faces reelection in two years. Although Landrieu only has a C rating from the NRA she is thought to be in a race that would be made more difficult if she were to support the bill. She is generally speaking one of the more conservative Democrats. As of this writing I could not find a recent statement on the matter. Perhaps those more familiar with LA politics may have more insight to how she might vote.

    Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is another Dem that is facing reelection and is thought to be a vote that will be difficult for the Democrats to marshal. However, she does have an F rating from the NRA. I have not been able to find a recent statement. I did find a letter attributed to her in which she stated she supported an AWB, the letter was dated 2009. I do not think she can be counted on for a no vote.
    Mark Udall (D-CO): He is a Senator from a swing state that is generally pro-gun. He has a C rating from the NRA. One of his potential challengers in a re-election bid. Rep Garderner has said he will oppose any AWB. Udall seems to be trying to measure the political climate. He released the following vague and general statement. He has refused interviews with local news outlets, ostensibly dogging the question.

    Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO): He is not making an outright call for an AWB but is not opposing it either. He said the following: “We should have a comprehensive and civil conversation about finding the right and most effective solutions. That includes exploring a number of areas — from our gun laws to mental health services and violence in our culture.

    “What we know is that the status quo isn’t working and that if we want to arrive at a common sense approach we can’t afford to have the same ideological fervor and rhetoric we’ve seen in the past. This discussion should be worthy of the victims of Columbine, Aurora, Newton and the many other tragedies that have struck this nation.”

    Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) She has an F rating but is from a swing state with generally pro gun attitudes and a strong libertarian streak. However, she is openly calling for an assault weapons ban. “We need a comprehensive approach that includes improving access to mental health services, better enforcement of our current laws, and we need to get deadly assault weapons off our streets,” She said in a recent statement
     
  3. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Key republicans

    Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) — the only Republican who gets ‘F’ ratings from gun groups. He is a likely yes vote for an AWB.

    There are some other Republican Senators that don’t have as strong of credentials when it comes to being pro RKBAs. They include Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.).

    Of this group Coats and Collins are the biggest worries. Each achieved only a C+ rating from the NRA. How in the world the NRA gave him even a C+ is beyond me. He has openly supported a number of gun control measures. He supported the Feinstein amendment in ’93. I’m not sure he feels any differently today. Basically, he favored the original AWB and likely will vote for it now. He supported many gun control measures in the past. Biden-Thurmond Violent Crime Control Act of 1991. It would have created a waiting period for handgun purchases and restricted semi-automatic firearms. he supported the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in ’92. It imposed a waiting period before a handgun could be transferred to an individual. This waiting period ended when the computerized instant check system was created. Coats also supported Feinstein Amendment 1152 to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1993, which was an AWB. They guy is an enemy of liberty then and likely will be now. How they NRA gave him anything other than an F is beyond me.

    Collins: She has not shown a strong commitment to RKBA and won her 2008 Senate race by a wide margin (some of that was surely the backlash against Dems in 2008 though as it was her widest margin to date). The wide margin may make her less fearful of backlash. She does stand for reelection soon though. Collins supported extending the AWB in 2004. Some of the statements she has made about the issue can be read here: http://www.gsnmagazine.com/node/28081?c=law_enforcement_first_responders

    McCain: “The Maverick” has don’t have a real strong history on protecting the RKBA. Despite his markedly more conservative bend since losing the ’08 election he has not been reassuring on protecting our constitutional rights from this most recent attack. He has said that he does not reject outright the idea of banning certain types of weapons and ammunition. He has not (that I have seen ) come out in full support but statements like the one’s he has made are very worrying and mean he cannot be counted as a NO vote.

    Mark Rubio: Rubio has come out and made statements that are fairly vague. He has insisted he still supports the 2nd amendment (they all claim that however, even why openly calling for new restrictions) but said he is “open to measures that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.” His spokesman said: ““supports a serious and comprehensive study of our laws to find new and better ways to prevent any more mass shootings.” The statements are vague enough to be meaningless, which is of course by design.

    Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa He has already come out and said it's time for a debate that would include gun control.

    Senator Orin Hatch (Utah-R): Orin Hatch face a strong opposition in the primaries but was able to win and cruised to victory in the general election. The Senator had swerved to the right after witnessing fellow Utah Senator lose a primary to a tea party candidate Mike Lee. Hatch sought to undue decades of not being that conservative. He will not seek reelection and thus is free from the burden of playing a very strong conservative. He has an A+ rating from the NRA but showed some openness to gun control in the wake of Columbine. Utah was the first state to receive a zero from the Brady campaign and is model for all the states. Hatch’s constituents assuredly would by and large oppose any gun control measures. However, the concern is that Hatch is at this point essentially politically unaccountable, has questionable commitment to our constitutional ideals and may go any which way on this. He has been silent on the issue (at least as of this writing and based on what I could find).
     
  4. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    As you can see some of these swing vote senators may be open to hearing from their constituents and seeing that they do not expect some knee jerk reaction that will do nothing to make anyone safer and is truly designed to be human control. They need to know that people actually oppose these measures.

    I am in the process of finishing a full senate roster with my predictions of how they will vote and whether they seem to be checking the political climate and are thus important targets of our efforts to preserve our freedoms.
     
  5. Agsalaska

    Agsalaska Member

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    The answer is yes. Unfortunately.
     
  6. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

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    Very nice summary, Girodin.

    Thanks.
     
  7. wojownik

    wojownik Member

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    A few more semi-surprises to add from the (D) column:

    Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) has come out for an AWB, which is a bit of a surprise. Her office made a statement: "Claire supports an assault weapons ban, and wants to take a hard look at the number of rounds in magazines."

    Martin Heinrich (Sen.-Elect, D- New Mexico) - coming out for mag capacity restrictions - using the "no hunter needs that many rounds" argument. His fellow NM Senator - Tom Udall - is also in favor of looking at "reasonable" legislation, whatever that means.

    Bill Nelson (D-Florida) also came out in favor of AWB. Only a slight surprise.

    Tim Johnson (D-SD) is making sounds like he might be open to an AWB. Big risk for a guy up for re-election in 2014.
     
  8. Silent Bob

    Silent Bob Member

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    These wishy-washy Dems need to be hammered like the jutting nails in a Habitat for Humanity house.
     
  9. wow6599

    wow6599 Member

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    Not a surprise for someone who lives in Missouri. Her and Obama are "tight".

    We can thank Todd Akin for her being in office......
     
  10. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    One thing I forgot to note in my Rubio analysis is that he may have presidential ambitions and voting for an AWB would seriously hurt him in any future bid win the GOP nomination.
     
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I started well before 1968, and I can tell you we are in much better shape then we ever were. Over the last decade literally millions of tactical firearms have been made or imported and sold, and very few of the owners will give up what they have without a fight. One common denominator among those buyers is that they are all old enough to vote.

    No less an authority then the Supreme Court has decided that the Second Amendment - like the other nine - represent a right of the people to keep and bare arms, and as such the Obama Administration would be on a very shaky ground trying to institute a ban.

    In 1994 president Clinton and his leftist party passed an AWB before the above had come about, and in 1996 gun owners moved control of both the House and Senate over to the other party. Al Gore never got to be president because in a close election the “gun vote” prevented him from carrying his own home state.

    If we don’t cave in we can do it again.

    Legislators’ most pressing concern is getting reelected and collecting campaign contributions to facilitate it. Anything else is secondary. Therefore they specialize in kicking the can down a road for some future decision rather then solve hot-button issues.

    The so-called fiscal cliff is a good example. They kicked the can down the road, but here they are – down the road – and it is probable that they’ll do it again.

    What our gun owner community needs to do is flood them with enough communications (letters, FAX’s, emails, phone calls, etc) to make it clear to those who are not from “safe” districts that a wrong move could endanger reelection prospects.

    As time passes the general public will tend to lose interest as other matters, (mostly economic in nature) will grasp they’re attention. Very few will make this the absolute deal-breaker in deciding whom to vote for. On the other hand those who have a lot to lose will tend to watch what lawmakers are doing and vote accordingly.

    Any attempt to push Obama’s proposals through congress will take time, and time is likely to work in our favor if we don’t panic and make concessions we don’t have to. Meanwhile sales of tactical firearms will continue to set records, and that alone will be a deterrent against future gun control statutes.

    Hopefully everyone understands that most of the pounding we’re taking is coming from the mostly liberal/leftist mainstream media at a time when other news is in short supply. What they can’t get around (and likely won’t mention except in a negative context) is the past and current – and likely future – sale of tactical firearms will give our side ever increasing leveraging where it counts – in legislatures, voting booths and court rooms when 2nd. Amendment rights are under consideration.
     
  12. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    An update on Bob Casey: He has announced he is changing his position on gun control from that which he had 6 weeks ago when he was reelected. In a statement he expressed regret that he had not reconsidered his views as starkly after earlier (I guess he had to wait for that pesky election). "If those two bills come before the Senate, I'll vote for both," he said speaking of an AWB and restrictions on magazines holding more than 10 rounds.
     
  13. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    Machin has backpeddled some what, or according to him simply better articulated what he meant. See this article: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/273803-sen-manchin-im-not-supporting-gun-ban-supporting-conversation-on-guns

    Here are some highlights:

    Hopefully he is already feeling the pressure of his comments. His statements about "clips" is still rather troubling though, as is the fact that he hasn't really said he wont support an AWB.
     
  14. TreeDoc

    TreeDoc Member

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    Doesn't a AWB bill have to pass the house first?
     
  15. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    I think it's a foregone conclusion that it'll pass the Senate. Elections have consequences and I'm cursing all of those that voted Democrat. I'm also upset particularly at all of the gun owners that supported Dems, thinking this would never happen. Wolves in sheeps clothing...

    I still think that contacting your senators is a good idea on the hopes that a few can be swayed.

    Meanwhile, I don't see it passing the House.
     
  16. TenDriver

    TenDriver Member

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    It will be tight in the House.

    My personal feeling is that Obama is driving us off the fiscal cliff intentionally, as the liberal media is going to pin it on the Republicans. The general public will buy it too. I've watched Obamamania rise in my dad, a man who spent his career working for Uncle Sam in missile defense. He support an AWB, primarily because he is like the rest of the general public and bought the buzzword.

    To save face after taking the blame for Obama's spending habits and budget failures, the GOP will turn on us with the AWB. The vast majority of the country is dependent on others, and sees no need for self defense, nor understands / appreciates the erosion of our liberties.

    The only possible saving grace for us is that most of the GOP Reps serving are from more self-reliant states that primarily oppose mag restrictions and another AWB.

    This conversation is nauseating on so many levels. My four year old son is sleeping in my bed while I type this out. If I lost him to something like happened in CT, I'd probably cease to function. If I didn't, I might find myself calling for action. Instead, I find myself in fear he will inherit a country in which he will be forced to rely on others for his survival, because if this goes through as the Dems have planned, by the time he reaches adulthood we'll be defending our right to single shot rifles. I don't like it one damn bit.
     
  17. mrvco

    mrvco Member

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    Assuming it passes as-is in the Senate, it does have to pass the House... and I doubt that DF's initial bill is going to be acceptable to enough House Republicans to pass there intact. Which means there will at least have to be some compromise to get anything to the throne room.
     
  18. Fencer

    Fencer Member

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    I have a hope that unless some type of funding is attached to it, a Republican from a staunchly 2nd Amendment state will be willing to filibuster the bill in the Senate. Very few contentious bills have made it past the filibuster and as I understand it, it only takes one Senator...
     
  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Usually in high profile cases like this they get somebody in the other side to introduce the same bill. Saves time and the real Devil in the details is supplied by the conference committee. Surely a House Democrat will put it out, likely with some "moderate" Republicanoid cosigners.
     
  20. tompt

    tompt Member

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    What about Mark Begich (D-Alaska)? Tuesday, the local paper quoted him saying "I'm going to be one of the more cautious (ones) about doing anything on new gun laws"
     
  21. mrvco

    mrvco Member

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    60 votes to overcome a traditional filibuster, but if I understand it right, only 50 votes if the "Nuclear Option" is used.
     
  22. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    I hadn't seen Senator's Begich's comments prior to that. Thanks. He very appropriately focuses more on mental health issues. I am hopeful something positive can be done on that front as it is clearly the real issue in incidents like this. I can tell you from practicing criminal law it is also the root of lot of crime, violence, suffering that doesn't get nearly the headlines as some recent incidents but in the aggregate is vastly outweighs them, as tragic as they are.
     
  23. 16in50calNavalRifle

    16in50calNavalRifle Member

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    The question is, as mrvco notes, about the ability in the Senate to move to the motion to proceed to the bill, or the motion to vote on final passage - that is, the filibuster question. I'm sorta thinking that the "nuclear option" change to Senate rules - while unlikely - would be kinda fun, and the perfect accompaniment to the general collapse of the republic. Which is the voice of a very experienced Beltway denizen talking - not that of a knuckle-dragging, rural, red-state gun-toting redneck.

    Look at the absurd - even by current standards - and clumsy weasel-wording of so many quoted above (not just Manchin). That usually signals pure posturing - I think most are just hoping for the storm to pass.

    And while some might calculate that ludicrous stunts like an AWB or mag limits - completely irrelevant to the recent events or any substantial issue of public safety - would result in an electoral backlash, a la 1994: recall that an administration like this would never have won 10 states for re-election even in THAT America. And that America is as distant as the Spanish Empire or Sparta. So no, Virginia, there's no silver lining in any absurd and irrelevant and unconstitutional nonsense that occurs now.

    And to the MO commenter - no, the voters of MO re-elected the idiot incumbent Senator, period. If they couldn't do enough calculation to hold their nose and vote for the challenger, well ..... that just about sums up the civil intelligence of even those who in some meaningful sense remain Americans today.

    Inertia is the greatest force in nature (Old Fuff's correctly described gun-owning country). And it's the only one that might prevent new anti-gun idiocy. But all other forms of idiocy are now a runaway downhill train.
     
  24. MachIVshooter
    • Contributing Member

    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    This kind of talk is encouraging.

    I don't have as much confidence in my state's senators. Bennett will probably go for it if it's not over the top, but he may be feeling the pressure from a recently (barely) blue state that still values personal freedom very highly. There are a lot of pro-gun Democrats and independents here that put him in office, and may not do it again if they feel he has infringed their right.

    Udall is an overconfident zealot who moved into the senate from a very liberal house district (Boulder area). I can all but guarantee he'll vote for any form of anti-gun legislation. It may cost him his seat, but I don't think he believes it can happen. He is still acting as though he was elected in his safe zone.

    I have written both of them, as well as our governor. I'll send my house representative a quick note, too, but I'm not worried about Mike. He is representing a very conservative and extremely pro gun district. Any support for gun control will absolutely cost him his seat, and he's well aware of that.
     
  25. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    An AWB might pass the US senate. The US house is another matter, assuming that the leadership stands fast. In 2004 house speaker Hastert refused to bring the proposed extension of the AWB to the floor. That action saved us from an everlasting AWB.

    An extension of the AWB had passed the US senate by a vote of 52-47. The vote did not count because the package it was attached to failed.
     
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