I'm not sold on this:
It's no secret I am not a fan of Tea Party Senator Pat Toomey (R. PA) but if the Toomey-Manchin compromise had passed the Senate, I was willing to give credit where credit is due. But after it failed to pass, Toomey pulled this shit:
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the gun control group led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is launching a television ad today thanking Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey for his work sponsoring a bipartisan bill to expand background checks.
The ad, which will run in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, opens with this voice over: “Washington likes to argue. Senator Pat Toomey wants to get things done.”
It credits Toomey, a Republican, with “leading the fight to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”
“Courage and common sense – that’s Pat Toomey,” the spot concludes. “Tell him to keep fighting for background checks.”
Toomey’s poll numbers have jumped in the weeks since he crossed party lines to back a bill expanding background checks, but he has repeatedly said he is moving on to other issues, primarily fiscal concerns, even as some Democrats work to try revive plans to add new gun regulations. - Philly.com, 5/9/13
And his reason for signing onto the background check bill with Senator Joe Manchin (D. WV) has always had a catch:Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) blamed President Barack Obama Tuesday for the defeat in the Senate of legislation to expand background checks.
"I would suggest the administration brought this on themselves," Toomey said in an interview with The Morning Call. "I think the president ran his re-election campaign in a divisive way. He divided Americans. He was using resentment of some Americans toward others to generate support for himself. That was very divisive, that has consequences, that lingers."
"I understand why people have some apprehension about this administration," he added. "I don't agree with the conclusion as it applies to my [background checks] amendment, but I understand where the emotion comes from."
Last Wednesday, Toomey's amendment, crafted with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed to pass the Senate with a final vote of 54 to 46. Only three Republicans joined Toomey by voting in its favor: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and John McCain (Ariz.). Three red state Democrats facing reelection in 2014, Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) voted against the measure. Baucus has since announced that he will not seek reelection. Other amendments, such as a strengthened federal gun trafficking statute, ban on assault weapons and limit on high-capacity magazines, also failed.
The failure of the legislation can hardly be attributed to Obama, who pressed for measures to reduce gun violence after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., took the lives of 20 children and six educators. The president's gun control agenda included farther-reaching reforms, such as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but he later focused the push on expanded background checks, which have the support of 90 percent of Americans.
The White House even endorsed the Toomey-Manchin compromise, which would have expanded background checks for firearm purchases but was a significantly watered-down alternative to legislation initially sought by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). - Huffington Post, 4/24/13
Plus I think Toomey knew that the background checks bill was DOA so he could at least make himself look sane compared to the rest of his party:It's not even too early to think about the 2016 election. That's how Republican Sen. Pat Toomey's recent move toward an agreement on background checks for gun purchases has been read. Toomey, a fiscal conservative, is not up for re-election for another three years, but Pennsylvania is a blue state with moderate voters whom he has to court, particularly since he’ll be running in a presidential-election year. Democratic turnout will probably be higher. No Republican presidential candidate has won the state since 1988. - Slate Magazine, 4/9/13
I respect what Bloomberg is trying to do in terms of getting politicians to support gun safety legislation and background checks but Toomey really shouldn't be getting any praise. If there's anybody Bloomberg should be praising, it's this guy:Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) revealed that some members of his party opposed expanding background checks for gun sales recently because they didn't want to "be seen helping the president."
Two weeks ago, only three Republican senators voted for the bipartisan background checks amendment sponsored by Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), despite overwhelming popular support for such a measure.
"In the end it didn’t pass because we're so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa.
The Times Herald noted that in "subsequent comments," Toomey "tried to walk that remark part-way back by noting he meant to say Republicans across the nation in general, not just those in the Senate." - Huffington Post, 5/1/13
Plus lets look at how Casey and Toomey voted and you'll see who's more sincere about gun safety:Sen. Bob Casey, who has long opposed new gun laws, said Wednesday that he had changed his views in the aftermath of last week's shootings in Newtown, Conn., and would support bills to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
In an interview in his office, the ordinarily staid Casey (D., Pa.) told The Inquirer that he was "haunted" by the images and reports of children killed in their school, and teachers slain trying to protect them. He said his wife confronted him as he reassessed the issue over the weekend.
Furrowing his brow and casting his eyes downward, Casey expressed regret that he had not reconsidered his views as starkly after earlier massacres at Virginia Tech and in Aurora, Colo."The power of the weapon, the number of bullets that hit each child, that was so, to me, just so chilling, it haunts me. It should haunt every public official," said Casey, who won a second term six weeks ago while touting his opposition to gun control. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/20/12
Plus ProgressivePatriotPA knocks it out of the park:Republican gun legislation failed 52-48: The main Republican alternative to gun control, proposed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Ariz.) failed with 52 senators in favor and 48 opposed. It would increase funding for criminal prosecution, school safety, and mental health resources and create a task force to go after felons who fail background checks. It would also criminalize trafficking and straw purchasing and increase the penalties for them. At the same time, the amendment would loosen gun restrictions by making it easier to purchase and carry guns across state lines. The National Rifle Association supported this legislation. Nine Democrats supported it: Baucus, Begich, Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Heitkamp, Mary Landrieu (La.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Pryor and Jon Tester (Mont.). Two Republicans, Kirk and Mike Lee (Utah) opposed.
Gun trafficking failed 58-42: This legislation worked out by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) targets only gun trafficking. It makes gun trafficking a federal crime and strengthens the penalties against “straw purchasers” (people who buy guns for others who are not legally able to do so). The NRA is on board with this amendment as well, thanks to a compromise ensuring that guns can be bought as gifts or prizes. It failed with 58 votes in favor and 42 against, a bit of a surprise given the bipartisan and NRA support. Collins, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Kirk were the only Republicans in support. No Democrats voted against it.
Expanding concealed-carry failed 57-43: Sen. John Cornyn’s “Constitutional Concealed Carry Act” would give gun owners the right to carry concealed weapons across state lines and into other states that also have concealed-carry laws without obtaining a new license. The Texas Republican argued that Democrats should support this reciprocity because getting a concealed-carry permit is a like a background check “on steroids.” It failed 57 to 43. Baucus, Begich, Donnelly, Hagan, Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Heitkamp, Landrieu, Manchin, Pryor, Tester, Mark Udall (Colo.), Tom Udall (N.M.), and Mark Warner (Va.) were the 13 Democrats in favor. Kirk was the only Republican opposed.
Assault weapons ban failed 40-60: This is Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s legislation, which we’ve known for weeks has no chance of passage but that Reid promised to bring to a vote. It failed with 40 senators in favor and 60 opposed. Kirk was the only Republican to support the ban. Sixteen Democrats voted against it — Baucus, Begich, Michael Bennet (Colo.), Donnelly, Hagan, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Tim Johnson (S.D.), Landrieu, Angus King (Maine), Manchin, Pryor, Tester, Udall, Udall and Warner. (King is an independent but caucuses with Democrats.)
Expanding veterans’ gun rights failed 56-44: This amendment from Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) seeks to change the fact that veterans receiving benefits who are deemed unable to manage their own financial affairs are also barred from owning firearms. Under Burr’s amendment, a court would have to determine that a beneficiary is a danger to him/herself or others. Opponents argue that it would make it easier for mentally ill veterans to obtain firearms. An attempt to make this change failed in last year’s defense bill, and it failed again Wednesday 56 to 44. No Republican voted against it; the ten Democrats who voted for it were Baucus, Begich, Donnelly, Hagan, Heitkamp, King, McCaskill, Landrieu, Pryor, and Tester.
A ban on high-capacity magazines failed 46-54: A slimmed-down version of the assault-weapons ban which outlaws only high-capacity ammunition magazines was proposed by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). It failed with 46 senators in favor and 54 opposed. High-capacity magazines were part of the original Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004. Kirk was the only Republican to vote for it. Ten Democrats voted against it: Baucus, Begich, Donnelly, Hagan, Heitkamp, Landrieu, Manchin, Pryor, Tester, and Warner.
Protecting gun owners’ privacy passed 67-30: This amendment, authored by John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), would limit the ability of state governments to release the names of gun owners. He cited a New York newspaper’s publication of a map of local gun owners, using information received from county officials. It’s the only of the gun amendments that actually deals with guns to pass. Twenty-two Democrats supported it: Baucus, Begich, Bennet, Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Donnelly, Hagan, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Tim Kaine (Va.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Landrieu, Manchin, McCaskill, Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Pryor, Shaheen, Tester, Udall, Udall, Warner, and Ron Wyden (Ore.).
Mental health funding passed 95-2: A proposal from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to improve mental health services in schools and boost support for suicide prevention programs. The amendment does not deal with guns at all. Lee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Utah) were opposed; Sens. Mo Cowan (Mass.), Lautenberg, and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) didn’t vote. - Washington Post, 4/17/13
So yeah, you can see why I have some problems about Bloomberg praising Toomey.