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Manchin-Toomey background-check bill inching closer to 60 votes in the Senate

Manchin-Toomey background-check bill inching closer to 60 votes in the Senate

A bipartisan bill on background checks is inching closer to the necessary 60 votes for passage, but it still has a long way to go.

The upcoming vote on a new proposal crafted by Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWhat gun groups want from Trump Senate passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown Senate advances funding measure, avoiding shutdown MORE (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is expected to go down to the wire. The Hill on Friday contacted many Senate offices to find out their positions on the amendment, which is strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

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There are now four Republicans who have publicly committed to supporting the amendment: Sens. Toomey, Mark KirkMark KirkJuan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama Battle for the Senate: Top of ticket dominates The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE (Ill.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsDems, greens gear up for fight against Trump EPA pick Medicare looms over Trump-Ryan alliance Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump MORE (Maine) and John McCainJohn McCainUkrainians made their choice for freedom, but now need US help White House orders intelligence report of election cyberattacks Senate votes to elevate Cyber Command in military MORE (Ariz.).

There are a dozen other Republicans who voted for a motion to proceed on the gun control bill last week, including Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteDem senator tears up in farewell speech Juan Williams: McConnell won big by blocking Obama Battle brews over Trump’s foreign policy MORE (N.H.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeSenators move to protect 'Dreamers' Reid bids farewell to the Senate Reid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech MORE (Ariz.), Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (Ga.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonGOP senators wary of nuking filibuster SENATE: Republicans defy odds to keep majority A banner year for U.S. leadership on aid effectiveness MORE (Ga.), Roger WickerRoger WickerFCC chairman willing to resign to get colleague confirmed GOP eager to see Harry Reid go Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules MORE (Miss.) and Dean HellerDean HellerSenate passes dozens of bills on way out of town Reid bids farewell to the Senate Reid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech MORE (Nev.).

Flake on Friday was reviewing the bill, while Heller's office said the senator "will not support any plan that creates a federal gun registry." Corker "would not support Toomey-Manchin as written but is open to supporting amendments to achieve what he believes is the central issue: preventing violence by dangerous, mentally ill people," according to a Monday statement from his office. Chambliss has made it clear that he opposes the underlying gun control bill that is headed to the Senate floor. Wicker said on C-SPAN Monday morning that he is opposed to the Manchin-Toomey amendment.


To pass Manchin-Toomey, at least five Republicans must back it. Fifty-five senators caucus with the Democrats, but not all are sure bets to embrace the background check legislation.

Sens. Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (D-Ark.) and Mark BegichMark BegichThe future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map Trump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide MORE (D-Alaska) last week voted against the motion to proceed to the gun control debate. Both are up for reelection next year and support gun rights.

Centrist Democrats who are expected to vote for Manchin-Toomey are Sens. Bob CaseyBob CaseySenate passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown Senate advances funding measure, avoiding shutdown Senate Democrats dig in as shutdown approaches MORE Jr. (Pa.), Kay HaganKay HaganGOP senator floats retiring over gridlock 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE (N.C.), Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (S.D.), Joe DonnellyJoe DonnellyOvernight Energy: Fight over miners' benefits risks shutdown | Flint aid crosses finish line in House House approves funding bill, but fate in Senate unclear Messer eyes challenging Donnelly for Indiana Senate seat MORE (Ind.), Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillSenate passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown Senate advances funding measure, avoiding shutdown Stopgap funding bill poised to pass Senate before midnight deadline MORE (Mo.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerSenate passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown Senate advances funding measure, avoiding shutdown Stopgap funding bill poised to pass Senate before midnight deadline MORE (Va.).

But Democrats who declined to comment or didn't say definitively where they stand on Manchin-Toomey include Sens. Max BaucusMax BaucusBusiness groups express support for Branstad nomination The mysterious sealed opioid report fuels speculation Lobbying World MORE (Mont.), Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampWhat gun groups want from Trump Senate passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown Senate advances funding measure, avoiding shutdown MORE (N.D.) and Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuFive unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist Trump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race MORE (La.). Baucus and Landrieu are seeking reelection in 2014 and are top GOP targets.

Meanwhile, some Republicans who broke ranks to proceed to the gun control bill are opposed to Manchin-Toomey, such as Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnWill Trump back women’s museum? Don't roll back ban on earmarks Ryan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight MORE (Okla.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenators move to protect 'Dreamers' The Hill's 12:30 Report White House orders intelligence report of election cyberattacks MORE (S.C.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderGOP eyes big gamble on ObamaCare Mnuchin, Price meet with GOP senators Reid bids farewell to the Senate MORE (Tenn.), Richard BurrRichard BurrTop Intel Dem: Congress 'far from consensus' on encryption Trump must be an advocate for the Small Business Administration Dems pledge to fight Sessions nomination MORE (N.C.) and John HoevenJohn HoevenSenate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules Feds deny permit for Dakota Access pipeline Dem senator to meet with Trump MORE (N.D.).

Isakson said on MSNBC last week it is "doubtful" he will back Manchin-Toomey. Graham told the Huffington Post he is "not a big fan of background checks."

Coburn is planning to offer his own background check amendment, which could alter the political dynamics of the debate by giving on-the-fence Republicans a chance to vote for some type of background check bill.

During a Sunday appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," McCain said he is "favorably disposed" to Manchin-Toomey. On the same show, Toomey stopped short of predicting victory, saying, "I think it's going to be close." McCain's backing could have an effect on Flake, the undecided freshman senator from Arizona.

Collins told NBC News Sunday she believes the Manchin-Toomey plan, which is backed by President Obama, is "reasonable."

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSenate Dems hold out on spending deal, risking shutdown Dems see ’18 upside in ObamaCare repeal Confirm Gary Richard Brown for the Eastern District of New York MORE (D-N.Y.) on ABC's "This Week" noted that not all the Republicans who voted to debate gun control will vote "yes" on Manchin-Toomey, adding it will be a "tough fight" to get to 60 votes. Schumer has called background checks the "sweet spot" of gun control.

During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenators move to protect 'Dreamers' Manchin urging colleagues to block funding bill as shutdown looms The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Ill.) said he has not yet whipped Manchin-Toomey.

If Manchin-Toomey falters, it would be a huge win for the NRA and a major setback for Obama. Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) will introduce a companion bill to Manchin-Toomey in the GOP-led House, but its chances of getting to the president's desk are remote if the Senate rejects it.

Obama has also called for Congress to pass an assault-weapons ban, but that bill has no chance of passing the House and Senate.

—Noura Alfadi-Andreasson and Alex Lazar contributed to this article, which was last updated at 12:10 p.m.