Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) Sunday became the latest senior Republican to question the 13 Republicans who have threatened to filibuster gun legislation they haven’t yet seen.
The blind filibuster threats, originally made by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), have already been criticized by top GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tom Coburn, who “bristled at the idea.”
McCain joined that criticism Sunday morning, telling Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer that he didn’t understand the filibuster efforts and that gun law reform legislation should be debated on the Senate floor:
McCAIN: I don’t understand it. The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand.
SCHIEFFER: So you’d encourage Republicans not to filibuster?
McCAIN: I would not only encourage it, I don’t understand it. What are we afraid of? […] Why not take it up and amend it and debate? The American people would profit from it. I don’t understand why United States senators want to block debate when the leader has said we can have amendments.
McCain wouldn’t endorse the most popular element of gun safety reform — expanding background checks — but said his support “depends on how they’re carried out, how long, what the depth of it is.” “Background checks are being conducted,” McCain said. “Are they sufficient, are there ways we can improve those? I think that’s, again, a subject that the American people and the Congress could be helped by if we had a vigorous debate and discussion.”