Rand Paul Threatens Filibuster of Any Gun Safety Legislation

Just what the Senate needs, an emboldened Paul and Cruz launching their presidential campaigns from the floor.

New Republican Senate stars and 2016 hopefuls Rand Paul and Ted Cruz (along with their faithful tag-along guy, Mike Lee) have written to Harry Reid threatening a filibuster of any gun safety legislation.

“We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions,” the three conservatives wrote in a copy of the signed letter obtained by POLITICO. [...]

Lee staged a test vote on the issue during consideration of the Senate budget last week. He tried to amend a point of order against gun control legislation to the budget but fell short. It needed a three-fifths supermajority and failed 50-49, needing 60 votes to pass. But the final tally emboldened Lee, Paul and Cruz because they were so close to a majority and a filibuster takes just 41 votes to sustain.

Just what the Senate needs, an emboldened Paul and Cruz launching their presidential campaigns from the floor, the NRA backing them all the way. While this filibuster isn't likely to hurt any of these three guys politically, their colleagues in tighter races might not appreciate the stunt. Public support is decidedly behind expanded background checks. This stunt could actually create some backlash to help pass gun legislation.

It's also a test of the Senate rules agreed to in January by way of filibuster reform. Reid could move the bill without a motion to proceed, the motion these three say they will oppose, under the new agreement by a new process that guarantees votes on two amendments for each party. With agreement on those amendments, the bill would move into consideration. A senior Democratic aide told Roll Call that Reid wouldn't rule out using this new rule and that every procedural option is on the table. The objecting senators could still filibuster final passage, however.

It's a chance to see what the new rules got Reid, at least. It's also further proof (as if we needed it) that Republicans don't particularly give a shit about any new rules, any agreement they made, and will have no compunction about filibustering anything they feel like. That will happen until Reid decides to do something about it.

Joan McCarter is a Daily Kos staff writer.