Cue the Chicago goon squad.
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said in an interview Tuesday that Senate Democrats’ decision to introduce a gun control bill that doesn’t include an assault weapons ban does not constitute a setback for President Obama’s gun control efforts.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, McDonough said the bill can still be brought up as an amendment and that there should still be a concerted effort to pass it.
“We’re going to work on this. We’re going to find the votes,” McDonough said, according to a transcript. “And it deserves a vote and let’s see if we can get it done.”
The prospects for the assault weapons ban have never been good, even in the Senate, where Democrats have the majority. In announcing that it would likely not be part of the Senate’s package earlier today, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) spoke as if the effort was over and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the ban was very far from the level of support needed for passage.
A White House senior adviser said Tuesday night that President Obama is “going to address [gun control].”
In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, David Plouffe responded to criticism that the president did not mention gun control in his State of the Union address. Some Democrats on Capitol Hill and gun-control advocates have called for new legislation in the wake of the deadly shooting that killed six and injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) earlier this month.
Plouffe said Obama’s speech on Tuesday was focused on the economy. He added that the president has been clear on his views on gun control, citing Obama’s position of reinstating the expired assault weapons ban.
“He’s going to address this,” Plouffe said. “It’s a very important issue and I know there’s going to be a lot of debate on the Hill.”
It’s not clear what legislation Obama will urge Congress to pass. Despite his support for reauthorizing the assault weapons ban, he has not made the issue a priority and has been lambasted by gun-control groups during the first two years of his presidency.
Williams said he was told by a senior administration official that Obama will take on gun control at a different venue and later date.