On Thursday morning, Sen. Johnny Isakson, with 15 other Republican Senators, voted for cloture on the Senate gun control bill–much to the chagrin of many in the GOP fringe. The final vote of 68-31 marks the highly anticipated start of the legislative battle for gun control four months after the Newtown shootings. As of this week, the Senate bill will now include the bipartisan Toomey-Manchin amendment on background checks, a tenet of gun control that 91% of Americans agree on.
To Isakson, voting for cloture was common sense. “It’s a debate that needs to take place,” he told Chris Cillizza on Thursday, “And to slow or forestall the debate just doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Despite voting for cloture, Isakson does not expect to vote for the bill itself.
“I’m always going to come down where the majority of people in my state are. The majority of people in the state think we ought to have this debate. Which is why I voted for cloture. I doubt I’ll vote for the end product, but you guys are asking us to make a commitment on a product we don’t know yet. There will be an open amendment process, we’ll see how it works out.”
With much of the gun legislation since Newtown being passed on a state level, the road to federal gun control laws will surely be a long one. But finally, the Senate willing to lift the roadblock and let the lawmakers vote.