Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey told a local paper Tuesday that he believes the Senate legislation to expand background checks failed because Republicans “did not want to be seen helping the president.”
“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey told The Times Herald.
President Obama gave a similar explanation in a Tuesday press conference, responding to a question about gun control and other legislative failures by saying Republicans are “worried about their politics.”
“It’s tough,” he continued. “Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal.”
Toomey crafted and co-sponsored the background checks amendment with his Democratic colleague and fellow gun rights supporter Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Both agreed that the amendment was a reasonable piece of legislation to close the so-called “gun show loophole,” an idea supported by a wide majority of Americans. Ultimately only 54 senators–including just 4 Republicans–were willing to vote in favor of the bill.
Toomey’s recent explanation for the bill’s failure contrasts with remarks he made last week, when he told the Morning Call the bill failed because the president ran a “divisive” reelection campaign.