Senate Republicans are giving Vice President Joe Biden more ammo in his fight for tighter gun control.
The second in command slammed the GOP’s threats to filibuster gun legislation, calling their threats “mind-boggling,” and “embarrassing” in a passionate speech at the White House Tuesday afternoon.
Biden blasted the 13 senators who’ve signed onto Rand Paul’s filibuster threat, and specifically called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for leading the charge with lawmakers who are vowing to block Congress from “dealing with this national tragedy.”
“What an embarrassing thing to say!” he said, adding, ”You’ve got leading senators…saying we’re not even going to talk about this! The climax of this tragedy could be we’re not even going to get a vote? Imagine how this makes us look.”
“At the end of the day I can’t believe that it will actually happen,” he said “I just don’t believe they’ll do this.”
Biden also described his breakfast with the Newtown families who came down to Washington specifically to lobby Congress. He said the families can’t fully comprehend what’s slowing progress on an issue that’s so important. ”The public is so far beyond where the Congress is so far ahead of the way they’re talking,” he said. “These bright, accomplished innocent mothers and fathers and husbands…they don’t understand how we can even be at this point debating this.”
He quoted one unnamed mother, apparently baffled at the lack of progress and seeking advice on how to lobby lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “How is it they don’t understand?” she asked him. “What should I say to them?”
While Biden was speaking at the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that a first vote on gun legislation could come as early as Thursday as he begins to “take the necessary steps” towards movement on that legislation tonight.
Democratic leaders have told NBC News they believe Republicans, despite their threats, lack the votes to sustain a filibuster against the proposed gun legislation. At least seven Republican senators have refused to join such a filibuster, most vocally Arizona’s John McCain, but also fellow Arizonan Jeff Flake, New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, Nevada’s Dean Heller, Georgia’s Johnny Isakon, and Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn.
If the vote does come through on Thursday, 114 days will have passed since the Newtown school shooting.