Posted: 4:00 am Thursday, February 16th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
Using a rarely used legislative power, the Senate on Wednesday joined the House in voting to reverse an Obama Administration rule that funneled information from Social Security about people with mental health issues to the instant background check system for gun purchases, all part of a broader effort by Republicans to roll back regulations unveiled late last year by the Obama Administration.
“Social Security’s flawed regulation risks erroneously adding tens of thousands of names to the federal gun ban list each year,” argued Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), as he led the GOP charge to overturn the rule.
“The Obama Administration’s attempt to prohibit law-abiding Americans from exercising their Second Amendment rights is a blatant overreach,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).
The vote was 57-43 in favor of the GOP plan, as four Democrats and one Independent sided with all Republicans to overturn the Obama Administration regulation.
D/I Senators who voted for repeal of Obama gun sale rule: Manchin WV, Heitkamp ND, King I-ME, Donnelly IN, Tester MT
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) February 15, 2017
Since Republicans are using a special tool known as the Congressional Review Act, no filibuster is allowed in the Senate on these rule reversals, which means Democrats are powerless to stop the GOP efforts to block some Obama Administration rules filed in 2016.
“Gun violence is an epidemic — it kills more than 30,000 people every year. Let’s strengthen gun safety provisions, not strip them,” countered Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
Senate GOP just spent last 2 days on a bill to weaken the firearms criminal background check system. Bc really, nothing else is going on.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 15, 2017
But Feinstein and Democrats were far short of the votes to stop the GOP plan, which now goes to President Trump for his signature.
Meanwhile, the House this week is ready to send five more “disapproval” resolutions to the Senate to get rid of various Obama Administration regulations.
“Congressional Review Act legislation provides relief for Americans hurt by regulations rushed through at the last minute by the Obama Administration,” Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier this week.
President Trump will sign a second Obama rule reversal into law on Thursday, what’s known as the “Stream Protection Rule,” which Republicans charged would cost thousands of jobs in the coal mining industry.
Trump to sign repeal of stream protection rule tomorrow pic.twitter.com/hVzwGOzEyM
— Timothy Cama (@Timothy_Cama) February 16, 2017
On Wednesday, the House approved three rule reversals; two more are up for a vote on Thursday.
One of the plans approved on Wednesday in the House would roll back an Obama Administration rule that made it more difficult for states to require that people be drug tested in order to receive unemployment benefits.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.