President Biden praised the Senate on Thursday for clearing the filibuster hurdle on the first major firearms legislation in decades but chided lawmakers for taking “too long” to get there.
“Today, with the bipartisan cloture vote in the Senate, I am glad to see Congress has moved significantly closer to finally doing something — passing bipartisan legislation that will help protect Americans,” Mr. Biden said.
“It’s taken a decade, because for too long Congress has failed to make meaningful progress on gun safety reform,” he said. “Our country has endured too many tragedies since then, most recently with the horrific shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde.”
The measure, which still requires final passage, would expand background checks to include juvenile records and incentivize states to adopt “red flag” laws to confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous by a judge.
The bill, which has the support of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and 14 other Republicans is all but guaranteed to pass after surviving the key Senate test on a 65-34 vote.
The action in Congress was spurred by a series of mass shootings that horrified the nation, including a racially motivated attack that killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, and a rampage at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers.
“When I traveled to Uvalde last month, I heard a clear message from families there: Do something. Since then, I’ve carried their message forward: Enough is enough, this time we have to do something,” Mr. Biden said.
“Our kids in schools and our communities will be safer because of this legislation,” he said. “I call on Congress to finish the job and get this bill to my desk.”