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Blunt, McCaskill At Odds Over Background Check Bill

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Missouri’s U.S. Senators are divided on a bill that would expand background checks to more gun buyers. Republican Blunt has indicated that he does not support the bill, while Democrat Claire McCaskill says she will.

On a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, McCaskill said Congress needs to do something to try to prevent mass shootings.

“I know we can’t eliminate every one of these episodes," McCaskill said. "I know we can’t find every person and make sure they don’t do this. I know we can’t legislate and diminish the second amendment of Missourians. But I do think we can take some common sense steps.”

Blunt has said he will focus his efforts instead on mental health. Some Republicans (not Blunt) have indicated a willingness to filibuster the bill, but the Associated Press reports that the Senate will likely begin to debate the legislation Thursday.

While on a call with reporters Wednesday, Blunt also told reporters that the sequester’ s spending cuts are here to stay, and that he wants to give President Obama more say in where the cuts take place.

It isn’t often you hear a Republican Senator wanting to give more power to a President of the opposing party, but that’s what Blunt is proposing.

The sequester’s across the board cuts didn’t leave much wiggle room by design – they were supposed to be painful in order to trigger compromise.

Blunt said he would like to give the President more power in choosing where the cuts take place, hoping that the spending reduction will stay without a discussion of tax hikes.

“The economic consequences of raising taxes are every bit as real as the consequences of reducing federal spending,” Blunt said.

Two of the areas receiving cuts that Blunt indicated should be alleviated were meat processing facilities and air traffic control centers. Blunt added that he wouldn’t want it to be permanent. So far the President has given no indication he would want this ability.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel