Harry Reid set the first showdown vote in Congress on President Obama's gun-control drive for Thursday as a small but growing number of Republicans appear willing to buck a conservative effort to prevent debate from even beginning. "We're moving forward on this bill," said Reid. In a hopeful sign for Democrats, at least five Republican senators have indicated a willingness to oppose the conservatives' attempt to block debate with stalling tactics.
"The American people ought to see where everybody stands on this," said Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican. A Senate vote to begin debating the guns package would mark a temporary victory for Obama and his allies. But some Republicans, though eager to avoid blocking debate on the plan, could well vote against the measure's final passage. Talks were still under way between Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania aimed at finding a compromise on expanding background checks.