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Congress: Dems uphill gun battle?

“A little-noticed Senate vote just before 4 in the morning on March 23 — amid the chamber’s 13-hour vote-a-rama on a fiscal 2014 budget resolution — suggests trouble for President Barack Obama’s gun control agenda,” Roll Call reports. “Senators voted 50-49 in favor of an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, to establish a two-thirds requirement for the passage of any gun control legislation in their chamber. While the budget resolution is nonbinding and the amendment did not win the 60 votes needed to be adopted, the outcome underscores how many senators strongly support gun rights, just as the chamber prepares to debate the biggest package of gun control measures in nearly two decades. Six Democrats from gun-friendly states joined a nearly united Republican conference to support Lee’s amendment: Max Baucus of Montana, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.”

And The Hill picks up on a similar point: “The 50-49 vote on the budget could spell the most trouble for gun control legislation, which is next on the Senate docket.

Democrats have struggled to unify behind gun legislation, and budget defectors Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Baucus all hail from states where restrictions on firearms are unpopular.”

“Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., cautioned Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., against undermining the panel’s process as it seeks to take up a comprehensive immigration overhaul,” Roll Call writes. “Leahy expressed his warning in a letter, obtained by CQ Roll Call. It is addressed to Sessions and dated March 21. The letter appears to be a response to a March 19 letter written by Sessions and five other Republicans, who raised concerns that the committee would not have enough debate time when it considers an immigration overhaul next month.”

Politico notices Dean Heller’s (R-NV) significant shifts to the left on the Ryan budget and revenue, guns, and immigration. Here’s Heller: “If you believe that you’re there to represent your constituents and not necessarily yourself, then it’s going to adjust. I’m asked this question a lot: ‘Do you vote based on what you think is right or what your constituents think is right?’ And I say, it just depends on the issue.”

Democrats are accusing Ted Cruz or flip flopping on guns, something he rejects, saying Democrats are twisting his words.

Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) approval is 40%/37% in a Quinnipiac poll. That’s up from 36%/41% last month.