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President Barack Obama urged Congress not to block a vote on gun control legislation and told families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims that he is as 'determined as ever' to honor their children with tougher laws.
Obama's gun control proposals have run into resistance in Congress, leaving their fate in doubt. Efforts by Senate Democrats to reach compromise with Republicans over expanding required federal background checks have yet to yield an agreement.
Majority Leader Harry Reid brought gun control legislation to the Senate floor on Monday, though actual debate did not begin. He took the step after receiving a letter from 13 conservative Republican senators who said they would use delaying tactics to try to prevent lawmakers from even beginning debate on the legislation. Such a move takes 60 votes to overcome, a difficult hurdle in the 100-member chamber.
Further underscoring the tough road ahead for the Obama-backed legislation, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saidthat the Kentucky Republican would join the effort to block debate on the legislation if Reid tries to bring the measure to the floor.
There are 53 Senate Democrats and two independents who lean toward them, meaning Republican support ultimately will be needed to reach 60 votes to move ahead.