The dinner conversation could get a bit uncomfortable when President Obama hosts a group of Republican senators at the White House Wednesday evening. Several lawmakers in Congress' upper chamber have been lining up in recent days, vowing to use procedural "stunts," as Obama calls it, to prevent gun control legislation from reaching the Senate floor.
During a speech in Connecticut on Monday, the president urged lawmakers to take a stand one way or another this week, a plea underscored by the audience who chanted, without prodding, "We want a vote!"
The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, picked up the refrain during Tuesday's daily briefing with reporters. While "there's no script" for the dinner party, he predicted the subject would come up, adding that the president "feels very passionately about the obligation of each individual senator to allow a vote" on all of the proposed gun control measures, from universal background checks to an assault weapons ban.
"If they are opposed to background checks, they should stand up and say so and vote no. The American people demand at least that. They elected members of the Senate to vote. That is their principal job. That's what they get paid for," Carney said. "They don't get paid to block votes; they get paid to vote and to make decisions about what they believe is right or wrong for the country. And if they think background checks, for example, that 90 percent of the American people support, are wrong, if they're with the 10 percent, they ought to stand by their convictions but explain why."
They may well get to test out their answers over dinner because Obama "won't be shy about expressing his views," Carney said.
"It'll certainly be something the president wants to discuss," he added.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)