President Obama is scheduled to meet with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at 2:55 p.m. ET Thursday at the White House.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement last week, "The President looks forward to welcoming the Secretary General back to the White House and consulting with him on key issues, including the crisis in Syria, and expressing his gratitude for the many sacrifices United Nations personnel have made to protect vulnerable populations and to deliver aid to those most in need. This meeting is a demonstration of the robust partnership between this United States and the United Nations in facing a wide array of global challenges."
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Thursday predicted on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the deal on background checks he reached with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) will get broad support in the Senate. But Toomey cautioned it's too early to know.
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski asked the senators, does the bill have 60 votes?
"I think so," Manchin said. "I think we worked hard, and we're going to continue to work hard. And Mika, if people will not just take time to read the bill and understand how much this bill clarifies an awful lot of things. But basically it's just meant to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them, closing down the gun show loopholes, internet sales. And I saw your piece this morning about the American al Qaeda. I think that says it all. If that doesn't move people to say, we've got to do something at our gun shows and internet sales, where it's so easy to get these weapons, then I don't know what they would be for."
But Toomey cautioned that it's too early to know whether the bill will clear 60 votes. "I would just add, I think we've got a few voting hurdles, and I don't know how they're going to turn out," Toomey said. "I think we will be able to get started on the underlying bill with the vote today, but how the amendments play out, I, I think it's just too early to know. I do believe, and I'm very grateful to Sen. Manchin for his work on this, but what we focused on is the right part of this equation, which is, can we make it more difficult for dangerous criminals and the dangerously mentally ill to get weapons. That's where the focus ought to be, and that's what our, that's what our legislation makes progress on."
A vote to begin debate on gun control legislation is expected at 11 a.m. ET Thursday, according to C-SPAN.
During a roundtable discussion that aired Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Vice President Joe Biden said the White House's push for tougher gun control will not create a national registry of gun owners. Biden also stressed that background checks for gun sales are not intrusive. "They don't say what kind of gun you're buying," Biden said. "They don't say where you're going. They don't say what it is, what the transaction is and when denied, they don't say denied because of mental health. Nothing. And the record, even the notice that you picked up the phone at Dick's and called and asked about Joe Biden, is, has to be destroyed within 24 hours."
Biden added, "So this idea that there is a national registry, there is no place in the federal government where you can go, not a single place, and find out everybody who owns a gun."
A deal to expand background checks, announced Wednesday by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), has the support of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a co-founder of the pro-gun control group, said in a statement:
“Over the last few months, Americans across the country and in both parties have demanded that those in Washington take commonsense steps to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the seriously mentally ill. Today, Senators Manchin and Toomey have forged a bipartisan compromise agreement to extend background checks to cover commercial gun sales, including online and at gun shows. In addition, the bill preserves the same record-keeping practices of the past 40 years that have helped law enforcement solve crimes. I want to thank Senators Manchin and Toomey for their determination to find common ground on a bill that Democrats and Republicans can fully support. This bill will not only help keep guns out of the wrong hands – it will help save lives and keep our communities safe. Our bipartisan coalition of more than 900 mayors strongly supports this bill and looks forward to working with other leaders, including Senators Schumer and Kirk who have worked tirelessly on this issue, to do all we can to ensure its passage.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Wednesday told a crowd at Howard University in Washington, D.C. that the Republican Party has not done enough to promote that it cares about environmental protections. "We can do a better job," Paul said.
Paul then cited the Clean Water Act, which he said was created with good intentions but has been taken too far and can now be used to infringe on personal rights.
"We need to do a better job saying we believe in a clean environment, that we do believe in rules," Paul said. "But that the balance has shifted too far, and we're now abusing property rights and abusing farmers and small property owners, and we need to shift the balance back. And that if you shift the balance of regulations too strongly, you lose jobs."
Unveiling his budget proposal Wednesday at the White House, President Obama said entitlement reforms must be met with reforms to the tax code, including closing loopholes that benefit the wealthy.
"If you're serious about deficit reduction, then there's no excuse to keep these loopholes open," Obama said in the White House's Rose Garden. "They don't serve an economic purpose, they don't grow our economy, they don't put people back to work. All they do is to allow folks who are already well-off and well-connected game the system."
Obama added, "If anyone thinks I'll finish the job of deficit reduction on the backs of middle-class families or through spending cuts alone that actually hurt our economy short-term, they should think again. When it comes to deficit reduction, I have already met Republicans more than halfway, so in the coming days and weeks I hope that Republicans will come forward and demonstrate that they're really as serious, as serious about the deficits and debt as they claim to be."
Unveiling his budget proposal Wednesday at the White House, President Obama said the U.S. economy is "poised for progress" -- as long as Washington doesn't get in the way.
"Frankly, the American people deserve better than what we have been seeing, a shortsighted, crisis-driven decision making, like the reckless across-the-board spending cuts that are hurting a lot of communities out there, cuts that will cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs during the course of this year," Obama said, according to a rush transcript.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Wednesday told reporters that the House will review gun control legislation produced in the Senate. "It's important for the Senate to do its work," Boehner said, adding that if legislation passes, "we'll be happy to review it."
Boehner's remarks come as a deal has reportedly been reached between Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) to expand background checks. The two senators are scheduled to unveil their progress at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday at a press conference on Capitol Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has scheduled a preliminary vote on gun control measures for Thursday. "It'd be a real slap in the face to American people not to do something on background checks, on school safety, on federal trafficking," Reid told reporters on Tuesday. "The American people deserve a vote."