Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. (Leigh Vogel/Pool via AP, File)

Joe Manchin owns the U.S. Senate now…everyone else just works there.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat from West Virginia, said Tuesday that he does not support the two gun safety bills the House passed earlier this month and instead is still pushing to pass the more narrow Manchin-Toomey compromise bill that he developed with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey — but failed to pass — after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

“No, I don’t support what the House passed,” Manchin told CNN as he left the Senate floor. “Not at all.”

Manchin’s opposition underscores a major divide among Democrats over how to tackle gun control — a key priority for their voters — even as the party now controls Congress and the White House and faces intense pressure to take action in the wake of a massacre at a Colorado supermarket that left 10 dead, including a store manager and a police officer.

The chances the Senate could pass any gun legislation remain highly unlikely given that would require significant Republican support to overcome a filibuster. But Manchin’s stance shows that Democratic leaders would not even be able to count on votes from their entire caucus for gun legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled House, making any effort to pass the bills even more challenging and divisive for their party.

— Ted Barrett and Clare Foran in Manchin opposes House gun safety bills, underscoring Democratic divide over gun control

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