WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers remain far apart on the most important gun safety issues now under debate in Congress, a Republican senator said Sunday, casting doubts on hopes that the United States could pass the first federal gun legislation in decades.
“The issue that we have here is that we don’t have a bill,” Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee told Fox News Sunday.
“I kept asking to see text and it became apparent that they didn’t have a bill and in fact they don’t have a deal at all,” Lee said.
Lawmakers have been under pressure to reduce gun violence after two mass shootings last month at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Last week, John Cornyn, the lead Republican negotiator in U.S. Senate efforts to craft a bipartisan gun safety bill, walked out of the talks, while the lead Democrat remained optimistic that lawmakers could vote on legislation before leaving for a two-week July 4 recess.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers have an agreement on a series of “very broad promises,” Lee said. “But on the most contentious, controversial, potentially impactful provisions there is no language.”
(Reporting by Heather Timmons; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)