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Courtesy of TheHill.com tipsheet

The silent treatment

Now that a majority of the Senate went on record supporting the federal assault weapons ban, the focus turns to what House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) will do.

So far, the Speaker has punted to President Bush, who supports extending the ban, but has not publicly called on Congress to act. Hastert aides have suggested that unless Bush does so, there will be no vote on the floor before the 10-year ban expires in September.

Bush is seeking the coveted endorsement of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which declined to endorse then-GOP presidential hopeful Bob Dole in 1996. The NRA stayed neutral in 1996 because of Dole’s shifting stance on the assault weapons ban. Extending the ban may work politically with independent voters, but Bush seems more interested in keeping his conservative base intact.

Look for Bush to secure the NRA’s endorsement by remaining silent on the assault weapons ban.


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