Lee blasted the rollout of the bill, which implements several gun control policies, as the “Senate operating at its worst.”
“There were a group of senators, 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, who got together and wrote this behind closed doors. I hope they read it. But I don’t think anyone else had the chance to,” Lee said in a statement.
“In fact, by yesterday afternoon, mid-afternoon, a number of news media outlets were reporting that they had the bill text. Senators still didn’t.”
Lee said senators received the bill’s text “just moments before” they were expected to vote on it.
“This is stunning to me,” he said. “This is not how the Senate is supposed to operate.”
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) June 22, 2022
Lee said the secretive process used to pass the bill made it so that no changes at all were able to be debated, let alone made.
“[The American people] deserve better from the world’s better deliberative body,” he added. “They didn’t have that here.”
The bill, spearheaded by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, passed the Senate and House this week and is now headed to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. In the Senate, 14 Republicans voted for the bill, which would enhance background checks for gun buyers under 21 and provide funding for states that pass red-flag laws.
“I am proud that after weeks of hard work, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a bill I negotiated with my colleagues,” Cornyn said. “Our bill will save lives while placing no new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.”