WASHINGTON (CNN) — In a major defeat for supporters of tougher gun laws, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday defeated a compromise proposal to expand background checks on firearms sales.
The bipartisan plan brokered by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, was backed by President Barack Obama in his push for a package of gun laws in the aftermath of the Newtown school massacre.
However, fierce opposition by the powerful National Rifle Association led a backlash by conservative Republicans and a few Democrats from pro-gun states that doomed the amendment to the broader package of legislation.
Due to procedural steps by Republican opponents, the amendment required 60 votes to pass in the 100-member chamber, meaning Democrats and their Independent allies who hold 55 seats needed support from some GOP senators to push them through.
The final vote was 54 in favor to 46 opposed with two Republicans joining most Democrats in supporting the compromise.