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House Dems push to unlock votes on assault weapons ban, other stalled safety bills

A group of centrist House Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus have reached a compromise on a package of public safety bills that could pave the way for a vote on Friday, the last day before the chamber’s set to leave Washington.

Negotiated largely between Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), the deal on policing accountability language is the result of a week’s worth of frenetic back-and-forth conversations.

Still, it’s not assured that the duo’s agreement will land the votes from across the caucus that it needs to pass on Friday: Both Beatty and Gottheimer will work to sell their language to fellow Democrats, including progressives members, throughout the day.

Progressives believe they have enough votes to kill the deal, according to two people familiar with the situation. Congressional Progressive Caucus members who also belong to the Black Caucus are “livid” at the language, one person said.

If the two Democrats are successful, the House will vote Friday on a package of policing and public safety bills that it had previously punted — which includes the party’s marquee proposal to ban so-called assault weapons. It would be the first House vote on that issue since 1994.

Passing the measures would mean a major political win ahead of the House’s August recess, albeit a largely symbolic one given that the Senate is highly unlikely to act on most of them. For vulnerable moderate Democrats in particular, a successful vote would help them tout their pro-policing bona fides back home, where GOP attack ads have seized on rising crime to slam them.

As of Friday morning, members of the Progressive Caucus hadn’t made a decision on whether to support the Beatty-Gottheimer proposal and were still analyzing the language among themselves.

The Black Caucus met to brief its members on the deal on Friday morning.

Nicholas Wu and Jordain Carney contributed to this report.

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