The White House on Tuesday afternoon reached out to major philanthropic foundations not typically associated with gun control to gauge how much they are willing to get involved in President Obama’s future gun violence prevention efforts, according to a person on the call.The call, which featured Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Jonathan Greenblatt, the director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and members of Vice President Biden’s staff, was largely a “listening session,” according to the person on the call, who represents a foundation invited to participate.The person said the call included the Open Society Institute, the McCormick Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California Endowment. Those groups, which traditionally work in public health fields, have not previously been identified with major gun control efforts.White House officials declined to comment about the call.“There’s only one reason why you get a bunch of deep-pocketed funders on the phone,” the participant said. “It’s not because they’re great dancers. It’s because at the end of the day you need to tap into them for something.”
But Obama’s most intriguing fight — or non-fight — looms on gun control in the wake of a December school massacre that repeatedly brought him to tears.Some members of the president’s own staff were chagrined when he decided to create a task force, led by Biden, to study gun control measures instead of pushing ahead in the lame-duck session with bills limiting high-capacity gun magazines and expanding the firearms database.To some Obama veterans, that move echoed the earliest months of Obama’s first-term, when then-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, an arch pragmatist, clamped down on any proposal that didn’t have a realistic chance of surviving in Congress. There would be no crusades in the Obama White House, he told his troops.(MBV Note: Which, you may recall, led to the Gunwalker Scandal.)This time might be different, White House officials say. The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School touched the president deeply, and he had privately expressed a desire to force members of Congress to vote, up or down, on gun legislation, whatever the outcome.Moreover, they believe that a victory on the Hagel confirmation — which they expect, despite some opposition among Democrats — will give them more leverage in the gun control and debt ceiling fights.
Meanwhile, Immigration's new rival: gun control
President Barack Obama promised immigration reform leaders that their cause would top his second-term agenda, making January their month.But immigration advocates are beginning to worry that their fight could slip behind a cause that wasn’t even an issue during the election: gun control.This month the White House was supposed to begin its push in earnest for immigration reform. Instead, after a gunman killed 20 school children in Newtown, Conn., Obama tapped Vice President Joe Biden to lead a group that will release a reform proposal in mid-January — just when immigration activists had hoped all eyes would be on their issue.Immigration advocates believed that their best shot at comprehensive reform was to push it early in Obama’s second term — when the election results were still fresh in Republicans’ minds and when the president could use the bully pulpit of his Inauguration and the State of the Union Address to rally the public.If those speeches become about gun control, it’ll make it that much harder for advocates to pick up the momentum needed to get a big, controversial bill through Congress. . .
But here's the money quote:
Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) recent move to bring the fiscal cliff deal to the floor without a majority of Republican votes to pass the legislation has also cheered immigration proponents.