The Washington Post

Toomey, Manchin back together on a background checks bill

(Allison Shelley/Getty Images) Sens. Joe Manchin, left, and Pat Toomey are teaming up again. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

This week marks one year since Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) formed their unlikely alliance to strengthen background check laws on gun sales.

Manchin was seeking a Republican to team up with after the Sandy Hook school shooting. So he approached border state pal Toomey, and the two drafted a modest proposal that still enraged the National Rifle Association and failed to get enough votes in the Senate, but did earn them a spoof on “Saturday Night Live” with actors Jason Sudeikis and Bill Hader as their stand-ins.

A year later, it was Toomey’s turn to ask for Manchin’s help on background checks — not for guns, but for school employees. The Republican senator has been pushing a bill that would require any school that receives federal funds to perform background checks on all existing and new employees, including contractors. There is currently no national standard.

On Wednesday, the senators penned an editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about their latest joint effort. The legislation was inspired by the 1997 rape and murder of a 12-year-old in West Virginia by a teacher who had been fired from a Pennsylvania school for molesting a student.

Though their shared legislative causes are solemn ones, the two men seem to enjoy their fraternity. Toomey told the Loop: “Joe Manchin is interested in getting things done. This isn’t the first time or the last time we will team up on bipartisan legislation. He is a strong partner in my effort to protect children from sexual and violent predators.”

So, the team’s back together, but don’t look for another SNL parody this time around.

Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
New Hampshire has voted. The Democrats debate on Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa say...
For Trump, the victory here was sweet vindication, showing that his atypical campaign could prevail largely on the power of celebrity and saturation media coverage. But there was also potential for concern in Tuesday's outcome. Trump faces doubts about his discipline as a candidate and whether he can build his support beyond the levels he has shown in the polls.
The Post's John Wagner and Anne Gearan say...
Hillary Clinton, who was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses last week by the narrowest of margins, now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.
People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry for solutions.
Hillary Clinton, in her New Hampshire primary night speech
I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
Donald Trump, in his New Hampshire primary victory speech
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
See results from N.H.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.