When the Senate voted this spring on whether to toughen background checks for gun buyers, the two senators in a dozen states voted differently from each other including Iowa's Charles Grassley, a Republican, who voted no, and Tom Harkin, a Democrat, who voted yes. Their constituents, including Phil Roe, 56, of Eldora, Iowa, illustrate why it's so hard for Congress to reach a consensus. Roe, a board member of Iowa Gun Owners PAC, is photographed June 5, 2013 in Waterloo, Iowa.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) (C) makes an opening statement as committee members (L-R) Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV), ranking member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) prepare to vote on health care reform legislation on Capitol Hill October 13, 2009 in Washington, DC. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) has not tipped her hand about which way she will vote on the groundbreaking legislation but some believe she may be the only Republican to vote for the bill.
Credit: Chip Somodevilla
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-KS) reads over his notes with two pairs of eyeglasses during a markup hearing of the Senate Finance Committee September 30, 2009 in Washington, DC. The committee markup was on pending national health care legislation entitled 'America's Health Future Act.'
Credit: Win McNamee
Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) talks with Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) before the start of the full Senate Finance Committee markup of 'The America's Health Future Act' September 29, 2009 in Washington, DC. The committee is expected this week to tackle the issues of how to pay for the proposed health care plan and whether or not it should include a public insurance option with amendments offered by Sen. Rockefeller and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). Also pictured at right is ranking member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-KS).