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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Planet) adjourned the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday morning at 11:23am, so our esteemed representatives could go on their five week summer recess. The adjournment vote was along partisan lines, with Republicans voting to stay in session to get an up/down vote on offshore oil drilling (which Congress and 78% of Americans support), and with the Pelosi-led Democrats voting to flip America the bird. The Dems turned off the lights and the microphones. C-SPAN turned off their cameras.
But a group of House Republicans stayed right where they were and kept on talking in protest, in the dark, without microphones, and without the cameras rolling. Some news media, including Politico, stayed to chronicle the events, even though the
“This is the people’s House. This is not Pelosi's politburo,” said Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.). Amen, brother.
Democratic aides were furious at the GOP stunt, and reporters were kicked out of the Speaker's Lobby, the space next to the House floor where they normally interview lawmakers.
"You're not covering this, are you?" complained one senior Democratic aide. Another called the Republicans "morons" for staying on the floor.
Update: The Capitol Police are now trying to kick reporters out of the press gallery above the floor, meaning we can't watch the Republicans anymore. But Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) is now in the gallery talking to reporters, so the cops have held off for a minute. Clearly, Democrats don't want Republicans getting any press for this episode. GOP leaders are trying to find other Republicans to rotate in for Blunt so reporters aren't kicked out.
Update 2: This message was sent out by Blunt's office:
"Although this Democrat majority just adjourned for the Democrat 5-week vacation, House Republicans are continuing to fight on the House floor. Although the lights, mics and C-SPAN cameras have been turned off, House Republicans are on the floor speaking to the taxpayers in the gallery who, not surprisingly, agree with Republican energy proposals.
"All Republicans who are in town are encouraged to come to the House floor."
Update 3: Democrats just turned out the lights again. Republicans cheered.
Update 4: Republican leaders just sent out a notice looking for a bullhorn, and leadership aides are trying to corral all the members who are still in town to come speak on the floor and sustain this one-sided debate.
The House adjourned about three hours ago, but GOP lawmakers — outraged that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats went home for five weeks without allowing a vote on offshore drilling — have refused to leave the floor. Even though C-SPAN can't show you what's going on (C-SPAN is prevented from showing what's happening on the floor when the House is out of session), Republicans are holding an unprecedented session on the House floor. They have brought in dozens of their members, who are walking up and down the aisles making speeches. They have packed the floors and galleries with staffers. When Capitol Police tried to remove reporters from the gallery, Republicans stopped it from happening. The crowd has repeatedly broken out in chants of "Vote, vote, vote!"
Update 5: The scene on the floor is kind of crazy. Normally, members are not allowed to speak directly to the visitor galleries, and visitors are prohibited from cheering. But in this case, the members are walking up and down on the floor during their speeches, standing on chairs. The visitors are cheering loudly. Some members even brought in visitors, who are now sitting on the House floor in the seats normally filled by lawmakers, cheering and clapping. Very funny.
Democrats faced a choice here: Should they leave the cameras on and let Republicans rip Pelosi & Co. on C-SPAN, or should they leave the cameras off and let the Republicans have their "tantrum," as one Democratic aide characterized it, with the cameras off? So the cameras are off, but Republicans, and the crowd, are clearly enjoying the scene.
Update 6: Republicans are literally hugging each other on the House floor. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.), not normally known as a distinguished orator, just gave a rousing speech, accusing Democrats of stifling dissent. He referenced President John Quincy Adams, who returned as a House member after being defeated in his presidential reelection bid. Waving his arms and yelling, Manzullo brought the crowd (including a lot of staffers shipped in by GOP leaders to fill up the place), and he left the floor to hugs from his colleagues. You don't see that up here every day.
Update 7: Rep Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) just pretended to be a Democrat. He stood on the other side of the chamber and listed all of the GOP bills that the Dems killed.
He then said, "I am a Democrat, and here is my energy plan" and he held up a picture of an old VW Bug with a sail attached to it. He paraded around the House floor with the sign while the crowd cheered.
Update 8: It's over.
Right at the stroke of five Georgia Rep. Tom Price announced that House Republicans were ending their impromptu protest on the floor of the chamber, ending a five-plus hour rebellion with a round of "God Bless America."
The assembled tourists, aides and members in the chamber gave Price and his compatriots a standing ovation. They left the chamber to shouts of "USA! USA! USA!"
Call this a stunt if you wish, but I think this is exactly the type of stunt we need more of, to awaken America and to force the Democrats to do the right thing. The Republican protest already bore fruit, as Hopey McChangerson (aka Barack Obama, the Human Jellyfish) FLIP-FLOPPED on offshore oil drilling as the Republicans were protesting. Now he's in favor of it. Hopey, of course, only flip-flopped because he's losing votes as the GOP gets traction on the drilling issue, but who cares why he did it. It only matters that he DID do it. The voice of the people still works, but we can't stay silent and think everything is going to work out anyway. If we have to drag Dems kicking and screaming into the light, so be it. Way to go, GOP.