Democrats seeking vote on gun measures shut down the House
WASHINGTON — Rebellious Democrats shut down the House’s legislative work Wednesday, staging a sit-in on the House floor and refusing to leave until they
secured a vote on gun
control measures before lawmakers’ weeklong break.
Exasperated Republicans were forced to recess while cutting off cameras that showed the protest. But in an unprecedented step, C-SPAN used live video feeds from one lawmaker’s Periscope account and another’s Facebook page to transmit words and images from the House.
Nearly 100 Democrats led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis demanded a vote on measures to expand background checks and block gun
purchases by some sus-
pected terrorists in the
aftermath of last week’s massacre in Orlando,
Florida, that killed 49
people in a gay nightclub.
“No bill, no break,” shouted Democrats, who demanded that Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., keep the House in session through its planned break next week to vote on gun legislation.
Republicans of political
cowardice by failing to schedule a vote.
‘Stunt’: In an email titled, “Democrat Publicity Stunt,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said, “the House cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed subject to the call of the chair.”
Republicans had staged a similar protest in 2008. Democrats controlling the House at the time turned off the cameras amid a GOP push for a vote to expand oil and gas drilling. Republicans occupied the floor, delivering speeches after then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the House on its August recess. Pelosi ordered the cameras turned off.
Republicans ultimately forced the drilling provision to be attached to a stopgap spending bill.
C-SPAN, a cable and satellite network that provides continual coverage of House and Senate floor proceedings, does not control the cameras. They’re run on authorization by legislative leaders.