WASHINGTON (CNN) – The microphones were off and the lights were dim, but more than a dozen House Republicans refused to go home Friday after the body adjourned for August recess.
The protesting conservatives gave impromptu speeches and nearly filled the seats of their powerful chamber with staffers, Boy Scouts and tourists, in an attempt to pressure Democrats to hold a vote on offshore drilling and other energy ideas. Republicans claim some 45 Congressmen took part.
Reporters scrambled to cover the extraordinary event, with no cameras permitted in the chamber. All sound systems had been turned off as soon as the House went into recess. But the noise was easy to hear from outside the chamber. The crowd on the floor chanted, "Vote! Vote! Vote!" after Congressmen Tom Price (R-Georgia) called for more action on energy and urged people to tell ten others to join the cause.
Listen: House Republicans and their guests chant "vote" in a dark House chamber.
Listen: Republicans and tourists applaud speeches in a shut-down House chamber.
Rep Kevin Brady, R-TX, said he was on a plane headed to Texas when he heard his GOP colleagues were still on the floor and he headed back to the Capitol. “The word went out that the people’s house is finally the people’s house again," he said.
Unsuspecting tourists were drafted to fill in seats. "I was surprised," said Becky Evans, a visitor from Michigan. "We were here for a tour and we were asked to come in and take a seat in the House."
Evans, a self-described Republican, supported the effort. "The fact that Democrats left before getting their work done is highly disappointing," she said.
A strange partisan divide evolved in the protest stump. Tourists who were signed up for tours with Republican congressmen and senators were frantically ushered in to fill seats on the chamber floor.
But tourists with passes from Democratic offices watched from above, in the balconies.
"I was not impressed at all," said Sue Miller from Memphis, Tennessee. "Democrats did not have a chance to defend themselves."
The chamber was half to two-thirds full during the speeches.
Guys. This isn't grade school anymore. Grow up.
The Republican's time is up and so is McCain's.
Obama and the Democrats 08 and 12
you better vote! republican pockets depend on it!
Wow, Barack turns 47 on Monday. It will be a great birthday for him because he will be the next president. I hope he can take some time away from the campaign and eat a piece of cake. Oh that's right, he doesn't like sweets. Well, maybe he can have a cup of his favorite tea.
Let me be the first to wish you a happy birthdday, Senator.
GO GOP! Break Pelosi's Communist style dictatorship! Make them bring a vote to reverse the offshore drilling ban to the floor!
I know his birthday is Monday, but I'm getting ahead start.
The R's always call this kind of thing 'polical theater'. Except when they do it. And after being obstructionist all session, they have no grounds to complain now. The R's blocked motion after motion, bill after bill, all session. And now they complain about not getting things done?!?
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You people are sick bleeting sheep. It only took one McCain ad to start this 'OBama is an empty celebrity' tirade. How many of you made it to Harvard Law school and the Senate? How empty is that? In what way does that compare to an airheard millionairess?
McCain's most notable achievements are crashing his plane, not dying in a prison camp, returning home to cheat on his disabled wife, and helping his new wife evade criminal narcotics charges. Bravo Senator! Bravo!
WE WANT A VOTE!!! We have plenty of oil off the coast of New Jersey; it is time we used what is ours instead of taking it from others! WE WANT A VOTE!!! This should also give you everyone an inkling that when November rolls around, everyone will be coming out the woodwork to vote for McCain!
Most of the bills that the Dems have been trying to get through get stopped in the Senat because of the Repugs. If it wasnt for those guys Congress would have a lot more done
Just goes to show you. The Democrats are not for the people they say the represent. Once again, they show just how elitest they are by leaving the energy situation for recess instead of staying to get something taken care of. And the republicans, who the democrats say don't care about the people, are still in the house trying to get something done about it. Shows you who cares more about the people doesn't it?
I don't think drilling is going to do much at all. How about staying late and chanting... "DOWN WITH BIG OIL!" "UP WITH ALTERNATIVE ENERGY!"
This is the most disgusting ad I have ever seen in my life and McCain needs to be held accountable. He needs to apologize to Christians and the Jewish people for his latest ad!!!
Another example of Republicans going to the dark side.
Good article, definitely not something Alex Mooney would write.
Can you imagine the Republicans 'grand standing" on this. Heck, they're in just as big a hurry to get out of there except for the one last hurrah an photo op!!
If McCain approved that "Messiah" message, he will have the wrath of Obama supporters rain down on him from now on.
So tell us Senator "Straight Talk McCain", do you really believe Barack is the Messiah, and did you approve that message?
We'll be waiting for your answer, and trust me your answer will be career changing.
Let the Republicans stay in there, who cares. It's not as if they care about the American people. I hope they rot in chambers.
You should ask those tourists how it feels to be used in a Republican propaganda film without their being aware ahead of time.
Oh for pete's sake...this was only for show to get McCain elected. If the bumbling Republicans would stop filibustering, Congress would get something done. Who do they think they're kidding??
This just goes to show how far the Democrats have fallen. But what do you expect with the selfish, stupid, as bullheaded as Bush, leaders they have. Pelosi has been afraid to stand up to Bush in all this time now it is take the cowards way out. tuck your tail and run home. I hope all the Dems that ran and ducked from their responsibilities get their come uppins at there reelection.
To bad we can't cut their wages like they did state workers in CA. today.
What a ploy! It's not going to work though.
If you think the recent McCain adds are sad, HOW PATHATIC IS THIS.
WE ARE SMARTER THAN WHAT IS HAPPING NOW, AND OUR AMERICAN MEDIA IMPLIES "BUSINESS AS USUAL – JUST POLITICS!!
How about, NOT RETURNING!
Obama '08 can handle our crisis 'ALL ALONE'
Of course the need off shore drilling.. Without support of oil companies, how will they ever get elected again??
Republicans want to dril for oil, but wont support our troops health insurance or a pay raise for them.
Typical Republicans, Oil before our soldiers.
Tia August 1st, 2008 5:01 pm ET
Congressional history is filled with stuff like this. And it's not limited to the Republican Party. Don't forget the Democrats held sessions over the holidays to block the President from making appointments. At least the Republicans are trying to get something done.
** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **