August 1st, 2008
03:35 PM ET
10 years ago

Congress shuts down for the month, GOP refuses to leave

Some House Republicans refused to leave once the congressional recess for August began on Friday afternoon.

Some House Republicans refused to leave once the congressional recess for August began on Friday afternoon.

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.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. Lesley

    The only thing the Republicans stayed for was to push off shore drilling to satisfy the oil companies and continue receiving large donations to their cause. The repubs refuse to vote on investigation of oil speculators of course. What a total sham this government has become, with the Republicans trying to manipulate policy for their rich friends. I see though that they voted to protect lobbyists by easing restrictions under the new law. But people will hear this news report and vote Republican.

    August 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Samantha

    As an American and a Christian, I want an apology from the McCain Campaign on that blasphemes ad. How can someone even put that on the airwaves? McCain is a low-life. I hope his mother is proud of raising an idiot.

    I challenge every Barack supporter to keep blogging about that Messiah ad until we get an apology from McCain.

    August 1, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Debra

    Obama will lose this election without Clinton as VP.
    No Hillary, No vote

    August 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    “The word went out that the people’s house is finally the people’s house again,"

    You've got to be kidding me.

    By the way it's the GOP that has obstructed every sensible and responsible energy initiative that has been proposed since 2006.

    August 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Ad Is Horrific

    McCain needs to denouce and reject that "Messiah" ad. He is really scrapping the bottom of the barrel.


    August 1, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Andy

    McCain should have known better than to allow that ad to play. It is beneath his office.

    I guess this means he has nothing on Barack. McCain is just a bunch of hot air.

    August 1, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. Rosie

    Nancy Pelosi doesn't own the house. The house belongs to me and to all americans. This is the way the Democrates will do things in the future if they get total control. If one doesn't agree with them, they do not want to debate, they want to shut you up. We heard her say "Shut off the lights, all reporters out" They should not leave until this vote goes to the house so we can all see how they vote. We should be able to see this on CSPAN because this is real NEWS..........

    Who does the speaker think she is anyway? What an ego, she wants to save the earth!! Jeez!! and everyone else wants lower gas prices.
    She has too much power and should be cut down to size. Everybody knows, the bigger the supply, the lower the prices. Only fools try to argue this point.

    August 1, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. D

    Finally the Republicans are standing up.

    Thanks Democrats for a crappy 2 years and doubling our gas! Not get out of the way!

    ""I was not impressed at all," said Sue Miller from Memphis, Tennessee. "Democrats did not have a chance to defend themselves.""

    Sue Miller is an idiot. The Democrats LEFT!!

    August 1, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. Linda of Atlanta

    This is typically Republican, playing for the cameras about BS.

    August 1, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Sue

    McCain is a low-life for approving that ad. He will regret not being a man and standing up to the truth. I guess he coudln't win on his own merits.

    August 1, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. Mike, CT

    This just shows that the Nancy Pelosi liberals would go on vacations on our taxpayer dollars when Americans are struggling to go on their own vacations. The Democrats should be ashamed that they are not solving this dire issue. Thumbs up to the GOP for not going on vacation.

    August 1, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. John

    Nancy is the one that needs to grow up! She can handle the heat so she takes her marbles (turns off the lights and microphones) and goes home

    August 1, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Cubanos de Florida

    our pockets are hurting because of republicans. you will see change coming in November.
    read my lips. no third Bush term.

    Obama 08

    August 1, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. Angela Frazier, Memphis TN

    Geez, are you frigging kidding me???

    August 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. Ed Ward

    Good for them. Let them stay in there until they starve to death. At least if they're contained they won't be out ruining America.

    August 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. sacto joe

    Wake up, America – we've come withiin a hair's breadth of becoming the Fourth Reich under the Repuglicans!

    It's time for a CHANGE!

    And pandering to the oil barons ain't the change I'm talking about!

    August 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. revpackman

    Way to go, GOP! I am so darn proud of you today! If we have an energy crisis, then Congress' job is to deal with it, not run away.

    August 1, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. WarHeroFmrPOW HijaxStr8talkXpress DrivzIn2GutR TurnzCoward XploitsTroopsAsProps UsesPatraeusAs PoliticalPawn

    Nice staging with bad actors. Not that any of them is being bought and paid for by big oil or anything.

    August 1, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Rick FL

    These Republicans are unbelievable–more "my way or the highway" approach we've seen from them over the past eight years. Didn't their parents teach them that you don't get dessert until you finish what's on your plate? Their oil affiliates have over 68 MILLION acres available to them for drilling, and they don't use it. Until these oil companies fully use that area, they should not be allowed to manipulate the public to give them more space for supporting their long-term business models before Bush leaves office.

    Republicans blocked legislation that would have required these oil companies to obtain licenses for drilling on the land already allocated to them. Stop the manipulation.

    August 1, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. Alex

    I like how the democrats claim to be the party of free speech and open government and here is Nancy Pelosi shutting down c-span, the house microphones, and having POLICE try to through reporters out of the speakers hall.

    August 1, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Kongtooth

    Ah... the Dem congress hard at work again.

    65% of America wants a vote on this and they go home... Nice

    Maybe they can check their tire pressue... Obama says that's all we need to do to make up for additional oil.... what a tool

    August 1, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Phil-Little Rock

    Only Republicans would wait until the real people are no longer in session, then fill the chamber with fake ones and carry on.

    Can you say 'short bus', anyone?

    August 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Griff

    This is the most Democratic thing, that has happened all year! And it took the Republicans to do it... A demand for a "Stable Country".
    Everybody else is on L.S.D. Elucinating...

    August 1, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. Mikey

    I read the headline and then the first sentence. Are there only 12 Republicans left in the House? Do the Democrats hold a 423-12 advantage? What about in the Senate?

    Oh, I get it, the GOP didn't stay, only 12 or so Republicans who wanted to make some political hay. That means about 95% of the house Republicans have gone home, right?

    Thought: If Obama can really part the Red Sea, then I am definitely voting for him. Of course, I am voting for him anyway, because he is a far superior choice to the hopelessly pathetic John McCain, who is "proud" to be running the sleazy campaign he promised not to run.

    August 1, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. David

    Exactly how stupid do they think we are? For over 7 years they sat and did nothing; no energy policy, no fuel efficiency standards, no funding for alternative energy, nothing! And now all of a sudden this is the most important thing on their minds.

    If it wasn't so completely, blatantly hypocritical it would actually be funny.

    August 1, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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