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. Anonymous

    Bunch of politricktians trying to act like they care.

    GOP should take a hike.

    August 1, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Joe the Troll

    Amazing how pro-active the Republicans became after losing the majority they had for ten years. tell me, exactly what did they accomplish in all that time?

    August 1, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. aaa

    hahahaha GOP crooks

    August 1, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Ex-Republican for Obama

    They have had a bill in front of them the whole time that they could sign, but never acted on it. They should make a bill that requires the oil companies to drill on the 70 million acres they are currently in possession of before asking for more land.

    Puppets Commiting Crimes is all they are.

    Democrats for All seats is my vote.

    August 1, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Sherry

    Republican congress is acting out to make it look like the Democrats dont care on voting......What a joke their just trying to make them look like they give a darn.......It wont help McShameful hes a old has been that needs to out to pasture.

    August 1, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Peter

    This is pathetic, and this is why im a democrat

    Obama '08 and '12

    August 1, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Erick

    What are you talking about? The republicans (like all Americans) are besides themselves that the Democraticaly controlled congress went on vacation without addressing the nations most pressing domestic crisis which is run away energy prices and $5.00 a gallon gas at our pumps. It is insanity that the democrats would think they deserve to leave us high and dry without doing a darn thing to address it and the Republicans are sticking around to provide solutions and take action to help us.

    August 1, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. Lynn in NM

    Please, everyone go home. If the Congress and Senate are not voting, they can't do any more harm than they have already done. Democrats and Republicans included.

    August 1, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. jmc

    This is what I've been expecting the McCain campaign to do. To paint Obama as the Anti -Christ . Ok I really did like Mr. Mccain and still do this just seems very much out of "his "character . Please let's act like mature adults!!! Mr. Mccain please don't let this election ruin your integrity please..... I'm a christian which happens to be an Obama supporter .Again ,I do respect Mr . McCain but feel this is an insult to the Christian Faith . To try to prey on the Christian faith is an all time low

    August 1, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. bulldog

    Why the hell does everyone think the Republicans are pushing hard for offshore drilling all of a sudden? Because the Bush term is almost over! They are getting desperate. Don't fall for their scams.

    I watched the Senate debate on oil yesterday and the Democrats introduced at least 3 bills to try to help lower gas prices and the Republicans said no each time because their bill did not include offshore drilling.

    So this is it. If the Republicans cannot have offshore drilling they will block each and every energy bill that will help bring down gas prices or help to create alternative energy sources. This is there strategy.

    Don't fall for it. They are scam artists. How many times to they have to prove before people quit falling for these Rebublican lies. All they really care about is Big Oil and Big Corporations.

    Isn't it funny that John McCain received $1 million dollars from Texas oilmen right after he changed his position on offshore drilling. Hmmmm. If that's not obvious I don't know what is.

    August 1, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. vb

    People..offshore oil drilling will not do anything for the Average American...Oil companies are the ones who are going to benefit from this. People will not see price of gas go down for 10 years, and it would go down max a few cents a gallon. No wonder oil men Cheney and Bush want this. Poor ExxonMobil, their price per share went down because their profits were not higher than expected. Making $1500 a second is not that great for them, they need offshore drilling so they can double the profit.


    (CNN please post)

    August 1, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. Matt

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

    The Democrats had the chance to defend themselves; they walked out instead.

    August 1, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. Kevin

    If the Dems think they are on the right side of this issue, they should be proud to have their vote recorded. Why doesn't Speaker Pelosi want that?

    August 1, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Tired of Democrat B.S.

    Delays, abuse procedural rules, filabuster, shut the lights and sound off, and any other trick in the book that they can think of to avoid voting on the issues because Democrats don't want to have to go on record as being against the opinion of the majority of Americans on taxes, offshore drilling, immigration, trade, terrorism, you name it.

    What happened to all of the promises from 2006? The democrats control both the house and senate, where are the results that Pelosi and Reed promised? They are full of you know what.

    August 1, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. kayla


    August 1, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. Franky

    Guys(Reps).........go home, don't worry about it. Let's face it, the Dems are doing you bogus, is no secret and guess what? I can't control that...

    You know, I don't know what to say, I don't know what to do but all I know is that you ain't the one who needs help, alright? People are just too desperate, that's all.

    Just go home...

    August 1, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    What? These guys want to give more away to Big Oil?

    Some Republicans do their best work alone in the dark. I just hope they wash their hands afterwards.

    August 1, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. LOL @ Conservatives

    Tick tock LOSERS, your end is near.

    August 1, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. bill for barack

    If I had a choice between sitting in Washington all year or risk being seen in the same state as McIdiot, I wouldn't leave D.C. until hell froze over.

    August 1, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. john williams san diego, ca.

    pelosi has brought integrity and bi-partianship back to Washington and for two years now she forgot what to do with it...MS. DUMBO..

    August 1, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. Dan , TX

    How dumb do the republicans think we are?

    August 1, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. TheTruthHurts

    I think this is a good move by the GOP. It won't work, but it's a good try. They know there is nothing in the Republican platform since before Reagan that has tried to do a think about getting the US off of oil. Just follow the money to the campaign contributions. It's all there in the reports. Big oil gives money to everyone, but they have their favorites for a reason.

    America is waking up to what Republicans have really meant by "free markets." Free to rape. Free to pillage. Free to lie. Free to extract. Free to gut this country and leave it as a shell of its former self.

    August 1, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. Dj

    LMAO... And, like their McFearless leader, they are accomplishing absolutely NOTHING on behalf of the American people... only their own self-motivated agendas.

    August 1, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. Brad

    Incredibly amusing. They just don't get it!

    August 1, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Michael, Lorain, Ohio

    More political grandstanding from the GOP; nevertheless, I'm not happy with Congress either.

    August 1, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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