August 1st, 2008
03:35 PM ET
6 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.


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.


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

    Pitiful – just plum pitiful. Just another grandstanding act brought to us by the people who rubberstamped President Bush for 6 years.

    NOW they want to us to believe they really care about taxpayers. Give it up and GO HOME!

    August 1, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. Sarah

    Why shouldn't they shut down?

    Here it is: The Republicans had 8 years of absolute power and treated the Democrats like trash. They thumbed their noses at everything and everyone including the American People as they shoveled mind-numbing profits to their friends and ruled this nation from the White House down. They have crushed our economy at home and our integrity abroad and now will do whatever it takes to lay the blame anywhere but on themselves.

    The Republicans have blocked the legislative process, even going so far as to submit legislation they KNOW is bad for the country, just to eat up the clock because they do not want ANYTHING positive to come out of this Congress or it might make the Democrats look good; heaven forbid!

    Democrats don't have enough seats to win a vote and the partisan politics have just about ruined our government. Republicans are blaming the 'Democratic' Congress when everybody on the planet SHOULD know that they are nearly equally divided. The "us against them" mentality is the most outrageous mind-set ever to threaten our nation.

    Of all the shameful acts of partisan politics in the past decade, this group of Republicans take the billion $ cake.

    August 1, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. psittacines

    What an ad. This one is Hollywood all over. Stay on the high road Senator Obama; it will pay off in the long run.

    Has anyone noticed how CNN coverage the past two weeks or more has begun to target Obama and point out all the negative things it can about him?

    Even Lou Dobbs is on the wagon now…his potraits of Barack on the one dollar bill, and then the five, and then the ten, and the 20 and the 50 and then the 100….were totally excessive and over the top…..

    they seek to belittle barack Obama as if they fear his talent and freshness :)

    August 1, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. TAZ

    If you voted for and/or are a Democrat, this is what you get. There more concerned about their vacation than they are the general public and the recession that continues to take its daily toll. Unemploymnet at its highest. Foreclosures at there highest. Exxon reporting the highest profit margin ever recorded by corporation and the democrats can't spend a couple more days and comprimise on a vote, figures.

    August 1, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Kurt C.

    Way to go Democrats. The country wants to drill for oil and you decide to take a recess.

    Seems to me you savagely attacked Bush for taking vacations when work needed to be done, but at least his were working vacations.

    What are you getting done, DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED CONGRESS?

    August 1, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. McSense

    House Republicans can work late on Friday and weekend to make up for McCain's lost hour on weekend. McCain takes it easy on the weekend.

    August 1, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. David

    people voted for republicans last 8 years and now we are 1 trillion more in the hole.

    So much for the lies republicans said: Small government, big business.

    LMAo, the republicans are lying to us all. they have narrow minds!

    August 1, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. Motto Botto

    It is time for people who stand for Freedom, to stand up and be heard. This country of ours was built from the sweat and blood of our forefather. They gave up everything, for this brave new world, and produced a country that can be called the oldest “standing” government in the world today. We fight for liberty and justice for all, we feed the starving in the world, we open our arms to immigration and we never ask for anything in return. America will not fall to tyranny of the majority and will not fail the individual to his god given rights. Tyranny through fear will never triumph over the love of Liberty, because mans very nature is Freedom, and as they say, it is never Free! So Fight On GOP, Fight on!!!

    Hold The Floor !!!

    August 1, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. RyanT

    staging a protest after the buzzer doesn't make up for not accomplishing anything at the end of the session, because they decided to filibuster everything until they got their way.

    keep pouting...the rest of us will come up with sustainable solutions

    August 1, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. maximusinasutin

    Rep. Brady,

    Thank you for demonstrating extreme courage today. While some may make light of your effort, I believe it can be the beginning of a fire in our collective conservativeness. Please do not stop.

    August 1, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. Ian

    Last election it was gay marriage, this election it's offshore drilling. I'm sure this is all in our best interest.

    August 1, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Eileen

    It is great to see the lawmakers finally trying to stand up for something. Democrats or Republicians we must all pull together for America. If they could just get along, we might have a better way of life.

    August 1, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. Montrose

    Bahahahaha! In the 90's it was the democrats staging the after hours protest now it's the right's turn. Maybe the American public overwhelmingly throw your ilk out of office for not having the courage and intestinal fortitude to do what's right for the citizens of the country you represent. Adioa Pelosi! You've just jumped the shark but you can take comfort in the fact you're not the first arrogant piece of work, read Tom Daschle, to get throw out on their ear. Best call up BO and break the news.

    August 1, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Ralph

    Looks like McCain's negative ads kept McCain from noticing Obama's shift in offshore drilling. Looks like McCain lost an opportunity to accuse Obama of flip flopping.

    August 1, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Kay

    I'm getting so tired of the ineptitude of Democrats. With Congressional approval ratings at such a low, you'd think they'd want to actually accomplish some of the things they said they'd do. I've been a Democratic supporter in every election my whole life, always believing they'd so what they said they'd do once in power, but not this year. I'm tired of them not fulfilling any promise or getting anything done.

    August 1, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. adam

    b/c rules don't matter unless they support you

    August 1, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. Former g.o.p.

    Message to the G.O.P.: America is about to foreclose on your House, so
    enjoy the last few months of obstructionism.

    August 1, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  18. David Goldman for OBAMA

    US & ARAB OILMEN THE TRUE GOVERNORS OF

    THIS COUNTRY FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS.

    AND THEY WANT TO CONTINUE WITH

    MCWORTHLESS FOR ANOTHER EIGHT.

    August 1, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. G. F. Terry

    How often do the police get called to forcibly eject elected officials from the House of Representatives? Why did the Democrats use totalitarian means to silence opposition?

    Maybe the Democrats are afraid that someone will point out facts like "acres under lease doesn't mean there is oil under the acres"? Or the fact that the offshore production would be available decades BEFORE any alternative energy solutions can be implemented. Or that Obama's "energy rebate" is a direct flip-flop from his position against suspending the federal gasoline tax?

    Just as important, why don't the Democrats want to go on record with a vote on the issue? If Pelosi is truly so noble as to be "saving the planet", you'd think she and her followers would want to go on record as doing so.

    I've just called the office of my representative and found that she is participating in this effort of the people to free the US from it's dependency on foreign oil. Upon hearing this news, I told the staffer that I had been seriously thinking about voting against all incumbents in November, but the fact that my representative was taking a principled stand even though it wasn't being covered by mainstream news outlets had changed my mind and I will be voting for at least one incumbent congressperson this fall.

    G. F. Terry, Oklahoma City

    August 1, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. PUMA

    Its all Obama’s fault, but if he made Hillary VP I would forgive him. The Democratic party is what it is today ONLY because of Bill and Hillary. The issues do not matter. The welfare of the American People does not matter. If the Democratic no longer supports the Hillary, all 18 million people who voted for her will destroy it and vote for McNotObama.

    August 1, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. NotFallingInLine.org

    All these years, no, all this year these folks have the chance to make a difference; and they did not. Now, in desperation they clammer to save face in pretence. Shame on you all. GO HOME and face the voters!

    August 1, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  22. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    BIG OIL HAS RUN THIS COUNTRY & HAS RUN IT,

    INTO THE GROUND FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS.

    YOU WANT MORE OF IT, VOTE MCBUSH.

    August 1, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  23. Not so rich Rich

    This is sad...

    12 Republicans decide they want to make news back home so that they don't get booted out by the second "Blue wave" this November. Republicans have truly lost their way. They have no idea what they stand for anymore. Perhaps we could find a way to tap all of their wasted energy as an alternative energy source.

    Off-shore drilling factoid: There are over a million acres of ocean floor already open to drilling–but if you look there you won't find a single off-shore rig. I wonder why??? Maybe they don't want to scare all the elusive "red herring" out of their off-shore fishing holes...

    Here's a tip for these Congressmen: Save some fuel by cleaning out your offices before you leave for the break. That way you don't have to fly back to DC to clean them out after the election.

    Best wishes on your new careers,

    Rich

    August 1, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  24. bk

    70% of the people want to drill off shore and Pelosi won't even bring it up for a vote. Now thats listening to the american people. Not!

    McCain-Drill here drill now

    Obama- inflate tire here-inflate now. What a goof-ball!

    August 1, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. J. Dean, a Republican from Juno Beach, FL

    DESPERATE REPUBLICAN PARTY, A VERY OLD AGED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE NAMED OLD MAN McCAIN, AND A MISGUIDED REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHERE HE IS, WHAT HE IS DOING AND WITH A FAILED AND DISASTROUS 8 YEARS IN THE OFFICE, WHAT WE SEE IS WHAT WE GET FROM THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT THE UNDERSIGNED IS A LIFETIME MEMBER.
    WITH THIS KIND OF LEADERSHIP, WE, THE CURRENT AND THE FUTURE REPUBLICANS CANNOT EXPECT MORE THAT THE CURRENT DISASTER.
    GOD SAVE AMERICA.

    August 1, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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