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. Jenna

    I am disgruntled at the Democrats in congress, Nancy Pelosi wants to save the world, give me a break! The make-up she piles on her face is a derivitive of the oil she opposess. I will do my part by voting every Democrat that I can out of office from now on. I have been a Democrat for twenty years, as Ronald Reagan said, "I did not leave the Democratic party, they left me." That's exactly why he changed to a Republican, and those sentiments are mine today! Have a good vacation Ms. Pelosi and Reid, and all of the other Democratic puppets...

    August 1, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. Griff

    John McCain is no Relation to George Bush... No DNA...
    Borack Obama's Father was a Muslim..... Why do CNN keep relating John McCain to George Bush... But Obama not to his DAD... His Own BLood.... CNN.......................

    August 1, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. fonzi

    Where was the GOP between 2001 and 2007?

    August 1, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Dorice

    It's about time Republicans, good for you! It just shows you how selfish the Dumb-crats really are!

    August 1, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. KG

    Just remember all you liberal Democrat lovers out there. The Republicans are the ones who want to work and fight for energy legislation. The Democrats are the ones who have controlled Congress for the last two years and have done nothing for you and now have gone on vacation.

    August 1, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. David

    Really?!? Where were these obstructionist republicant's when our Constitution was being shredded? Talk about your theatrics. What a joke.

    August 1, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. Phil, FL

    What a joke. The haven't done anything for 8 years (republicans), now they want to pretend they are responsible people.

    Vote all the rascals out !!!!!!!!

    ALL OF THEM – get a new batch and if they don't work, vote them out !!!

    August 1, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. TheVote2009

    I Think Paris and Britney are kewl, young and Famous Hilton's parents gave money to McCain's camp, before this and he dogs their daugther for being a Famous C. This hurt McCain and shows bad Judgement. You should see most of the college student Party each campus has its ups and downs.Spring breaks etc Remember San Diego Party People in every town. But isn't it funny McCains younger wife looks like both Paris and Britney but way older and has been to Rehab not once but twice you the first time she would learn something and you want to make here First Lady please War on Drugs please. Clinton tried drugs not Rehab. Just because you drink doesn't mean you go to AA twice. McCain had poor Judgement with a jet and got shot down. McCain was no Hero He didn't help win a War .A Vietnam Prisoner didn't win hmmm Just young men and women dying "He is no Patton a winner and Real Hero".. McCain says he can have good Judgement for the country Bull a plane wreck and a rich Rehab women Don't get me started on gas prices and economy please Wake up.I dont know if all facts but you find out for yourself. Do the research.
    Kennedy, Reagan and Arnold all Famous C's. Obama is both Races mixed White and Black speaks for all people. Its time unless your a Racist.Are you? Then Vote for Change and the best person is Obama and who ever he chooses as a running mate. McCain will show more of his true colors soon. So will one of the best countries in the world bring on the Debates and the Election By the way I am in the middle in always I voted for Reagan and for Clinton whomever the best person is not the color of their skin or their old age. But come on McCain please anyone but. him. Now he is mocking Moses and God check for 666 on McCains head. Race card how could you say that with someone's mother white and father black Obama is for all people Are you McCain? Whats wrong with that man are the republicans going to cheat again. Like I said anyone but McCain

    August 1, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Ryan

    This reminds me of a junkie just begging for one more fix. We're addicted and we desperately want that sweet sweet oil. How about instead of a short term fix, we focus our efforts on looking for something a little more substantial.

    Wasting time causing a scene to get the media's attention on an issue that clearly isn't going to be voted on isn't useful for accomplishing anything, just rallying the troops and saying you tried your best but the other team just wouldn't play by your rules. It's like the basketball player who jumps into the defender and throws up a wild shot. Everyone knows the shot isn't going in. It's just a tactic to try to get the ref who isn't paying attention to give you a couple free shots.

    August 1, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. henriettap

    Republicans need to stop acting like children and fess up to facts that they have known this for awhile but now that they fear for their seats that are up for grabs, they are trying to act like they care so much about everything.The only way they can win any race is by being dirty.We have not gotten anywhere during these past eight years because they have had their heads in a hole.If we have eight more years of this we will be in the soup lines.

    August 1, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. Moe, NY

    Why do Bush and his cronies want offshore drilling? It would be YEARS before this country saw any results, if any at all. Our environment will be worse off than it is now...and it is not a pretty picture now. Could this offshore drilling possibly put more money into Bush and his cronies pockets...hmmmm....I have a feeling that is the case. Seems to me that the greedy, corrupt Republicans are at it again....don't fall for it America!

    August 1, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. KE

    House Republicans chant “Vote”
    Obama Democrat chant “Yes We Can” “Hope” “Change”
    It’s ironic.

    A different subject…

    Chesterton wrote “the most effective fact in oratory is unexpected change in the voice,” and I think McCain has it and he knows timing too.

    Obama modulate volume but he doesn’t modulate tone, and it’s hard to listen now.

    McCain’s “My friend” has tone.
    Obama’s “Hope and Change” is monotone volume.

    August 1, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Sheryl Tx

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

    I am not Impressed ..... go Home Who Cares

    August 1, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. biffington, biff

    With the Democrats leaving them to their grandstanding, it amounted to a high profile circle-jerk.

    August 1, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. BlameBarack

    I don't understand how the repubs had all of this control in the White House over the last 8 years, they vote to mess up the economy, increase gas prices, cause high unemployment, and increased the deficit and as soon as the Dems want a break, the repubs finally want to do something? OMG! How Disgusting

    August 1, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  16. i love how tia

    somehow turns "we are willing to stand and vote on energy policy" into " grade school" politics.

    Both sides are lost. Republicans are now more worried about being in the middle than standing with true conservative, small government values.

    Democrats are now socialists... enough said.

    August 1, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. E

    guess they really need that money from the oil companies huh

    August 1, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. Greg

    What better way to protect Obama's "NO!" vote from tarnishing his upcoming arrival at the DNC convention? It goes to show which side will stay and fight for the people. The Democrats are more concerned about holding off Obama's "NO!" vote for as long as possible.

    It's our oil! It has NOTHING to do with the price of gas. It has EVERYTHING to do with no longer relying on people who hate us to provide our oil. We need to be self-reliant in this area. With drilling comes more jobs, more prosperity and a better America. Given the worldwide demand for oil (the primary contributor to price increase), the price won't be going down for quite some time. Deal with it. But don't beg for money from the oil companies. They owe you nothing. You got what you wanted: a gallon of gas for a given price. The transaction is complete.

    August 1, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    wow what an epic moment...people getting together to demand a change for something that's really a false solution. it's a shame that many americans are actually convinced that drilling for more oil will actually do something to help us out. were there oil excecutives there too?

    August 1, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. Tejano

    Take a vacation guys. You earned it with all the work you have done to
    make America free from foreign oil. Saving our homes from foreclosure. Keeping our Jobs in the U.S. and providing for our
    schools, roads, bridges and other infrastrucure needs. Great Job.]
    I hope all of you lose yours in the next election and we can start over again with people that care for Americans more than the foreignors.

    August 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  21. Ari

    Hey republicans. The oil companies have roughly 45 MILLION acres of land on which they have leases to drill yet they are only drilling on 10 million acres. Maybe they drill on those other 35 million acres before they destroy the fragile ecosystems that would be destroyed if they started drilling off shore. Start doing that. If there is no oil under those 35 million acres, which is highly unlikely, than maybe it will be time to discuss opening up offshore drilling. I say discuss because either way I am against it and don't want it to happen. It is time to start looking for alternative sources of energy. Maybe Exxon-Mobil could help withe some of the $11.7 billion dollars in profits that they just posted. Wishful thinking does not hurt.

    August 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  22. David Jacobson, New York NY

    If the Democrats had stuffed the house chamber with screaming tourists when the Republicans ran congress, they'd be labled as terrorists and had their patriotism questioned.

    But I'm glad Rep Kevin Brady feels that the people's house is finally the people's house again.

    Mission Accomplished.

    August 1, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. Mickey, NY

    Step right up folks!! Through that door, right next to the display of Egyptian mummies & the dinosaur exibit, you will see the last remaining living hardcore idiots of the Republican Party! Yes, that's right folks... REPUBLICANS! Remember them?

    August 1, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  24. California Gold

    Republicans are grand standing. Given the temperment of the voting public and realization of what a mess the Republican administration has made, it seems the Republicans don't have much else to offer up other than a sit-in.

    August 1, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. Rave

    I am sure GOP will be loosing a lot of unnecessary contracts and spending in this week for their lobbyists. Say it GOP.. we all know it. Go away, you are not needed atleast for a week... will save us some tax dollars.
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    August 1, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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