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. Harriett

    How juvenile! Drilling in America will NOT BRING LOWER GAS PRICES AND ONLY BENEFITS THE OIL COMPANIES. Why are Americans so ignorant? No drop of any oil within a decade, and there is plenty of land already leased to the oil trolls that isn't even being utilized. For America's sake, people, WAKE THE HELL UP! John McShame is now Turd Blossom's minion. Rethuglicans can only 'act out' because they have nothing else, and are completely responsible for allowing BUSHCO to destroy our country. Just Plain. Evil.

    August 1, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Captain Obvious

    "Democrats did not have a chance to defend themselves."

    ... that's as dumb as claiming criminals need a chance to defend themselves from being arrested. Dems started this by refusing to allow debate on energy.

    This is the GOP defending THEMselves... and the rest of the country too. Nice of them to grow a spine for a change... they should do it more often

    August 1, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  3. Matt, Canoga Park

    I wish I could take off for a month and still keep my job. I guess this is the very definition of loosing touch with your people.

    I say come november we fire them all no matter what the party affiliation. I am sure there are several Americans that would gladly take the job and actually do the work.

    August 1, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    If this were really about "more action on energy" debate would include the full spectrum of renewable alternative energy sources. In reality, it only focuses on off-shore drilling which just further bloats the profits of big-oil. The dems were right to shutter the house and go home. Now the 'pubs should go home and listen to their constituents who are more interested in energy security than greasing the palms of the same old fat-cats.

    August 1, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  5. M.R. in L.A.

    If this were really about "more action on energy" debate would include the full spectrum of renewable alternative energy sources. In reality, it only focuses on off-shore drilling which just further bloats the profits of big-oil. The dems were right to shutter the house and go home. Now the 'pubs should go home and listen to their constituents who are more interested in energy security than greasing the palms of the same old fat-cats.

    August 1, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. Alex_58

    Good for them. At least they are pretending like they care about the energy situation in America.

    As for me, I think all of the Dems and Repubs should DO SOMETHING. If they don't, lets vote them out for good.

    August 1, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  7. Willow, from Iowa

    I tend to agree that they should have at least discussed this. Of course, the Dems did not want to vote, and I agree with them. However, there should have been some discussions about it, with both sides talking. Once we quit talking, nothing gets done.

    I believe Jack Cafferty is right. This entire government is broken. We need to fire the whole lot of them.

    August 1, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. Vernon Wong

    People keep talking about the 9% approval rating for Congress. The way I see it, it is closer to 100% since each state keeps re-electing the same people to Congress. Since my own Congressional representation is doing a great job, I want to kick out all the other state's representation. Can I vote against your senators and congressmen?

    August 1, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Susan

    Where have you Republicans been? All of a sudden you want to help the citizens of this country? Sen Stevens sure did. Grow up and talk issues instead of trying to show off!

    August 1, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  10. Charlotte

    This congress is worthless and they know it. They can't fill the chambers when they are in session. Probably had more in the seats then usual. Where was the messiah, oh yeah, he is campaigning for President and could not be there as usual. Obama could have filled it to overflow with kool-aid drinkers..

    August 1, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. BlackMan4Mac

    Why don't the dems get to work. We need solutions now, not after they take vacation. At my job, I don't go on vacation when the company needs to get important things done. These dems just don't want you to know that they are not willing to address our needs, we are unimportant to them. They need to help get the job done before vacations are earned.

    August 1, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. CM

    Grandstanding by the GOP won't win over anyone. Especially since their time is up.

    August 1, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. Bud

    A bunch of lazy Democrats AND Republicans that can't decide what to do at the last minute make a mess of things all year then at the last minute can't accomplish spit. Which Party is more childish? Both parties are now on vacation. Don't all those growing number of out-of-work Americans wish they had these cushy jobs where productivity means nothing, healthcare is never a problem, the money is yours to keep from fundraising if you get fired and there's a bunch of fundraising. I'm sick of the same old BS.

    August 1, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. consultantaz

    You know why they didn't want to go home – they had to make sure their bank accounts were augmented by "gifts" from the oil companies. You remember those folks who earleir this week turned in record level profits while only spending between 1% and 2 % on energy alternative development. So what if we destroy more and more open lands. It's all about profits and pockets !!

    August 1, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  15. Go McCain

    Glad to see the Republicans are willing to stay and work. The Dems just want to go take their month long vacation. But don' t forget, the Dems claim to be like the "average American"–after all, don't we all have the month of August off work?

    August 1, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. Cory

    I have never been more proud of the GOP. They stayed and tried to do the work that the American people want them to do and the Dems left town and childishly turned off the lights and barred journalists from reporting. All hail Queen Nancy, leader of the new Soviet era.

    August 1, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. Otto

    After all the filibustering and dragging their feet.....

    NOW they want to vote?

    NOW they want to get things done?

    Riiiiiiiiight......

    August 1, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. MO HALLETT

    McOlds labeling Obama" the one" and using it as a tool against him with accompaning religious type music is another of the rights typical hypocritical moves during elections years...
    What truly religious man would use religious symbolism to mock someoine that way .
    Those of us who really DO believe in GOD do not think he likes his heavens and the idead of "the one " used as a negative campaign slogan.
    Poorly done Mcsame

    August 1, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  19. waymond alvis

    They should vote on drilling off the coast before going on vacation!

    August 1, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. Donna from Colorado Springs

    How childish the republicans are.Next, they will be holding their breath till they turn blue and stomping their little feet. What has happened to congress? They are nothing but name calling,finger pointing brats. I give up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. Hank AZ

    Congressmen: You are elected, "...by the people, FOR THE PEOPLE," to represent intrests of THE PEOPLE –not special intrests or partisan party dogma. The only alternative as a citizen is to VOTE ENCUMBENTS OUT of office.

    August 1, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. Alex

    losers, off shore drilling...right

    August 1, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  23. Terry

    Can't blame them for wanting to enjoy their last days as public servants. I suspect most of them will be voted out.

    August 1, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. JC

    Doesn't matter what party they are, this Congress is without a doubt one of the worst Congresses I have ever seen. How long have they been talking about fixing rising energy costs. Instead of doing that they focus instead on apologizing for slavery in the 1800s?

    Unfortunately, lack of action will be pointed to the party that holds the Majority. I cannot believe how inept this Congress is. It is no surprise that Congress has an approval rating (below 20%) worse than Bush.

    August 1, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  25. Agnes

    Change, what change and by whom? I want change, truly I do, but how will that change come and by which path? Since Sen. Obama was instilled as the DNC’s puppet over the people’s choice, can anyone tell me what the change will be? (Say what you must but Tammany Hall is live and well in Chicago and in the DNC; it’s been lurking, waiting to raise it’s ugly head since FDR.) Is this an example of the type of administration we could expect from Sen. Obama? Strong arm tactics. What a glorious way to capture the nomination. It's not about the journey but about the end results.... RIGHT? Will this be our legacy to the future?

    August 1, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
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