Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Updated: House Democrats continue gun sit-in after Republicans adjourn

Updated, 8:40 a.m.: 

A few Democrats are continuing to hold the House floor even after Republican leaders adjourned the chamber at roughly 3:15 a.m. for a week-long recess in a bid to cut-short their sit-in over gun control.

GOP leaders did not give in to the Democrats' demands to debate and vote on a pair of bills that would expand background checks and bar people on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms. The GOP instead rushed to adjourn roughly 36 hours earlier than planned over chants of "shame" from Democrats.

Democrats' sit-in has now stretched on for roughly 21 hours.

Here's a recent AP dispatch:

By 7:30 a.m. Thursday — 20 hours after the protest commenced — around a dozen Democrats remained, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, giving speeches that mixed victory declarations with vows to never back down in their drive to curb firearm violence.

"While the Americans don't always expect us to win, they do expect us to fight," said Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, as dawn broke and the few remaining lawmakers sat in a paper-cluttered chamber beneath empty visitor galleries. "We demonstrated to the American why we can't get votes on common sense safety measures."

When Republicans streamed to the exits hours earlier, Democrats remained on the House floor, shouting "No bill no break!" and waving papers with the names of gun victims written in black. Rep. Maxine Waters of California said she was ready to stay "until Hell freezes over."

Original post, 1:40 a.m.:

Republican leaders early on Thursday morning sought to reassert control over proceedings on the House floor after an astounding and unpredictable 14 hours in which Democrats staged a sit-in over gun control legislation.

GOP leaders announced a series of votes stretching late into the night on legislation unrelated to firearms, part of an attempt to shift the conversation away from the Democrats' protests. Among the items on tap: a final vote on a long-awaited spending bill for fighting the Zika virus.

As the C-SPAN cameras flickered back on -- they were cut off during the Democrats' sit-in since the House was in recess -- the scene quickly turned ugly.

Democrats repeatedly drowned out Speaker Paul Ryan with chants of "no bill, no break," a reference to their demand that the House not leave for its weeklong July Fourth recess without debating and voting on background check and terror list legislation.

They also waved signs bearing the names and pictures of gun violence victims and at one point traded barbs with Texas Republican Louie Gohmert:

Democrats appeared ready to settle in for the night on the House chamber's blue carpet. The Associated Press reported that lawmakers brought in sleeping bags, pillows and food -- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren even delivered Dunkin' Donuts to the group earlier in the evening. Democratic lawmakers continued to stream a live feed of their floor speeches to Periscope well past 1:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, here's a recent look at the scene outside the Capitol:

The sit-in is being led by Atlanta Democrat and civil rights icon John Lewis, who kicked off the protest with a searing five-minute speech on the House floor calling for action. 

Check out our earlier coverage of Wednesday's floor action here. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Ryan called Democrats' sit-in a "publicity stunt":

"They're trying to get you to ask me those questions for publicity's sake," Ryan said on CNN. "This isn't trying to come up with a solution to a problem, this is trying to get attention."

But Democrats also received words of encouragement on social media from the likes of President Barack Obama and Late Show host Stephen Colbert:

The Washington Post reported that the sit-in is only the third of its kind since the 1970s.

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.