House Democrats are sitting down on the job – for what they see as a worthy cause.
Since around noon on Wednesday, party members filled the floor, and have vowed to stay there all night if necessary, despite Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s attempt to dismantle them, Politico reports.
Around 10 p.m. – 10 hours into the protest – Ryan reportedly tried to regain control over the chamber, but Democrats started chanting “No bill, no break!” in response.
Their chant referenced next month’s break, which Democrats want to delay until members of both parties vote on gun control.
Rep. John Lewis, of Georgia’s fifth Congressional district, led the sit-in – which Ryan reportedly called a “publicity stunt” – on the chamber floor with dozens of his fellow party members during a recess on Wednesday to demand that House Republicans allow a vote on legislation to address gun violence.
“My colleagues & I have had enough,” Lewis tweeted during the sit-in, which is still underway. “We are sitting-in on the House Floor until we get a vote to address gun violence.”
Other sitters included Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky and Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut, according to CBS News. Participants, estimated between 30 and 40 total, chanted “No bill, no break,” as they took turns at the microphone.
“We have lost hundreds and thousands of people to gun violence,” Lewis said, addressing Ryan. “Children, babies, students and teachers. Mothers and fathers. Sisters and brothers. Daughters and sons. Friends and neighbors. And what has this body done? Mr. Speaker, nothing. Not one thing.”
Presumptive party nominee Hillary Clinton championed the congressmen and women’s actions, tweeting, “This is what real leadership looks like.”
Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty told CNN that Democrats planned to stay “as long as we need to – all day, all night.”
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One amendment would have increased funding for and sought to improve the background check system, while another would have expanded these checks to all private gun sales. Two dueling measures regarding firearm sales to suspected terrorists were also blocked.
The legislation shutout happened despite Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut’s nearly 15-hour filibuster that led to the votes.