House Democrats seized the House Floor as Speaker Paul D. Ryan addressed the American Enterprise Institute about his plans to amend President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform in 2017.
As the Speaker discussed his plans for the next session of Congress to the private gathering, he ordered the cameras on the House floor turned off.
Six dozen of the Democratic legislators gathered in the well of the chamber in front of the rostrum and announced they would not leave until Ryan promised to bring bills restricting gun rights to the House floor.
The college-style sit-in was organized with the approval of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) and her leadership team.
Howard Morton, the communications director for C-SPAN, the channel which carries events on the House floor lost the audio-video feed from the House Recording Studio at 11:25 a.m., as House business was gaveled closed to resume at 12 noon.
At 12 noon, the presiding officer recognized the House Chaplain Father Patrick Conroy, S.J., for an opening prayer and then House business was again gaveled closed, he said.
“Right now, we are showing the feed from Periscope accounts provided by Democrats on the House floor,” he said. Periscope is a social media platform, owned by Twitter, that streams video.
The move in the House echoes action in the Senate, where Republican leaders have broken with the National Rifle Association and have agreed to bring legislation authored by Sen. Susan Collins (R.-Maine) up for a vote before recess for Independence Day celebrations. The Collins bill would allow the federal government to block gun sales to Americans, whose names are entered into the No-Fly List or the Select List of persons highlighted for enhanced surveillance.
There is no public record of the government’s Terror Screening Database, nor is there a standard for putting someone in the database or removing someone from the database–neither is there any notice given to an individual that they are in the database.
When Capitol Hill conservatives heard Tuesday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) agreed to bring the Collins bill to the floor, they assumed they could rely on the House Republican Leadership to hold the line. Now, they are worried because Ryan often succumbs to Democratic tactics and he is on the record telling conservative activists that fighting Obama over gun rights was a distraction.