The sit-in staged today by Democrats on the Floor of the US House of Representatives is intensifying as Republicans, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, have attempted to come back into the chamber and “conduct business,” all the while ignoring the continued and growing protest.
— Brook Bufa (@jupiter896) June 23, 2016
The Republicans were quickly shot down as the Democrats continued to chant “No Bill, No Break!” while they held up signs with the names of victims of gun violence in America written on them. The number, tallied from January 1, 2016 to Wednesday evening, is 6,381.
The Republicans re-entered the chamber late this evening, after having abandoned it this afternoon when the dramatic protest began, a protest which has enjoyed the likes of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in its midst as the day has gone on.
Their attempt to ignore the demands for gun safety legislation didn’t go well. As reported by USA Today:
‘Led by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who had called the dramatic protest simply a “publicity stunt,” Republicans took back control of the floor at 10 p.m. amid Democrat chants, nearly 11 hours after the sit-in began. Democrats shouted “Shame! Shame!” as House business proceeded and members cast votes on measures unrelated to guns.’
The votes didn’t get anywhere and amounted to a smokescreen.
A short while ago, it was said, “Whatever [Ryan’s] saying can’t be heard, however, as Democrats and the House gallery chant loudly over him.”
One of the items up for vote was repugnant, to say the least. The House Republicans were voting — or, rather, attempting to vote — to allow Wall Street bankers to give investment advice based off what was in the best financial interest of the bankers rather than the patrons.
The ones most often victimized by such a practice are seniors. And while Democrats were demanding an end to the circumstances which have led to mass shooting after mass shooting, Republicans were voting to allow banks to rip people off.
The optics of this are amazing. The GOP is literally doing the will of the big banks while Dems are begging for action on guns.
— Jason Karsh (@jkarsh) June 23, 2016
And they weren’t just chanting. At one point, those on the floor broke out into the hymn “We Shall Overcome.” Shortly after the Republicans re-entered the chamber and Ryan took the “big chair,” a reporter tweeted what you can see below:
They are singing We Shall Overcome on the House Floor
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) June 23, 2016
The hymn was a simple, powerful statement, along with the opening remarks from one of the leaders of the protest, Rep. John Lewis:
‘Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary, sometimes you have to make a way out of no way. There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more.’
Democrats are determined, and have even bypassed the shutoff of the official cameras by using the live stream app Periscope to show the public what is going on.
Speaker Ryan still has the opportunity to decide whether to use force to remove the sit-in participants. He has indicated that he might do just that.
NBC titled one of their most recent pieces on the sit-in, “‘Spirit of History’: House Democrats Hold Sit-In on Gun Control.”
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 23, 2016