Democrats stage protest during brief House session

House Democrats staged a protest at during a brief pro forma session on Tuesday to show they’re not going away quietly after last week’s sit-in to call for votes on gun legislation.

A handful of Democrats were on hand for the roughly three-minute session as the House remains in recess this week for the Independence Day holiday.

Following the opening prayer and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, six Democrats renewed their push for a vote on legislation to prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns, a measure they have deemed “No Fly, No Buy.”


“No Fly, No Buy deserves a vote!” they shouted over Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), who was presiding over the chamber.

GOP leaders remain unmoved by Democrats' sit-in last week to push for votes on gun control measures after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando this month. 

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanEmbattled Juul seeks allies in Washington Ex-Parkland students criticize Kellyanne Conway Latina leaders: 'It's a women's world more than anything' MORE (R-Wis.) and his leadership team opted to forgo most of the original plans for last week, instead passing a funding package to combat the Zika virus during the sit-in before adjourning the House a day early for the weeklong recess.

Even though most House members are back in their districts this week, the House is still constitutionally required to meet every three days in pro forma sessions where no legislative business is conducted.

After their brief protest on Tuesday, the lawmakers staged a press conference steps from the House floor to call on Ryan to schedule a vote on the "No Fly, No Buy" legislation. Democrats didn't rule out holding another sit-in when the House returns

"If Speaker Ryan believed for a moment that we were going to spend 26 hours on the floor of the House and then go quietly into the night, today is a sign, again, that’s not going to happen," Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) told reporters.

The other Democrats who appeared on the floor were Reps. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyHistory in the House: Congress weathers unprecedented week Democrat grills DHS chief over viral image of drowned migrant and child Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp MORE (Va.), Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenDanish prime minister: Trump's idea to buy Greenland 'absurd'  Juan Williams: Democrats finally hit Trump where it hurts We need a climate plan for agriculture MORE (Texas), Eliot Engel (N.Y.), Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.) and Doris Matsui (Calif.). 

House Democrats are planning a variety of public events in their districts this week to continue their messaging push, including press conferences and individual sit-ins with gun violence prevention groups for a "National Day of Action" on Wednesday.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Maine) has proposed bipartisan compromise legislation to prevent terror suspects from buying guns. It won majority support in a Senate vote last week, but fell short of the 60 votes to advance it.

Collins's measure would allow the attorney general to prevent gun sales to anyone on the government's no-fly list or another list that designates people for additional screening at airports.

House Democratic leaders haven't yet indicated precisely what they will do to continue the momentum from their sit-in when the House returns next week. Members of the House minority have limited options to force action on legislation in an institution designed to cater to the majority party.

"Our rights are severely limited. And if Speaker Ryan insists on denying the American people a vote on 'No Fly, No Buy,' then we will reach into that toolbox and we will continue to avail ourselves of the tools," Israel said. "We're going to keep doing this, everything we can, just to get a vote."

As he delivered the opening prayer at the start of Tuesday's session, the House chaplain seemed to try to appeal to lawmakers to find a resolution to the standoff.

“During this week, may the heat of political positions cool and the light of governing wisdom break forth,” Rev. Pat Conroy implored during the opening prayer.

But, it would seem, Conroy’s plea didn’t break through.