Ryan: No plans to vote on Democratic gun bills after sit-in

Ryan: No plans to vote on Democratic gun bills after sit-in
© Greg Nash/The Hill

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump says he 'never directed' Cohen to break the law | GOP reels from Trump shutdown threat | Alleged spy Butina pleads guilty to conspiracy charge The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act kneecaps American factory workers The Hill's Morning Report — Where the shutdown fight stands MORE (R-Wis.) is not planning to hold a vote on the gun-control bills that spurred a sit-in by dozens of Democrats on the chamber floor on Wednesday.

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday evening, Ryan flatly rejected the Democrats’ nearly daylong protest as “nothing more than a publicity stunt.”

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“That’s not any way to bring a bill to a floor,” Ryan told "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" in his first remarks on the Democrats’ move. “They know we will not bring a bill that takes away a person’s constitutional rights without due process.”

At the same time, GOP leaders gathered for a rare evening conference meeting to plot their next steps on the floor. Republicans had hoped to begin voting Wednesday on the financial services and general government appropriations bill, but instead have had to postpone the votes.

A spokeswoman for Ryan said the chamber would be in recess as long as Democrats held up normal legislative business. 

"The House cannot operate without members following the rules of the institution, so the House has recessed subject to the call of the chair," Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong tweeted.

Democratic lawmakers staged a sit-in in the well of the House just before noon on Wednesday in an attempt to force votes on a bill that would strengthen firearms background checks.

The measure, which reflects one authored by Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Senate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation Dems demand Pompeo brief Congress on whether he discussed Assange with Ecuadorian official MORE (D-Calif.), would grant the attorney general authority to block a gun sale if there is "reasonable belief" that the firearm would be used for terrorism. The measure would further require a procedure so that the Justice Department would be notified if a person investigated for terrorism in the last five years tries to buy a gun.

Feinstein's bill was rejected by the Senate on Monday — a vote that Ryan specifically pointed to when explaining his decision not to hold a vote in the House.

Ryan also rejected an argument from Democrats that the National Rifle Association is the chief reason for the GOP resisting Feinstein’s bill.

“We’re not going to take away your rights without due process. That is what the Constitution requires and we’re going to stick with the Constitution,” he said.