Keep scrolling for updates…Waiting for 4:30pm…Tourists are fired up in the gallery…Rep. Hoekstra reports them chanting “Vote! Vote! Vote!”…Culberson and other GOP House revolutionaries livestreaming on Qik…Culberson press conference: “All we did is ask for a vote”…Pence: “I’ve never been prouder of the Republican leadership. I’ve never been prouder of the rank-and-file”…WSJ: “Joined by a bevy of staff and summer interns, the Republican lawmakers donned mostly straight faces for an afternoon of speechifying without microphones, C-SPAN or their Democratic counterparts. “How many of you remember the Boston Tea Party?” Republican Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona asked the raucous crowd. “This is the Boston Tea Party!”…4:44pm Eastern. Pence: “We will be here through the break.”
Via Rep. Pete Hoekstra’s Twitter:
Shame! Shame! Capital Hill police working under strict orders to shut Capital down at 430 pm today. Speaker Pelosi wants this shut down now 16 minutes ago from TwitterBerry
Maybe she thinks a censorious crackdown will boost her sagging Amazon.com ratings?
Like she says: Know your power.
Until C-SPAN turns the cameras back on, we’ll have to rely on GOP staff to get out video of their bosses’ speeches. (Flip has an e-mail link to contact C-SPAN. Go here.)
Here’s the floor speech of GOP Rep. David Davis of Tennessee (video here):
“We need an American energy plan and we need it now. The American people are hurting, young families are hurting, senior adults are hurting, small businesses are hurting, Vern from Jefferson County, Tennessee is hurting.
“Vern is an Iraq War veteran. Vern has to drive from Jefferson County all the way into Knoxville. It is costing him over ninety dollars a week to drive to work. He makes eight dollars an hour and is trying to become an electrical apprentice. Vern told me he may have to go on welfare. Vern has a young family and is an Iraq War veteran. Vern wants to do what’s right by his family; he’s already done what’s right by America.
“This Congress needs to do what’s right for Vern and other young families in America, senior adults in America, small businesses in America.
“We don’t need anymore excuses; we need to vote on meaningful energy legislation. We need to do it now. We don’t need to go home, we need to take votes. I am willing to stay here today and vote.
“We voted this week. We had time to vote to go home, and we ought to have time to vote to bring down gas prices at the pump.
“The American people demand it. They demand it now.”
The Washington Post calls the GOP House revolt “bizarre.”
No. “Bizarre” is Democrats whining about high gas prices and then taking a vacation and doing nothing, nothing, nothing to solve the energy crisis about which they whine.
Guess a 14 percent approval rating isn’t low enough for them.
Snark from WaPo blogger:
Bizarre Scene on the House Floor
UPDATE 4:15 PM: There seems like a decent chance that this spectacle will end around 4:30 p.m. That’s when the galleries are officially supposed to close and when the Capitol typically closes to tour groups. In theory, Republicans could keep up the fight even after the hundreds of visitors have filtered out of the chamber, but members usually like to have some kind of audience. A progressively smaller group of reporters is hanging around until the bitter end, as many journalists have already left the Capitol for a traditional bout of last-day-of-session drinking. Capitol Briefing, of course, is very pleased not to be sitting on a bar patio somewhere enjoying the sunshine and a beer. He’d much rather be here listening to the 78th consecutive speech about gasoline prices.
UPDATE 2:40 PM: Capitol Briefing will admit to never having seen anything remotely like this in 10 years of covering Congress. As “The Phantom Session” continues, the chamber is packed with tourists, and the line to get in the galleries stretches down the stairs inside the Capitol. What appears to be an entire troop of Boy Scouts is sitting in the chamber. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) apparently went to the airport to go home but then turned around and came back. He walked into the House a few moments ago wheeling his suitcases behind him, prompting a huge round of applause and high-fives from his colleagues.
4:22pm Eastern. John Culberson’s Twitter is “over capacity!”
Remember Nov. 7, 2006:
“The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history,” Pelosi
4:45pm Eastern. Police have shut the Capitol building off to tourists. GOP revolt leaders are holding a press conference.
5:20pm Eastern. Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott:
“Why aren’t all House GOPers on the floor? Here they have a golden media moment to frame the energy issue and capture the public’s attention in an unexpected way. We should be carrying kerosene lamps to them for lighting, getting video cameras to them and they should be demanding that Democrats come back.”