Republican congressmen refuse to go on vacation
* Elana Schor in Washington
* Friday August 1 2008
* Article history
Decorum, formality and austerity are the normal watchwords on the floor of the US House of Representatives. That changed today, when Democrats moved to adjourn – and Republicans refused to go home.
Republicans launched their raucous protest, which one congressman likened to "question hour in the British parliament" on the social networking site Twitter, over offshore oil drilling.
Beleaguered by the indictment of their senior senator, Ted Stevens, and the uneven campaign of their presidential nominee, Republicans have turned to offshore drilling as their singular political bright spot this summer.
So when House Democratic leaders adjourned today without voting on whether to end the 26-year ban on drilling along the US coastline, Republicans pounced. In a legislature where business is conducted according to strict rules, they simply refused to accept the result.
"Although this Democrat majority just adjourned for the Democrat 5-week vacation, House Republicans are continuing to fight on the house floor," the office of Roy Blunt, No 2 Republican in the House, said in a statement to Politico.com.
Republicans were reported to be inviting unaffiliated visitors onto the House floor to sit in congressmen's chairs, which is strictly prohibited during normal business. The group of lucky guests included "several dozen Cub Scouts", according to Politico.com.
"Although the lights, mics and [TV] camera's [sic] have been turned off, House Republicans are on the floor speaking to the taxpayers in the gallery who, not surprisingly, agree with Republican energy proposals," Blunt's office wrote.
The lights and microphones were turned off at one point during the Republicans' raucous protest but later were reactivated.
Peter Hoekstra, the senior Republican on the House intelligence committee, used Twitter to update the media on his party's curious rebellion.
"This is unprecedented … crowd keeps growing here on the floor," Hoekstra wrote on his website.
Less than an hour later, he added: "Wow. This is unreal. There's excitement on the floor. A real energy … I thought I'd experienced everything. This is new."
Politico.com also provided updates on the bizarre goings-on, which included one Republican congressman displaying a photo of a Volkswagen Beetle car with sails attached. "I am a Democrat and here is my energy plan," he declared to cheering colleagues.
The TV cameras that capture every minute of official congressional sessions were turned off when the Democrats adjourned, forcing Republicans to rely on word of mouth to promote their protest.
"All Republicans who are in town are encouraged to come to the House floor," Blunt's office wrote.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Republicans refuse to go home
If Republicans can make offshore drilling a positive issue for them, this country is in very sad shape. From guardian.co.uk.