House Democrats demand gun control vote during recess

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Washington, DC, June 30, 2016 | comments
Rep. Doris Matsui and some of her fellow Democrats drowned out the acting speaker Tuesday afternoon during a brief, routine House meeting as they demanded a vote on gun legislation. The House has recessed until July 5, but meets for short "pro forma" sessions every few days in an effort to block the president from making recess appointments. Typically no legislative business or debate occurs during such sessions, and except for a member chosen as acting speaker, they are rarely attended by members of Congress. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) told reporters afterward that the Democrats wanted to remind the public that the House went on a break without holding a vote on gun control or safety. Democrats want increased background checks and to prohibit people on the FBI's watch list from purchasing guns. Before House members left, Democrats seized the floor for a 25-hour sit-in, telling personal stories of constituents who have died, shouting down the speaker whenever he moved for a vote and occasionally breaking into song.
"We were standing up for the American people against the intransigence of the Republican majority," Matsui said Tuesday. "Quite frankly, we need to do something. We had to do something."
Dozens of House Democrats are holding gun-violence-related events back home Wednesday to keep attention on the issue as news of the June 12 killing of 49 people in an Orlando gay nightclub fades from the headlines. California Democrats are holding similar events in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities around the state this week . House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) told a Wisconsin radio station this week that he won't tolerate another sit-in when the House returns. “We are not going to handle it the same way,” Ryan said Sunday on WISN’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha.” "We will not take this. We will not tolerate this." Matsui said if Republican leaders will work with Democrats there doesn't have to be another sit-in. Israel wouldn't commit to another sit-in when the House returns after July 4, saying the minority party has other tools in its toolbox. "If Speaker Ryan insists on denying the American people a vote on 'no-fly, no-buy' then we'll reach into that toolbox and continue to avail ourselves of the tools," he said. "Some will be blunt, some will be sharp. Some will be blunt and sharp. Today we are here."
Sarah Wire, Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2016
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