The House Democrats' sit-in to demand a vote on gun control stretched into its 21st hour Thursday morning, with several lawmakers still physically sitting on the floor, despite protests from their Republican rivals, NPR reported. Spearheaded by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the "no bill, no break" demonstration was aimed at forcing the House to discuss gun legislation in wake of the shooting in Orlando, Florida, that left about 50 people dead earlier this month.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan turned off the cameras Wednesday afternoon when the protest began, and he returned to the chamber at 10 p.m. EDT to address other business. He told CNN the sit-in was a publicity stunt and suggested the legislation the Democrats want would hurt Americans' right to bear arms. The liberal activists were pushing to see votes on two bills, one of which would prevent people who are on the no-fly list from buying guns.
"The Senate has already defeated the measure they’re calling for," Ryan's spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, said in a statement. "The House is focused on eliminating terrorists, not constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. And no stunts on the floor will change that."
After the House Republicans took a vote on a bill to fund efforts to fight the Zika virus, Ryan adjourned the session until July 5. But the Democrats weren't giving up. Here's what they've been saying over the past 21 hours of the sit-in:
"I am prepared to stay here until hell freezes over." — Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.
"Write this date down — June 22. It’s the beginning of a movement." — Rep, G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.
"Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!" — various Democrats
"Mr. Speaker, where the hell are you? ... Your chair is empty. I don’t believe your heart is empty." — Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.
"Just because they cut and run in the dark of night, just because they have left doesn't mean we are taking no for an answer." — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
"GOP just recessed House without vote to stop suspected terrorists from getting deadly weapons or universal background checks." — Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich.
"The Republicans have left in the dead of night with business unfinished." — House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer
"On the House floor singing 'We shall overcome someday...'" — Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y.
"I never will forget the primal scream of my son’s mother. Shot down in cold blood on the streets of Chicago. It’s time to end this primal scream in our nation, and it’s time to end it right now." — Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., whose son Huey was fatally shot in 1999.
"I did this in the '60s — I never expected to be doing it in my '60s," said Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass.
"Five bullets ripped through my body. I can't begin to tell you what that's like." — Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who was shot in 1978
"I've had it with the gun-grabbing Democrats and their sit-in, anti-Second Amendment jihad. I'm going to go home and buy a new gun." — Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
"I just brought Dunkin’ Donuts!" — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.