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article imageRepublicans Stay On House Floor To Discuss Gas Prices While Democrats Go On Vacation

By Susan Duclos     Aug 4, 2008 in Politics
On Friday Republicans stayed on the floor of the House of Representatives demanding debate on gas prices and discussing Nancy Pelosi's refusal to allow a vote on drilling. Monday, Republicans are back on the floor while Democrats are on a 5 week vacation.
C-Span cameras are off, but in the day and age of the Internet, videos were taken and uploaded to YouTube, like the one above and Friday's revolt by some Republicans refusing to join the Democrats on their 5 week vacation without debate on drilling.
Large majorities of the American public, in a variety of different polls, have shown that due to the rising cost of gas, they want Congress to lift their ban, as the president lifted the presidential ban, on offshore drilling.
The latest of those polls being a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, which showed that 69 percent of the American public favors offshore drilling and 30 percent oppose it.
As Congress began their 5 week vacation with Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the house, refusing to allow any votes on drilling to come to the floor, the Republicans staged a revolt and stayed on House floor in an attempt to force Pelosi to come back into session and deal with the topic, hoping for an up and down vote, to which many Democrats have already indicated they would vote for.
Friday's event was not fully planned, as evidenced by Republican members already having left for vacation, then heard what others were doing and turned around and went back to join their colleagues.
One such member was Kevin Brady (R-Texas), who was on a plane headed home, went back to the Capitol, walking on to the floor dragging his luggage. He got a standing ovation.
The taking to the floor of the House after the Democrats left came after the Republicans delivered a letter to Pelosi, which stated, "With American families and small businesses facing record high gasoline prices, Congress has adjourned to leave Washington for a five-week break. The message this sends to the American people is bad enough; its ramifications, however, are far worse. You have the power to call Congress back into session at any moment to deal with issues of urgent national importance…”
“Congress should not take the next five weeks off while the American people suffer at the pump. We respectfully request that you schedule a vote on the comprehensive American Energy Act during an emergency legislative session this month....”
Yesterday, the House Republicans announced they would return to the floor of the House today to continue to show the American people that not all of Congress was willing to go on vacation without dealing with the issue.
In an urgent memo sent to GOP Members and staff Saturday (“A Call to Action on American Energy”), Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) hailed Friday’s action, which was led by Reps. Mike Pence (R-IN), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Tom Price (R-GA), and others, and encouraged House Republicans to return to the Capitol beginning Monday morning to help keep the historic effort going.
“It’s not a request we make lightly. But the American people are suffering,” Boehner and Blunt said in the memo. “The consequences of continued congressional inaction on gas prices are unacceptable. We’ve called on the Speaker to call Congress back into an emergency session this month and schedule a vote on the American Energy Act. We must continue to make a stand until the Speaker complies.”
Since Friday's revolt, it has been announced that Barack Obama, who criticized John McCain for reversing his opposition to drilling when gas prices started to rise, has also adjusted his stance on drilling and would be willing to support it in conjunction with other solutions in an energy plan.
Republicans state that this is what Pelosi can expect throughout the the August recess, stating, "House Republicans continuing to hold the Democratic Majority accountable for their refusal to listen to the American people struggling with high gas prices.”
[Update] The Republicans are having a news conference right now and have named this the "Pelosi Shutdown".
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