Rep. Cooper Facetimes NC5 From House Sit-In

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 23:59:21-04

It was pandemonium in Congress Wednesday as Democratic lawmakers shouted over Speaker Paul Ryan on the House floor.

"No bill, no break," they yelled over and over again.

The day started out with a few general speeches but morphed into a full-fledge protest led by Rep. John Lewis (D, Georgia), a congressman known for his role in civil rights-era sit ins in Nashville.

"We have lost hundreds and thousands of people to gun violence," Lewis said, while the House was still in session, "sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary, sometimes you have to make a way out of no way. We have been too quiet, too long."

Democrats demanded to vote on bills for requiring background checks and denying suspected terrorists guns. And staged the sit-in until the Republican leadership agreed to bring the matters to the Floor.

"We will occupy this floor we will no longer be denied a right to vote!" they said. 

Republicans in charge called a recess and turned off the floor cameras. Democratic lawmakers resorted to social media pictures and live streaming the day-long event.

"This is a very rare moment in the House of Representatives," said Rep. Jim Cooper (D, Nashville) via Facetime, "I'll show you what's going on behind me normally phones are not allowed on the house floor but this is an exception."

Cooper said he just wants to do his job.

"This is about the laziest congress in history and we should do our job which is to vote," he said, "and whether you vote for or against these measures you should go on record and vote."

Hours into it, Speaker Paul Ryan called the sit-in a publicity stunt on CNN.

"This isn't about trying to come up with solutions to a problem, this is them trying to get attention," Ryan said.

But Democrats vowed to take this through the July 4th break.

"For the remainder of the year we're only supposed to be here I think it's 20 days between now and Thanksgiving," Cooper said, "that's ridiculous."

Republican Congressmen from Middle Tennessee also weighed in on the sit-in via social media.