Chaos broke out on the floor of the U.S. House Wednesday night as Democrats refused to yield to Republican attempts to hold votes and one Republican got into a screaming match with the Democrats.
"Radical Islam killed those people!" Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert yelled at California Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman and Democrats continued their demand for a vote that would allow anyone on the federal no-fly list from buying a gun.
House Speaker Paul Ryan briefly regained control of the chamber Wednesday night after Democrats staged a sit-in that had already lasted nearly 11 hours.
Democrats had refused to allow House business to continue until Ryan allowed a vote on gun control, with members of the party taking turns speaking about gun violence. At 10 p.m., however, Ryan and Republican leaders were able to take back the floor and hold a procedural vote on a matter not related to gun control, reports CNN.
Democrats tried to maintain their protest, shouting "no bill, no break" and "shame, shame, shame."
They sang "We Shall Overcome" and held up signs with the names of the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting printed on them. That appeared to be what sparked Gohmert's shouts of counter-protest.
CNN reported that sleeping bags were being brought in as at least some Democrats planned to stay the night and continue the protest Thursday morning.
Earlier in the day, Ryan called the sit-in
a "publicity stunt. "This is not a way to try to bring up legislation."
The spontaneous protest began shortly before noon Wednesday. Dozens of lawmakers were joined by a parade of Senate Democrats to demand action to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists in the aftermath of the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
"It will last as long as it needs," Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, told reporters Wednesday.
Republican leaders kept the C-SPAN cameras off, but Democratic lawmakers broadcast their protest over streaming services. The sit-in itself had strong echoes of the 1960s civil-rights movement and was led by one of that period’s most visible figures, Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who held the Senate floor for nearly 15 hours last week in an effort to demand votes in that chamber on gun curbs, was among the many Democrats who joined the House sit-in.
"We will not alter the way Congress responds to the mass slaughter of our constituents without ripping up the usual script and demanding change," Murphy said in a statement.
Information from Bloomberg was used in this report.
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