In a stunning development, Republicans are currently staging a revolt against House Democrats who adjourned a few hours ago to head on a five week vacation instead of allowing a vote which would permit additional offshore oil drilling.
UPDATE at end of post.
As Politico reported moments ago:
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi's refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m. and are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.
The protest came moments after the GOP presented Pelosi the following letter:
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.
According to Politico:
At one point, the lights went off in the House and the microphones were turned off in the chamber, meaning Republicans were talking in the dark. But as Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz..) was speaking, the lights went back on, and the microphones have been turned on as well.
But C-SPAN, which has no control over the cameras in the chamber, has stopped broadcasting the House floor, meaning no one is witnessing this except the assembled Republicans, their aides, and one Democrat, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has now left.
Only about a half-dozen Republicans were on the floor when this began, but the crowd has grown to about 20 now, according to Patrick O'Connor.
"This is the people's House," Rep, Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said. "This is not Pelosi's politiburo."
With energy prices so much on the minds of the American people, it will be fascinating to see how much coverage this incident gets in the next 24 hours.
*****Update: The revolt has caught the attention of NBC's Mike Viqueira...
The situation is taking on a life of its own now, as more and more GOP members have put off their travel plans for a few hours to make speeches to staff. Tourists who might usually come into the balconies for a five-minute look at an empty chamber are being treated to some real stemwinders from very unlikely sources.
Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL), heretofore not known for a fiery oratorical style, just delivered an incendiary address to the assembled GOP staffers sitting in seats normally reserved for members. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), a member I don't ever remember hearing say anything at all, followed Manzullo with a patriotic appeal for justice -- which in this case, as he sees it, is defined by a House vote on offshore drilling.
So they're fired up down there. For Capitol Hill, it's quite a spectacle. The next big moment comes at 4:30 pm ET, when the galleries and the entire building are shut down to tourists. Will the members keep their uprising alive? A spokesperson for Speaker Pelosi says they can talk to staffers on the floor all they want. But the tourists have to go at 4:30 pm ET.
His later update:
In response, Nancy Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly offers the following quote: "The New Direction Congress led by Democrats has offered real solutions to bring down energy costs, promote renewable fuels and energy efficiency, and promote oil production right here in America. But a majority of Congressional Republicans have voted NO each time. They should go home to their districts and explain their record of obstructing common-sense proposals to address the pain at the pump being felt by American consumers and businesses."
She's quite a leader, isn't she?