WASHINGTON — The last House vote before a vacation usually sparks a stampede toward the doors and waiting planes. Not so on Friday, when Republicans occupied the House floor for a rare, and at times bizarre, protest against Democratic energy policies.
The microphones and the C-Span cameras were turned off and the lights were dimmed after the morning vote to adjourn for the August recess. That didn't deter Republicans, who one after another rose to demand that Congress stay in session until it does something about high gas prices.
Unlike during a normal session, in which the rules of decorum are strictly enforced, GOP lawmakers and their aides who filled the chamber clapped, chanted, gave standing ovations and booed the Democrats.
"Madame Speaker, where art thou?" shouted Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, in a glancing rhetorical shot at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "Where, oh where has Congress gone?"
It was a rare treat for tourists. Republicans invited many, in their shorts and sandals, into the chamber, usually strictly off-limits, to better hear the speeches.
Republicans were angry that Democrats blocked them from a vote on allowing more offshore oil drilling.