Democrats say the fight will continue
House Speaker Paul Ryan accused them of sowing "chaos"
Democrats decided to end their day-long sit-in protest on the House floor over gun control Thursday.
Rep. John Lewis, who launched the sit-in Wednesday morning that eventually drew 170 lawmakers, lit up social media, and infuriated House Republicans – but spurred no legislative action – said the fight was not over.
“We must come back here on July 5th [when Congress returns to session] more determined than ever before,” Lewis said.
“We are going to win,” he told supporters on the Capitol steps after the sit-in was halted. “The fight is not over. This is just one step of when we come back here on July the 5th we’re going to continue to push, to pull, to stand up, and if necessary, to sit down. So don’t give up, don’t give in. Keep the faith, and keep your eyes on the prize.”
He also tweeted, “We got in trouble. We got in the way. Good trouble. Necessary Trouble. By sitting-in, we were really standing up.”
Lawmakers said that during the July 4th break, they would take the issue to their districts.
“We are going back to our congressional districts – we are going to engage our constituents on this subject, and we will not allow this body feel as comfortable as in the past,” Rep. Jim Clyburn said. “On July 5, we will return, and at that time we will be operating on a new sense of a purpose.”
Republicans had earlier tried to shut down the sit-in, but the Democrats’ protest over the lack of action on gun control lasted for more than 24 hours. House Democrats were looking for votes to expand background checks and ban gun sales to those on the no-fly watch list.
In the middle of the night, the House GOP had sought to end the extraordinary day of drama by swiftly adjourning for a recess that will last through July 5.
The Republican move was an effort to terminate a protest that began Wednesday morning in reaction to the massacre in Orlando when Democrats took over the House floor and tried to force votes on gun control. But throughout the morning Thursday, 10-20 Democrats, including House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi for much of the time, remained on the floor.
At one point, a police officer told the Democrats that they would be conducting a daily security sweep. “I’d ask that you clear the floor while that happens,” the officer said.
Pelosi responded: “That’s not going to happen” and the security check then took place involving five agents and a dog as the House Democratic leader continued speaking, undeterred.