Speaking to reporters outside the U.S. Capitol, Lewis said House Democrats would continue their efforts on July 5 when the House is back in session.
“We’re going to continue on July 5, we’re going to continue to push, to pull, to stand up and, if necessary, to sit-down,” Lewis said to applause.
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) June 23, 2016
Wearing rainbow-colored pins in remembrance of the LGBT victims of the Orlando shooting, Democrats staged a sit-in on the House floor starting late Wednesday morning to call for a vote on gun safety legislation expanding background checks and prohibiting terrorist suspects on the “no fly” from purchasing a firearm. According to CBS News, the action ended at 1:04 pm.
At his weekly news conference on Thursday, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) slammed Democrats for their sit-in, accusing Democrats of exploiting the Orlando shooting as a means to raise funds as he held up emails from their offices seeking contributions.
“If this is not a political stunt, then why are they trying to raise money off of this, off of a tragedy?” Ryan said. “What they’re calling for failed in a committee of the House. The reason I call this a stunt is because they know this isn’t going anywhere. It already failed in the Senate. They may not like this, but this bill couldn’t even get 50 votes in the United States Senate, let alone 60.”
Under questioning from NBC News, Ryan said he’s “very worried” about the precedent House Democrats are setting with their sit-in.
“I have an obligation as the speaker of the House to protect this institution,” Ryan said. “We are the ballast of the world of free people. And so, when we see our democracy descend in this way, it is not a good sign.”