Republicans are extending their energy vote revolt to a second week this morning in the House of Representatives. Buttressed on Friday by burgeoning crowds attending the protest and glowing praise coming into their offices from voters across the country who are demanding relief from staggering gasoline prices, Republican leaders reiterated their demand that Speaker Nancy Pelosi come off of her book tour to re-convene Congress and bring to a vote the comprehensive “drill and” bill that would authorize as a supply solution drilling into American energy resources.
As week one of the protest came to a close on Friday, there was a settling-in of sorts by short-handed staffers juggling extra duties while some of their colleagues were off on long vacations. The newness of the extraordinary events that so abruptly engulfed congressmen and staff alike had waned just a bit, and folks appeared to have gotten a handle on merging home district and D.C. schedules and systemizing the chaos that engulfs any attempt to put the brakes on something as unrelenting as a federal government timetable.
Prominently visible again on Friday were Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA). Pence and Price, along with a few of their colleagues, began this protest over a week ago when Pelosi hastily adjourned Congress for a five-week vacation without a vote on a legislation aimed at increasing the oil supply by opening offshore drilling. Pence returned to the Capitol on Friday from a day and a half trip home to his district in Indiana. His packed schedule reflected the gravity of the issue to this man on a mission.
At a breakfast for bloggers Friday morning sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform and the American Spectator, Pence was asked if he was frustrated by the lack of major media coverage. Pence replied, “I don’t know how people define ‘major media coverage.’ Whether the network evening news that comes on before Wheel of Fortune is covering what we’re doing, the American people know what’s happening and the American people are with us. I saw that with my own eyes when I was home in Indiana, people stopping me on the street, stopping me at the state fair, coming up to me at gas stations saying keep doing what you’re doing. It’s working.”
At the morning press conference, Pence reached out to his Democrat colleagues who favor a vote that includes drilling, saying, “Join us. Come to the floor of the House or call a press conference in your district. Call on your Speaker to call this Congress back into session. We would welcome with open arms any of the dozens of House Democrats who have said in the past that they support more drilling into America’s domestic resources.”
Pence and his colleagues moved from the presser to and through the staging point for entrance to the House floor speeches, which is now the hallway outside of the Republican cloakroom. Cheers and handshakes greeted the parade of Republican congressmen on duty Friday as they made their way through the hallway, which is blanketed in security and packed with people standing in winding lines that slowly filter through the entrance to the cloakroom.
No more buzzers ringing and a Republican member of Congress answering the door from inside of the cloakroom. That was abandoned out of necessity by Friday. The entrance and exits were propped open to accommodate the flood of people passing through the cloakroom where their electronic equipment is left (to accommodate House rules) before they step onto the House floor and take their seats for back-to-back-to-back speeches.
Pelosi’s ban on the broadcast to the peasants of the revolution outside the House chamber remains in effect and a very frustrated C-SPAN continues broadcasting limited coverage of press conferences in Statuary Hall.
Pence and his colleagues took the floor again on Friday and began the day as they always do, whether the House is in session or at the commencement of the protest in the chamber: they lead with a prayer. Then the Pledge of Allegiance was recited and they were off to their charts, signs, and props used to explain America’s need for energy independence — and their ideas to accomplish that goal — to a cross-section of Mr. and Mrs. America and family seated before them.
The crowds had so broadened in scope by Friday that there was amused talk in the cloakroom of the none-too-happy Democrat staffers spotted in the hallways with their tours in tow asking for directions to the Republican cloakroom.
Estimates on Friday from staffers on hand throughout the day were that upwards of 4,000 people had listened to speeches on the House floor by the end of the day. That number was up around 1,000 from the estimates on Thursday, and the vastly increased congestion in the hallways and the small cloakroom lent support to those claims.
The people who attended the protest in the first week were comprised of mainly two groups. First there were the people who have travelled to the District specifically for the purpose of having their Republican member of Congress escort them to the House floor to be a part of these events. The second and much larger group is comprised of vacationers on the Capitol Hill tour who have asked to be escorted to the House protest — the kind of rank and file Americans from every race, creed, color and economic station that the Democrats claim are their supporters.
The volume of people who attended the speeches in the House chamber literally dwarfs the number of total sales of Nancy Pelosi’s book released two weeks ago (July 29th).
As of deadline Sunday night, Pelosi’s new book, Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters, was ranked a dismal 2,326th in sales on Amazon.com. Last Thursday’s Drudge Report listed anemic book sales totaling 2,737 copies, yet an estimated 3,000 American vacationers attended the protest in the House chamber last Thursday alone.
Perhaps Madame Speaker should move her book tour to the hallway outside of the Republican cloakroom for the duration of the protest.