House Democrats today continued their use of limited floor opportunities during the recess to try to cast themselves as the party ready to return for work, but, as has become habit during the House’s pro forma sessions, were turned aside before the presiding officer, Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) gaveled the minutes-long session to a close.
During today’s pro forma session, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) came to the floor to ask Republicans to return to work, but the House adjourned without allowing the Democrats time to speak.
“The Speaker gaveled us down without so much as allowing even an inquiry or a statement to be made,” Hoyer blasted out a statement moments after. “They said [the House was] going to be working the first week in October. Have they left because they’ve accomplished their work? Absolutely not.”
The House adjourned on Sept. 21 to allow lawmakers to return home to campaign, marking the earliest release since 1960.
“We are here standing together to recognize that since Aug. 3, when Congress adjourned, and Nov. 14, when we are being called back into session, we will have been in session only eight days. That’s just not right,” Pelosi said immediately following the Sept. 21 adjournment.
The House has held three pro forma sessions since the September adjournment, and each time Democrats have taken to the floor to cast Republicans as the “do nothing” party, calling on GOP leaders to return to work.
“The American people deserve answers and they deserve action. They deserve more than simply a pro forma session and a do-nothing Congress and Republican obstructionism,” Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) said during a Sept. 25 pro forma session.
When the House adjourned today, after refusing to recognize Pelosi’s request for the floor, House Democrats held a press conference accusing Republicans of “walking away” from a deluge of unfinished business.
Democratic lawmakers took to Twitter to hammer home their message, using the hashtag #donothingGOP to highlight what they see as Congress’ unfinished business.
At today’s press conference, Democrats expounded on what they deem as top priorities, including middle-class tax cuts, the looming fiscal cliff and sequestration, the Violence Against Women Act, the farm bill, and a U.S. Postal Service overhaul.
Speaker John Boehner has previously dismissed Democrats’ call for action, arguing that the Senate and President Barack Obama are responsible for the impasse.
“How about the 40 jobs bills that are sitting in the United States Senate?” he said at a Sept. 21 press conference. “We have done our work.”
A spokesman for the Speaker said today that the onus is still on the Senate and the White House to act, citing House passage of legislation to alter the sequester and halt the tax hikes.