Republicans plan to bring the House into session late Wednesday and hold votes despite Democrats’ ongoing sit-in on the floor.
Dozens of Democratic representatives staged the sit-in, demanding that GOP leaders allow votes on gun control measures. However, Republicans have no plans to comply.
“This isn’t trying to come up with a solution to a problem,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan told CNN. “They’re just trying to get attention.”
In an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Ryan dismissed the sit-in as “nothing more than a publicity stunt.”
Asked why he wouldn’t allow a vote, Ryan said the legislation Democrats want had already been defeated in the Senate.
“We’re not going to take away a citizen’s due process rights,” he said. “We’re talking about gun control which goes beyond a person’s constitutional rights.”
Instead of agreeing to vote on gun control measures, House Republicans plan to return to their scheduled business.
The House is expected to gavel in around 9:30 or 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to a GOP aide. Republicans will first introduce a conference committee report on Zika funding and then vote on whether to override President Obama’s veto of a measure opposing the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, the aide said.
“It will probably be loud and probably be noisy,” Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent said.
The Republican aide said the House will likely vote to adjourn for the night after the override vote.
As for the remainder of the week, the House is no longer expected to take up the financial services appropriations bill but they will vote on the Zika conference report before recessing, the aide said. Republicans may decide to waive their three-day rule for posting legislation before a vote so they can pass the Zika conference report Thursday and head home.
Democrats do not appear ready to leave the floor without a vote on gun control legislation but Republicans insist they won’t adhere to the demands.
“You don’t surrender to legislative blackmail and that’s what this is,” Rep. Tom Cole said.
Giving in would be like a parent rewarding the bad behavior of their child, and it would set a bad precedent for the institution, the Oklahoma Republican said.
“If they want to hang around here, great,” Cole said. “And if they want to be here all the way to the 4th of July, that’s fine. We shouldn’t let it affect the flow of business. We’ll all have a great view on the balcony of the fireworks — it will be wonderful.”
While most Republicans remain opposed to any legislation that would restrict access to guns, some have been working with Democrats in the name of compromise.
Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo said he is working with Massachusetts Democrat Seth Moulton on a bipartisan gun control bill similar to the one Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins has offered in the Senate.
Rep. David Jolly, also a Florida Republican, said he went to the House floor during the Democrats’ sit-in to see if they would be willing to negotiate on due process protections as they push for a vote on legislation that would ban people on the nation’s no-fly list from being able to buy guns.
He said he had two conversations that led him to believe a serious bipartisan agreement could be reached but declined to detail what was said.