House Democrats Stage a Sit-In

June 23, 2016 - Macklemore 06/23/2016 Views: 23,991

Much to the chagrin of GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, congressional Democrats stage a sit-in on the floor of the House to call for stronger gun control legislation. (11:27)

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Breaking news,

"sit" just got real.

CHARLIE ROSE: Chaos in Congress as House Democrats

stage an all-night sit-in to push for a vote on gun control.

This was dramatic, like nothingwe have ever seen before.

MAN: We're in uncharted territory now.

We certainly have not had members, uh,

sleeping overnight in protest.

This historic protest thatlasted for more than 24 hours...

Yes. It turns out the best wayto get something done

in Congressis by sitting on your ass.

But jokes aside, what happenedyesterday was unprecedented.

House Democrats, so frustratedwith their inability

to even get a voteon two gun reform bills, uh,

including one supportedby 90% of the population,

staged a sit-in of a magnitudeunseen in modern history.

Yeah. But that didn't mean

that they couldn't have a littlefun while they were doing it.

JONATHAN KARL: It went on throughout the night,

the House floor sometimes looking like

a rowdy slumber party.

WOMAN: Lawmakers bringing in pizza, late night snacks,

cell phone chargers, even blankets and pillows

and giving each other neck massages.

(cheering)

MAN: Representative Cleaver of Missouri,

he had a large pink and white striped pillow

and he said that he was prepared to spend the night.

You know that congressman hasbeen saving that pillow, right?

You know he's been havingthat pillow.

You can't just pop out and buy apink and white striped pillow.

That's not how it works.

The guy's been waiting foreverfor this moment.

Every time he's been inCongress, like, "And now?

"No? Okay, okay. Okay.

"How about now?Oh, no, no, no.

"Obamacare...No? Oh, man, looks like it's...

"Sit-in! Finally!

"Yeah! Now I get to usemy pillow

and my matching blazer."

(laughter)

Why does it match?

Man, 25 hours.

Can you imagine 25 hoursjust sitting there together?

And I'm sure the first couple ofhours were cordial, you know.

But after, like, hour five,

people probably startedto let loose.

You know, let a fart sliphere and there. Yeah.

It's 25 hours.

And someone's like,"What is that smell?"

"Republican (bleep)!"

(laughter)

Now...

Now the congressman leadingyesterday's sit-in

was none other thanGeorgia representative

and famed Civil Rights protesterJohn Lewis.

MAN: John Lewis, uh, the congressman,

the Civil Rights icon who helped lead the sit-in.

Best known, uh,for the work he did

during the Civil Rights era,

leading the march over theEdmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

WOMAN: In the 1960s, he led sit-ins demanding an end

to segregation.

That's right, that's right.

This is what John Lewis does.

He's been sitting infor decades.

Now, he knows that when you wantsomething, you sit in for it.

Gun control vote-- you sit in.

Civil Rights-- you sit in.

Opening night ticketsfor Star Wars: Episode VII--

you sit in.

(laughter)

(imitating Yoda): Hmm!

Marched with King, I have.

Overcome, we shall.

(laughter)

(normal voice): Now, for me,uh, the biggest winner

of all last night, was C-SPAN

because, you see,a big part of the story

is that the Speakerof the House, Paul Ryan,

ordered C-SPAN's camerasturned off

which meant the world couldn'tsee the Democrats' protest.

But it seems Paul Ryan forgotwhat year it is.

There are no cameras insideand there are no microphones

because the Houseis not officially in session,

so C-SPAN cannot be on.

MAN: Members of Congress are capturing live video

on Periscope and other social media outlets

and now C-SPAN, the cable channel,

is actually broadcasting those Periscope streams.

(laughter)

This is so insane.

C-SPAN was broadcastingPeriscope.

I haven't seen old and youngwork that well together

since the first Karate Kid.

I don't even know... what...

Broadcast on, broadcast off.

(laughter)

I mean, cable TVpromoting technology

that will someday replace it.

That's like candles being like,

"Hey, have you heardabout lightbulbs?

Wow. Wow."

And, by the way, uh, Periscopewasn't the representatives

first choice, but Snapchat,unfortunately,

didn't have the samegravitas for them.

-It just didn't work...-Debate it and vote.

And people can be free to vote

whatever way they choose to.

But our Constitution says...

They should've usedthe protest filter.

So the Democrats won out

and were able to broadcastthe sit-in,

uh, you know, to the Americanpeople and, as we all know,

with great power comes a handfulof representatives

who don't know what the hellPeriscope is.

(laughter)

Oh, man.

Oh, that guy is so cute.

And... and impressive.

How many people can say they'veused Periscope, the app,

and an actual periscope?

How many people can say that?

But he's right, though.

He is right.I will say this.

You see, the reasonthe NRA has so much influence

in Congress is not just becauseof their money,

but it's because their mostvocal members

call Congress all the timeand right now,

you're probably, like,that's a good idea.

I'll tweet them.

No, no,that's not going to work.

E-mails don't work.

Look, see that phonethat you probably have

in your hand right now...maybe you didn't even know this,

but there's actuallya phone app on it...

(laughter)

...and if you move the phonefrom here to here,

you can call your congresspersonwith your voice.

And maybe you're, like,"(scoffs) Trevor,

that's something onlyold people would do."

Yeah, your congresspersonis old.

That's why it's the only thingthat works.

So, basically last night,Congress had a slumber party

and as with any slumber party,

it was only a matter of time before lame Dad breaks it up.

The chair would hopethat the business of the House

could be conductedin a fashion that represe...

-that respects positively-(chanting): No bill, no break!

on the dignity and the decorumof this institution

-to which we all belong.-(chanting continues)

-Poor Dad.-(laughter)

That's a man who was like,"Yeah, sure, honey, uh,

"you can have a slumber party.

"What is it, 20, 25 girls?

How crazy can it get?"

(forced laughing)

"I'm going to kill myself."

Now, many people saw thisas an act of protest,

you know, civil disobedience,

a plea to do somethingabout guns in America.

Paul Ryan, well, um,he saw it another way.

This isn't trying to come upwith a solution to a problem,

this is trying to get attention.

This is nothing more thana publicity stunt.

Uh, yeah.

That's exactlywhat a political protest is.

That's what they are--they're publicity stunts.

When the colonists threw allthe tea in the Boston Harbor,

no one said "That's justa publicity stunt.

You can't have a tea partywithout cucumber sandwiches."

But if anything,if anything, the one place

you can criticize the Democratsis using the sit-in

as an opportunity to fundraisefor their campaigns.

Which, to be honest,is pretty (bleep).

You know? When you're upon the moral high ground,

it's not cool to be lookingfor money. That's not the time.

You know? That's likeMartin Luther King going,

"I have a dream, I have a dream"and someone else is like,

"Yes, Dr. Kinghas a dream, and for $500

you can turn that dreaminto a reality."

So, af... over 24 hours,

the Democratsfinally stood down.

Paul Ryan and the Republicans,uh, never did allow a vote

on the gun reform measures.

And the reason why, as oneRepublican congressman put it

last night,is that they didn't want

to surrenderto legislative blackmail.

But essentially,their argument is this.

And that is: this isn't howthe House works. All right?

In the House, the majority partydecides what bills

come up for a vote, and if theygave in just because Democrats

were causing a scene, it wouldset a dangerous precedent.

Yeah. You'd have random congresspeople doing sit ins,

you know, all the timefor every little vote

that they wanted,which is ridiculous.

The seats of their pantswould start to wear out

from all the sitting,and you'd end up

with a bunch of old white dudesin assless pants.

Nobody wants that.I get it. I get it.

Although I do wonder-- ifRepublicans say a loud minority

shouldn't be allowedto control Congress,

then why do theylet the NRA do it?

And let's not forget...

let's not forget in 2008,

when Republicans were in theminority,

they pulled a similar stunt.Because they wanted a vote

on expanded oil drillingand then Democrats blocked it,

so they also staged a protest.

And that's fine, people, becauseprotesting is a valid way

to make an important point.

For Democrats, the point wasthat Americans

don't want over 32,000 peopleto die every year

of gun violence.And for Republicans is that

we want to drill more holesin the ground.

Both equally valid issues.

And look, Republicansdo have a point, though.

Responding to this pressureby allowing a vote

could break the system.

But let's face it,the system is already broken.

The people elect congressmento represent their will.

And right now, by refusingto hold votes on a bill

that's supported by 90%of the American people,

the GOP is ignoring that will.And so the Democrats

are just trying to shockthe system back into working.

You know? It's sort of like,like what you do

if you-you put a dollarinto a vending machine

and you're trying to get aKit Kat and then your Kit Kat

gets stuck in the coil thing.You are well within your rights

to smack the (bleep)out of that machine.

Yeah. You get in there

and you smack the (bleep)out of that machine.

And if Paul Ryan comes alongand says, "Uh, excuse me,

that's rather uncalled for,uh..." You'd be like,

"Yeah, who gives a (bleep)?That's my (bleep) Kit Kat

in thereand I'm gonna get it out."

(cheering, applause)

And if I may-- one more thingabout Paul Ryan himself--

the problem with Paul Ryan...

Hey, guys. So, it looks like,uh, Paul Ryan

managed to shut our cameras off,

so I'm coming to you livefrom Periscope,

and I encourageevery one of you to join me

and let your voices be heard.Thank you so much.

Because that's what democracyis all about, people.

That's what it's all about,and... Thank you.

I appreciate it.Thank you so much.

Democracy is supposed torepresent

the will of the people, right?And... Wh...

That's true, that's true--pandas are indeed soft.

Thanks for chiming in.Anyway, it's designed

to represent the willof the people.

I-I don't know...

I don't whereyour garlic bread is,

and please don't call me"betch." That's not cool.

Any... When a democraticgovernment

fails to listento what the peop...

Guys, garlic bread and bananabread are both delicious.

You don't have to choose one.It's not a choice.

Any... When a government failsto step up,

the responsibilityfalls on the rest of us

and what the peop...

First of all,I am not your daddy.

And even if I was,I wouldn't fist you

because that would be weird.

Now, what was I saying?Oh, right, right, right.

The will of the people--all right. Wh... What?

Who doesn't have the...What does that even mean?

Look, I'm trying to-to...

Well, thank you,but I am not John Legend.

Um, look-look...

Look, asshole, I don't knowwhere your garlic bread is.

I don't know... Why do youpeople... I'm trying to tell...

You know what, Paul Ryanwas right-- cut the feed!

Just cut the feed!