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House Democrats Continue Sit-In Even As Republicans Head Home


Democrats continued their occupation of the House floor on Thursday even after Republican leaders sent lawmakers home early for the July 4th recess.

The sit-in on the floor came as Democrats had been seeking to pressure House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to hold votes on two gun control measures.

However, Ryan adjourned the House earlier than originally scheduled and delayed any potential votes until July 5th at the earliest.

The House adjourned after Republicans approved legislation to fund efforts to combat the Zika virus, with the vote coming down along party lines.

Despite the adjournment, Democrats continued to speak on the floor, demanding votes on measures to expand background checks for gun purchases and prevent individuals on the no fly list from buying guns.

The demonstration was shown on live video streaming app Periscope, as GOP leaders have shut off the cameras showing the House floor.

The Democratic sit-in was led by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a prominent civil rights activist from the 1960s, and Rep. John Larson, D-Conn.

In a statement early Thursday morning, Larson said he was deeply disappointed Ryan chose to adjourn the House, arguing the Speaker chose to do nothing rather than debate an issue that is killing thousands of Americans.

"This is not the end. The people have spoken," Larson said. "We stand united with the vast majority of Americans in saying enough is enough."

Meanwhile, Ryan has criticized the sit-in as a publicity stunt, noting that similar gun control measures were already blocked in the Senate.

Republicans have pointed to a series of fundraising emails sent by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the sit-in as proof that the demonstration is purely political.

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