Cameras usually relied on by C-SPAN were shut off for much of Wednesday’s protest by House Democrats.
But for a brief while late that night, they were live, and viewers following the drama saw Republican Rep. Mike Simpson with the gavel conducting a vote to adjourn at about 11 p.m. Mountain time.
The gavel changed hands a couple of times Wednesday; it wasn’t immediately clear how Simpson was picked to lead that particular vote.
Weary but defiant Democrats still commandeered the House floor Thursday morning, demanding gun-control votes in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre in an extraordinary 24-hour long protest broadcast live to the world by social media.
Republicans fiercely resisted the pressure and said Democrats had accomplished nothing other than disrupting the business of the House to score political points.
“We are not going to allow stunts like this to stop us from carrying out the people’s business,” Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Thursday morning in dismissing the protest.
Republicans shut off the cameras in the House gallery throughout most of the protest, but Democrats used their cellphones to capture the action. C-SPAN carried the feeds live via Periscope and Facebook, in an unprecedented move.
C-SPAN, a cable and satellite network that provides continual coverage of House and Senate floor proceedings, does not control the cameras. They are run on authorization by legislative leaders.
Republicans staged a similar protest in 2008. Democrats controlling the House at the time turned off the cameras amid a GOP push for a vote to expand oil and gas drilling. Republicans occupied the floor, delivering speech after speech after Pelosi, then the House speaker, sent lawmakers bolting to their August recess. Pelosi at that time had ordered the cameras turned off.