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Rohrabacher Statement on House Democrats' 'Sit-in'

Jun 24, 2016

Last night’s ruckus on the floor was an infantile display that robbed the House of the decorum necessary to do the people’s business. The rules or order are there to protect honest debate and efficient use of Members’ time and resources.

From time to time Americans are shown how such parliamentary decorum breaks down in developing nations, with news footage of delegates rushing the podium, throwing fists -- even chairs -- as representative government descends into momentary anarchy. We may smile that here we have so evolved the institution of Congress that we will never descend to such demoralizing behavior. Yesterday and today the Democrats showed how easy it is to devolve toward disruption. There is simply no excuse for such tactics as shouting down the Speaker and making it impossible to conduct orderly business.

Make no mistake, if the Democrats wanted to pursue the folly of thwarting radical Islamic terrorism by tinkering with Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms, they had every recourse to bring it to the floor. They could have called, for example, for a vote to recommit, a parliamentary tactic of which they are well aware. But no, they resorted to moralistic posturing in a political year when politicians can’t resist striking a holier-than-thou attitude.

America is without a shred of doubt under attack by violent radical Islamists. We may be certain more such attacks as happened in Orlando are coming and will likely be even more catastrophic. The Democrats’ ostrich-like response is – as the late Jeane Kirkpatrick once famously put it – to “blame America first.” They ask, “What is it about us that makes them hate us so?” And their first fatuous impulse is to disarm Americans even further, even if rational discourse of the sort we are supposed to prize in Congress tells us that nothing about the proposal for which they squatted and pouted on the House floor would have prevented any of the mass shootings that have stained our country’s recent history.

In my own history in the House I have often, and happily, worked across the aisle on legislation to empower the weakest and most disenfranchised Americans. I call on my friends in the opposing party to come home again, to come to their senses. This political year is inordinately fraught with unnecessary tensions. The most critical message the Democrats could make would be to recover their civility.

Contact: Kenneth Grubbs, 202-225-2415