"No Bill No Break" On Twitter Is Determined To Keep You Informed About The Sit-In
On Wednesday, frustrated Democratic members of the House of Representatives held a sit-in to protest resistance to debating gun legislation from Republican lawmakers. The protest comes after Rep. James Clyburn tried to introduce two proposals on the House floor aimed at expanding background checks and preventing individuals on the "No Fly" list from purchasing firearms — similar to bills that have been or are coming up for a vote in the Senate. But Republicans, who hold a majority in the House, refused to recognize Clyburn on Tuesday night. Several Democratic members yelled out in response, "No bill, no break!" On Wednesday, #NoBillNoBreak is trending on Twitter as citizens express their support for the Democrats' protest. Update: As of Wednesday afternoon, C-SPAN began airing a Periscope feed of the sit-in from Congressman Scott Peters' office. You can watch it here.
The sentiment behind the phrase, and its corresponding hashtag, #NoBillNoBreak, is that the House should not take its usual recess in July until it debates, and presumably passes, gun legislation. Many on Twitter agree. On Wednesday, the social media platform filled with tweets from citizens infuriated with Congress for not passing gun legislation supported by most Americans, and from some of the sitting-in representatives themselves. Importantly, representatives are using Twitter and the hashtag to keep the public informed about the sit-in after House Speaker Paul Ryan had the cameras covering the sit-in shut off.
Representatives are also using Twitter to ensure citizens of their determination to commit to this act of protest until it leads to movement on gun legislation in the House.
Aside from using Twitter to keep the public informed and engaged in the protest, those sitting on the House floor may be getting quite the morale boost from the platform. Prominent politicians from outside the House of Representatives are using Twitter to express their support for the sit-in.
Sen. Chris Murphy, who just staged a 15-hour talking filibuster in the Senate to push for consensus on gun legislation, let us know that he showed up to the House on Wednesday.
But the outpouring of support from citizens is likely the best of all for the protesting representatives to see.
The recent acts of resistance in Congress — the filibuster in the Senate and the Representatives' sit-in — are challenging the all-too-familiar and frustrating narrative of the "Do Nothing" Congress, and the impacts on the American public are palpable. Gun legislation is one of many areas in which agreement on legislation seems nearly impossible, and, though it remains to be seen whether their actions will be successful, it's clear that the Democratic minority in both houses are stepping up their efforts to put the pressure on Republican colleagues.
On Wednesday, after the cameras went dark, #NoBillNoBreak helped keep us up-to-date on the House sit-in.