How To Tell Paul Ryan To Turn On The Cameras

On Wednesday, a scene of high political drama is unfolding at the U.S. House of Representatives, as a group of Democratic lawmakers have staged a pro-gun control sit-in. Already, some images and short, shaky video clips have trickled out over social media — the image of Georgia Democratic representative and civil rights hero John Lewis sitting cross-legged on the House floor, for one, is quite a sight. But thanks to the GOP House leadership, there's no live feed. So if you want Paul Ryan to turn the cameras back on, here's how you can get in touch with him.

The cameras inside the chamber have been cut off since members of the GOP leadership, specifically Rep. Ted Poe, sent the House into recess in response to the Democratic protest. But as Frank Thorp of NBC News noted on Twitter, the House rule book gives Ryan the final say on whether the cameras are on or off, which means he has the final say on whether there's any full-fledged public airing of what's going on. C-SPAN has recently started airing California Rep. Scott Peters' Periscopes from the House floor, but it's nowhere near as high-quality or comprehensive as a traditional broadcast would be.

So, if you're looking for a way to get in touch with Ryan's office and make your feelings known, here are some relevant numbers:

  • The Office of the Speaker's phone line is (202) 225-0600, and the fax line is (202) 225-2012.
  • Ryan's congressional office phone line is (202) 255-3031, and the fax line is (202) 225-3393.
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While neither Ryan's congressional website nor his Speakership website make his email address public, both sites do allow you to send him an email. The congressional website is meant to be for his constituents in the state of Wisconsin, however, so it's probably best to stick to contacting him in his capacity as Speaker of the House, since that's the job that gives him power over the C-SPAN feed.

It'll be hugely interesting to see what endgame is ahead for the Democratic sit-in, considering the loaded optics involved in any action the Republican leadership might take, and the sticky perception created by the cameras being turned off. All in all, it seems like this activist-style demonstration caught the Republicans a little off-guard — with Periscope streams now going out on C-SPAN rather than a traditional broadcast, the sit-in is getting even more attention, amid the sense that the GOP tried to suppress it.