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Pro Forma Messaging Begins in the House

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md. adress the media explaining why they will be changing their votes on the stimulus package bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Oct. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)  (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

September 25, 2012

Most lawmakers have left town, but don't expect Democrats to let House pro forma sessions to simply gavel in and out.

Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., pushed the Democrats' message -- similar to the one they pushed before leaving Washington -- on the House floor during today's pro forma session, blasting Republicans for going into recess before moving on major legislation. Edwards ran down the laundry list of to-do items, including passing a farm bill and the Violence Against Women Act.

"The American people deserve answers and they deserve action. They deserve more than a pro forma session and a do-nothing Congress," she said.

If you're looking for some hot, pro forma session drama, none was to be found today; Speaker Pro Tempore Steven LaTourette allowed Edwards to say her piece. In 2011, the Republican-controlled House cut off the mics and turned off the television cameras as Reps. Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen called for a vote on a payroll tax holiday extension during a pro forma session. Hoyer shouted at the speaker as he walked off.

The Democratic-controlled Senate is also in recess until the November elections. After her moment on the House floor, Edwards said to reporters "that it doesn't matter. The House went out first. As long as the House is out, what's the point of having the Senate back."

"If Speaker [John] Boehner decides to come back, you can be guaranteed that we will be here, and the Senate will be in session, and we'll get the work of the people done," Edwards said.

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