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Drama on the House Floor: GOP Cuts the Mic on Dems Drama on the House Floor: GOP Cuts the Mic on Dems

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Drama on the House Floor: GOP Cuts the Mic on Dems


House Chamber view from the East Side on July 16, 2012(Shante Hayes)

If House Dems want to continue to use pro forma sessions to air their complaints and push their "do-nothing-Congress" messaging, they better bring some throat lozenges and be prepared to shout.

During today's pro forma session, Republican Speaker Pro Tempore Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., slammed his gavel, which signals the C-SPAN mics to cut off, over the protests from two Democratic House members.

DesJarlais walked off, leaving Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, shouting about the fiscal cliff and the farm bill.

"We're about to go over a cliff. We need to stay in session," Cummings said from the floor. "Mr. Speaker, please don't leave. Don't leave, Mr. Speaker."

Despite no mic, Cummings spoke from the floor about Democrats being prepared to work on averting the fiscal cliff. Hinojosa made a remark about the farm bill. Then the two men nodded at each other and walked off the floor.

Last week, House Dems were given some time to air their frustrations during these typically routine sessions. Not so earlier this week, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer weren't given an opportunity to speak.

In December 2011, the mics were also cut off on Hoyer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who were left yelling about payroll tax cuts.

Hinojosa told the Alley that he's been in Washington for three days and has been meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about the lame duck session.

"I couldn't believe he wouldn't recognize me and let me speak on the issue of our farmers. Because it's not just my state, it's throughout the whole country," Hinojosa said about DesJarlais.

Republicans aren't the only ones who shut down the opposing party. In 2008, the Democratic-controlled House turned off mics -- and the lights-- leaving behind dozens of House Republicans in the dark. The GOP members took over the floor for hours, where they blasted Dems for going into recess without passing an energy bill.

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