D.C. Protesters Clash With Democratic Senators Outside the Capitol

Protesters urge Congress to end the federal government shutdown on Oct. 9 on Capitol Hill.
National Journal
Michael Catalini
Oct. 9, 2013, 8:44 a.m.

Wav­ing posters and chant­ing “Free D.C.,” a crowd call­ing for the gov­ern­ment to re­open on the Cap­it­ol’s East Front tried to in­ter­rupt a Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day. 

Thirty-five Demo­crat­ic law­makers stood on the Cap­it­ol’s steps and re­it­er­ated their now-fa­mil­i­ar de­mands to Re­pub­lic­ans. While some of the pro­test­ers in­ter­viewed said they blamed the GOP, and not Demo­crats, the scene made for an awk­ward jux­ta­pos­i­tion. 

At one point, D.C. May­or Vin­cent Gray walked slowly from the site of the protest at the area known as the Sen­ate Swamp, to­ward the sen­at­ors. There was a brief mo­ment of ten­sion, be­cause it was un­clear what Gray would say or wheth­er he in­ten­ded to in­ter­rupt, but Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id, D-Nev., smiled at Gray, stretched out his hand, and wel­comed him onto the steps. 

Leroy Thorpe, a North­w­est res­id­ent and gov­ern­ment so­cial work­er who’s lived in Wash­ing­ton since 1980, said he wants to see Con­gress re­open the gov­ern­ment im­me­di­ately. Oth­ers near him nod­ded in as­sent. “I think we need to stop the grid­lock,” he said. “I think the Re­pub­lic­ans are hold­ing the na­tion host­age and hurt­ing a lot of people.” 

Demo­crats took the op­por­tun­ity to re­ject the House’s so-called mini-con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tions and asked for their col­leagues to ad­opt their CR. 

“The whole gov­ern­ment needs to be open,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

The dis­trict’s sole rep­res­ent­at­ive in Con­gress also ad­dressed the crowd of pro­test­ers, telling them that if they wanted to speak to law­makers, they should enter the Cap­it­ol or of­fice build­ings. “I don’t think I need to tell you all what you need from sen­at­ors,” Del­eg­ate Elean­or Holmes Norton of the Dis­trict of Columbia told the pro­test­ers. “Out here we’re talk­ing to ourselves, but if they hear dir­ectly from you, that makes some dif­fer­ence.” 

What We're Following See More »
WORDS AND PICTURES
White House Looks Back on bin Laden Mission
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
NO BATTLE OVER SEATTLE
SCOTUS Won’t Hear Appeal of Minimum-Wage Law
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a sweeping constitutional challenge to Seattle’s minimum wage law, in what could have been a test case for future legal attacks on similar measures across the country. In a one-line order, the justices declined to hear a case by the International Franchise Association and a group of Seattle franchisees, which had said in court papers that the city’s gradual wage increase to $15 discriminates against them in a way that violates the Constitution’s commerce clause."

Source:
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Sanders Looks to Right the Ship in Indiana
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton may have the Democratic nomination sewn up, but Bernie Sanders apparently isn't buying it. Buoyed by a poll showing them in a "virtual tie," Sanders is "holding three rallies on the final day before the state primary and hoping to pull off a win after a tough week of election losses and campaign layoffs." 

Source:
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION IN JUNE
DC to Release Draft Constitution as Part of Statehood Push
7 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"The New Columbia Statehood Commission—composed of five District leaders including Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and D.C.'s congressional delegation—voted today to publicly release a draft of a new constitution for an eventual state next Friday, at the Lincoln Cottage." It's the first step in a statehood push this year that will include a constitutional convention in June and a referendum in November.

Source:
ALZHEIMER’S OUTCRY
Will Ferrell Bails on Reagan Movie
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Amid outcry by President Reagan's children, actor Will Ferrell has pulled out of a movie that makes light of Reagan's Alzheimer's disease. A spokesperson for Ferrell said, “The ‘Reagan’ script is one of a number of scripts that had been submitted to Will Ferrell which he had considered. While it is by no means an ‘Alzheimer’s comedy’ as has been suggested, Mr. Ferrell is not pursuing this project."

Source:
×