House Rules Committee chairman: Democrats should be 'held accountable' for gun-control sit-in

GOP Lawmakers Hold News Conference On Free Market Healthcare PlanAlex Wong/Getty ImagesTexas Rep. Pete Sessions participate in a news conference May 23, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

The chairman of the House Rules Committee said Sunday that Democrats who staged an unprecedented 25-hour sit-in demanding a vote on gun-control legislation should be “held accountable” for their actions.

“There was a complete lack of [respect] and I believe what they did is not only wrong but that they should be held accountable through an ethics process for that,” Texas Rep. Pete Sessions told WFAA-TV.

He added: “If I were in a position I would move the case for us to ethically under ethics rules to hold people accountable.”

Last Wednesday, House Democrats, led by civil-rights icon Rep. John Lewis, said they would not vacate the lower-chamber until gun-control legislation was brought up for a vote. When House Speaker Paul Ryan attempted to move on with other business, the Democrats shouted “no bill, no break” at him. Eventually they ended their sit-in, despite no legislation ever coming to the floor.

“They should not have used that nor would we allow a bunch of people at a court room to take advantage of a courtroom,” Sessions told WFAA. “There are places that business is done where decorum is utilised and where we respect each other.”

Last week, the Republican congressman used similar rhetoric. He called the protest a “stunt” and said Democrats were using “tyrannical antics” to score political points.

Speaking of the protest at the weekly House leadership briefing, Ryan characterised the incident as a “publicity stunt” aimed at helping Democrats fundraise. He said the Democrats had allowed the House to descend into “chaos” and argued that it “sets a very dangerous precedent.”

“One of the things that makes our country strong is our institutions,” Ryan said. “No matter how bad things get in this country, we have a basic structure that ensures a functioning democracy. We can disagree on policy. But we do so within the bounds of order and respect for the system. Otherwise, it all falls apart.”

A representative for Lewis, who spearheaded the demonstration, did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on the accusation last week.

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