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May 4, 2015

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GOP stays behind as Dems turn out the lights — literally


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WASHINGTON -- A mini-revolution erupted on the House floor today when Democrats shut off the lights and adjourned for the August recess -- and Republicans refused to go home.

Dozens of House Republicans, including Rep. Jon Porter, kept right on debating -- initially in the dark and without microphones -- to protest Democrats’ refusal to pass an energy bill before the summer break.

They overtook the chamber for hours, an uprising party leaders called a “historical event.”

Politico has been updating the antics all afternoon, complete with which lawmakers showed up in shorts and flip-flops (not Porter) and who figured out the code to get the electricity back on. Tourists in the gallery got a rare treat. Here’s the story.

Porter took to the floor for about 35 to 40 minutes, his spokesman confirmed, listing off “a meager list of accomplishments” for this Congress and expressing “his displeasure that Congress would not consider a bipartisan energy bill before it recessed.”

He also spoke “about the pain his community is feeling, Southern Nevada's severe economic slowdown,” spokesman Matt Leffingwell said.

The Republican energy bill calls for more drilling to be part of the solution to $4-a-gallon gas. But Democratic leadership is fiercely opposed to expanding drilling opportunities off the coasts or elsewhere, and have refused to allow a vote on the issue some of their rank-and-file may support.

About 50 Republicans in all held court in the chamber until Capitol Police kicked them out. Nevada Republican Rep. Dean Heller was not on the list of participants, according to the Republican leadership office.

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