WASHINGTON — Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, said on Tuesday that Democrats who protested the lack of votes on gun legislation by essentially seizing the House floor for more than 24 hours recently may be punished for breaking House rules.
The behavior was not “becoming of the U.S. Congress,” Mr. McCarthy said in an interview with a few dozen reporters on Tuesday. He said that it was his understanding that Democrats had mistreated House staff members and perhaps even damaged congressional furniture as they shut down the chamber with a sit-in-style protest.
Mr. McCarthy said that he and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan would be meeting with the House sergeant-at-arms later on Tuesday to discuss investigative paths and possible ramifications for the Democrats. “This is not the way the House should work,” Mr. McCarthy said. “You first have to know all the facts. Action has to be taken on behavior taken toward professional staff.”
Filming and streaming video of the House, which the Democrats did when the regular TV feed of the chamber ended after Republicans gaveled the House into recess during the sit-in, are violations of House rules. Other potential violations include standing in the well and cutting off debate. At least one referral to the House Office of Congressional Ethics has been made by an outside group regarding fund-raising solicitations that went out during the sit-in.
Republicans said they intended to hold a vote this week on a measure to prevent terrorists from obtaining guns. It is similar to one that failed in the Senate after Democrats called it toothless.
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