(Note: Follow developments from the House floor at twitter.com/RobertBluey.)
The House GOP's energy protest, which has captivated Capitol Hill since last Friday, won't end anytime soon. Minority Leader John Boehner said in a memo to Republicans tonight that members should make plans to return to Washington over the next two weeks.
The nationwide House GOP energy protest is making history, and we are writing to announce that the Call to Arms will continue. And with your help, we will keep the pressure on the Speaker until she gives the American people the energy vote they want, need and deserve. Republicans will not rest until we have an honest, up-or-down vote on the American Energy Act.
Boehner said Republicans are "united with the American people" and standing firm against Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to leave town for a five-week paid vacation rather than vote on the GOP's comprehensive bill to lower gas prices and increase American energy. Pelosi is using the recess to promote her new book.
Republicans who haven't returned to Capitol Hill are aggressively pushing their "all of the above" energy bill, known as the American Energy Act. The legislation includes much-needed energy production and drilling, but also emphasizes conservation and innovation.
Boehner's memo stressed the importance for members to indicate their availability for any days they could be in Washington during the next two weeks, Aug. 11-22. The Democratic National Convention begins the following Monday, Aug. 25.
The memo concludes:
Again, this is not a request made lightly. But the American people are suffering. They’re faced with an extraordinary challenge, and an extraordinary challenge demands an uncommon response. Your spontaneous efforts have offered a glimmer of hope for working families, small businesses, seniors, schools, charities and others throughout our country who are being pummeled by sky-high gas prices. We must build on this opening, and keep building on it until the American people have been heard.
More than 65 members have already returned to do their part. With nearly 200 in the GOP conference, there should be plenty to keep this protest running strong.