With Doughnuts and Cellphones, Democrats Get Creative to Sustain #NoBillNoBreak House Sit-In

The Democrats' sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives, a protest aimed at winning votes on gun control measures Wednesday, was largely unprecedented, and it brought some unusual solutions to keep it going, from bringing in doughnuts to unsanctioned live streaming from the Capitol.

The move shut down the House's legislative work, exasperating Republicans. The group refused to leave until the vote was secured — some representatives said the protest would go all night. Lawmakers used the hashtag #NoBillNoBreak to publicize their work.

And every sit-in requires fuel, so at around 7:30 p.m., eight hours after the takeover began, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts brought boxes of Dunkin Donuts to the members of Congress taking part.

"Massachusetts knows: America — and #NoBillNoBreak — runs on @DunkinDonuts. #birthdaydonuts #holdthefloor," Warren tweeted, and she received cheers on the floor of the House when she announced what she'd brought.

NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander tweeted that a congressional aide went to Target to buy sleeping bags for those at the sit-in, in case they wanted to go all night. And Rep. John Lewis of Georgia told Rachel Maddow on MSNBC they did not plan to end.

C-SPAN, the company that broadcasts congressional proceedings, turned to social media feeds to beam live coverage of the sit-in after Republicans in control of the House ordered it into recess, meaning cameras in the House chambers had to be shut off. 

The government controls the cameras, though the nonprofit cable and satellite network is independent, according to spokesman Howard Mortman said, and accepts no government money.

Two protesting representatives, Scott Peters of California and Beto O'Rourke of Texas, provided footage of the sit-in through Periscope and Facebook, and C-SPAN picked up those feeds to offer continuous coverage of the sit-in.

At one point, C-SPAN's Twitter account posted a video appearing to show a phone charger waved in front of Rep. Peters' camera. "Don't worry, we came prepared," Peters' account retorted. 

Technically, video streams from the floor of the House are prohibited, and the Sergeant-at-Arms was at one point telling members not to share pictures and video, Rep. John Yarmuth told NBC News.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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