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House Democrats Demand GOP Come Back from Vacation

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- House Democrats on Friday staged a coordinated effort to bring the House of Representatives back from vacation to Washington, D.C., to work on the long-term extension of the payroll tax cut.

As House Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Denham, R-Calif., gaveled in for the short “pro forma” session Friday morning, Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., took to the floor and attempted to call for the payroll tax cut conference committee to get to work now.

“We’ve got work to do while the Republicans are out of session,” Clyburn said, attempting to speak over the Speaker Pro Tempore. “Where are the Republicans? We’re ready to work.”

Clyburn was not recognized to speak and the “pro forma” session was gaveled out. The Speaker Pro Tempore, the stenographer and aides all left the floor. The microphones were turned off and C-SPAN cut away, leaving a small group of Democrats alone in the chamber.

“We were just shut down and not allowed to speak on the floor when we were told that we are in session and we went to the floor to work, but we were not allowed to do the people's work,” Clyburn said.

Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, conferees of the conference committee, and a few other members stayed on the floor a full 12 minutes after the House of Representatives was out of session to urge Congress to return to Washington to work on the year-long extension of the payroll tax holiday which will expire in February.

The House Democrats attempted to connect the recess appointment argument to the payroll tax argument.

If the full House of Representatives is not called back from their home districts, the Democrats at the very least want a full meeting of the conference committee Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate appointed to negotiate a long-term payroll tax deal. Democrats claim they’ve been informed that the earliest meeting that is planned is January 18th, which is not acceptable to them.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to return to legislative business on Jan. 17 while the Senate plans to return Jan. 23.

In 2008 House Republicans staged a similar effort to bring the House back to work on the energy bill during the August recess. Then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did not call the House back into session.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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