What if they read the Constitution and nobody came?
House Republicans hosted the second-ever full reading of the Constitution on the chamber floor Tuesday morning, but it was sparsely attended — so much so that they ran out of Democrats before they even got past Article IV.
All told, just 74 House members read. Organizers had expected 120 to read and had divided the document into that many sections. But they ended up having to stretch, giving lawmakers two or three sections apiece.
Several Democrats did straggle in later, and the House had saved the 13th Amendment specifically to be read by the civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat. The 13th Amendment officially ended slavery across the country.
Republicans took control of the House last year vowing to restore the Constitution as a central part of floor debates, but an analysis by The Washington Times showed that little has improved.
Even so, some of the chamber's top leaders did come to the floor to take part in the reading.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer all read parts of the founding document.
Mrs. Pelosi even remained on the floor for most of the reading, following along in her own copy of the Constitution. When one Democrat showed up to read, just before the end, she gestured with a shrug to the empty chamber.
Moments after the reading was completed, a protester stood up in the public gallery and unfurled a homemade sign and began chanting.
"Abortion is the shedding of innocent blood," the man said, demanding that the country "stop Obama."
"America, ban assault weapons," he shouted before police were able to drag him out of the chamber.
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