From NBC's Mike Viqueira
House Republicans really want us to understand that they are outraged about the House's departure today for a five-week recess while the question of more drilling for oil goes unanswered here in Washington.
The House had its last vote at around 11:23 am ET, a motion to adjourn that was greeted by Republican catcalls from the floor and cries of "Work! Work!" from their side of the aisle. In case you missed it, they have been trying to force votes on an expansion of offshore drilling and in ANWR for weeks now.
Nancy Pelosi has dug in, calling the proposal a "hoax." Ad hoc bipartisan groups have formed in an effort to seek compromise, but so far they haven't gotten anywhere. The House has now gone, and members have streamed out of the exits on their way to the airport, with the Senate soon to follow. They will be back after Labor Day for perhaps just three weeks before leaving again -- not to return until January and a new Congress, followed by a new administration.
Now the lights are out in the House, but somebody is still home. In a effort that could be called a grandstand play -- if there were people actually in the grandstand -- a handful of House GOP leaders is on the floor talking to an amen chorus of what looks like a few dozen staffers, speaking at the top of their lungs for lack of an active amplification system about the need for drilling legislation. No cameras, but the press balcony is open and reporters can witness the odd spectacle if they choose to, as many are.
A cynic would call this theatrics. But where would politics be without theatrics?