The latest on walk-out, a “proof of life” phone call; no resolution (audio)

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha, IA) just briefed statehouse reporters about the phone call he had this afternoon with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines, IA).  AUDIO of Q&A with reporters (mp3 runs 5 min.).

“Leader McCarthy finally called me. We talked briefly. He didn’t tell me where they were and didn’t indicate when they’re going to come back,” Paulsen says. “…The right thing is for them to do is to come back here and do the work that Iowans sent us here to do, so we’ll be patient a little while longer and see if they can make a decision here and give me something a little more definitive to work with.”

“…I’m trying to be respectful of 40 members of this chamber and the Iowans that they represent, but at the same time, I think they need to be respectful and get here, but I’ve got a little bit more patience here.”

Paulsen indicated he hopes to have this impasse resolved by day’s end, but he conceded McCarthy gave no indication that is going to happen.

“Look, right now, I think the proper thing to do is for them to come back. I’m trying to be respectful of those 40 members who have chosen to leave the capitol so they can cool down or whatever it is…and the 130,000 that each one of them represents, but sooner or later the other 60 members and the people they represent expect us to go to work,” Paulsen said.

One of the 40 House Democrats has indicated he and his colleagues will return if Paulsen tables the gun-related bills that prompted this walk-out.  Paulsen, when asked, gave this response: “Someone doesn’t get to have a tantrum and leave the capitol and all of a sudden we’re changing the debate schedule. That’s not how it works.”

Paulsen expects to reconnect with McCarthy by phone later this afternoon. Among the options available is for the House to remain “at ease” without adjourning for the night — essentially a limbo session through the overnight hours. “That wouldn’t be the first time,” Paulsen said of that particular option of staying “in sessionn” overnight.

Paulsen says Republicans in the House have been getting feedback from voters over the past few hours. “Actually the most common comment right now…is: ‘Why are we waiting? Let’s go to work.'”

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.