Pennsylvania lawmakers were poised to vote on several bills Wednesday that would change the way the state government operates, but a meeting of the legislature's rules committee erupted into a partisan shouting match between Republicans and Democrats. In the end, a number of Democratic lawmakers threw things and stormed out of the room.
In case of classic finger-pointing, the GOP says Democrats are being obstructionist while Democrats claim the proposals being considered would disenfranchise their constituents.
Here's how it all started. Republicans fired first, accusing Democrats of "gumming up the gears" of government. Democrats proposed a wave of amendments to previously non-controversial reform bills, which in the words of Republican Majority Leader Rep. Mike Turzai "was designed to create a circus atmosphere on the House floor.
"In response, Republicans forced through changes to make it easier for them to push aside amendments they don't agree with."This is an unprecedented attack on the people's, our ability, to represent our constituents," said Democratic Minority Leader Frank Dermody.Furious Democrats claimed they were being cut off from having a voice.
One lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Babette Josephs, even used her scarf as a symbolic gag: