Dozens of Texas Dems Traveling to Washington, DC, in Effort to Break Quorum for Voting Reform Bill

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In a akin determination backmost successful May, Texas Democrats triggered the extremity of a authorities legislative league and blocked voting for a GOP-backed voting betterment measure erstwhile they walked retired of the chamber. Governor Greg Abbott (R) responded to the determination by vetoing a conception of the authorities fund bill, efficaciously slashing the budgets of thousands, including lawmakers.

Dozens of Democrats successful the Texas House of Representatives boarded 2 chartered flights bound for Washington, DC, connected Monday successful an effort to forestall their legislative enclosure from reaching quorum to ballot connected a fig of items, including a GOP-backed measure with voting restrictions. 

While an authoritative headcount has not been held astatine the clip of this article's publication, astatine slightest 51 of the 67 authorities representatives are taking the trip, according to the Texas Tribune. Exactly 51 lawmakers would person to beryllium absent from the enclosure successful bid to interruption the quorum. 

"My Democratic colleagues and I are leaving the authorities to interruption quorum and termination the Texas elector suppression bill," tweeted Democratic Texas Rep. James Talarico. "We’re flying to DC to request Congress walk the For The People Act and prevention our democracy."

The Texas voting betterment authorities - Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 3 - travel arsenic Texas Republicans' latest effort to prohibition 'drive-thru voting' and heighten restrictions connected mail-in voting and different initiatives enacted crossed the authorities during the tallness of the COVID-19 pandemic successful the US.

The authorities besides calls for caller ID requirements for mail-in voting, added protections for partisan canvass workers and the prohibition of 24-hour voting locations, which were acceptable up to assistance those who are moving during the accustomed hours of polling. 

Responding to the lawmakers' departure, Gov. Abbott, a Republican, said that Democrats were inflicting "harm connected the precise Texans who elected them to serve."

© Flickr / Gage Skidmore

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott speaking astatine FreePac, hosted by FreedomWorks, successful Phoenix, Arizona.

He besides asserted that portion they traveled successful their "cushy backstage planes," Texans successful their respective districts were being near without the transition of authorities that could assistance them, "such arsenic spot taxation alleviation and backing for children successful the state's foster attraction system."   

House Speaker Dade Phelan (R), who leads the chamber, declared successful a connection that the enclosure "will usage each disposable assets nether the Texas Constitution and the unanimously-passed House rules to unafraid a quorum to meaningfully statement and consider."

US Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, said connected Monday that she admires the "extraordinary courageousness and commitment" of the Texas Democrats abandoning their duties successful protestation of the betterment bill. 

"I applaud their lasting for the rights of each Americans and each Texans to explicit their dependable done their ballot unencumbered," Harris remarked portion speaking astatine a voting rights gathering successful Detroit, Michigan, according to CBS News' Tim Perry

"They are leaders who are marching successful the way that truthful galore others earlier did," she added. "When they fought and galore died for our close to vote." 

A fig of the items included successful the projected authorities were taken from Senate Bill 7, the archetypal measure that was near down aft Texas Democrats broke quorum successful May. At the time, a fig of Democratic Texas lawmakers declared that galore elements of SB 7 did not align with the antiauthoritarian principles of the US. 

"A batch of america presumption these efforts, the 'election integrity' efforts, arsenic an onslaught connected our democracy," Democratic Texas Rep. Jon Rosenthal told ABC13. "That, to me, is not conscionable an onslaught connected democracy. If we person that going on, that's the extremity of democracy." 

Under the projected legislation, it would beryllium easier for one's ballot to beryllium dismissed implicit elector fraud suspicions. 

© REUTERS / Mikala Compton

Voting rights activists stitchery during a protestation against Texas legislators who are advancing a slew of caller voting restrictions successful Austin, Texas, U.S., May 8, 2021

Abbott slammed the Democrats' walkout backmost successful May, and moved to punish thousands of government-affiliated staffers by vetoing Article 10 of the fund passed by the legislature. 

"Funding should not beryllium provided for those who discontinue their occupation early, leaving their authorities with unfinished concern and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session," the Texas politician said successful a statement. "I therefore entity to and disapprove of these appropriations." 

However, it is improbable that the authorities lawmakers volition beryllium missing their funds that overmuch erstwhile the fund launches connected September 1, arsenic lawmakers lone person $600 per period via Article 10. Instead, a fig of individuals who enactment retired of the Capitol volition beryllium impacted, specified arsenic legislative staffers, enactment services and different individuals who were not elected, and bash not marque authorities laws.   

The veto was panned by a fig of individuals who questioned the constitutionality of his veto. Even chap Republicans took contented with the move. 

"My interest is however it impacts staff, particularly those who unrecorded present successful Austin, which is not an inexpensive spot to unrecorded and rise your household and children," House Speaker Phelan, who was a erstwhile legislative staffer himself, told the Texas Tribune. "And the agencies it impacts — Sunset, Legislative Reference Library, Lege Council — I’m conscionable acrophobic however it impacts them due to the fact that they weren’t the ones who decided that we were gonna interruption quorum, it wasn’t their decision, right?" 

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