Texas House Democrats in D.C. call on Congress to pass ‘For The People Act’
Governor Abbott threatens to have Democratic lawmakers arrested
(KWTX) - In a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Texas House Democrats who fled the Lone Star State in a bid to derail a new Republican elections law, called on Congress to pass the “For The People Act” to protect the voting rights of Texans and Americans.
“We want to protect the civil right to vote for millions of Texans. We were quite literally forced to move, leave the state of Texas,” said Texas Representative Rhetta Bowers, a Houston democrat.
“We are living on borrowed time and we can’t stay here indefinitely to run out the clock to stop the bills. That’s why we need Congress to act now,” Bowers said.
Meantime, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is threatening to arrest Texas Democrats who fled to Washington D.C. “As soon as they come back into the state of Texas they will be arrested. They will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” Abbott said.
About two hours after Democrats held the news conference in D.C., Republicans in the Texas House voted to send law enforcement to track the Democrats who fled the state.
Democrats are using a rarely-deployed tactic that involves the minority party blocking legislation by depriving the majority party of quorum in the state legislature.
The democrats employed the same tactic in late May when they walked off the floor for a couple of hours to kill a similar voting bill before a midnight deadline. Abbott then called for a special legislative session to resume the effort to pass the election bill and other legislative proposals.
Texas House Bill 3 and Texas Senate Bill 1 would ban drive-thru voting, 24 hour voting options, and further restrict voting-by-mail in Texas. The Texas Tribune reports House and Senate committees advanced the legislation over the weekend.
State Representative Toni Rose, first vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, claims HB 3 puts deliberate barriers on voting to make it harder for Texans to cast a vote.
“HB 3 is attack on voter’s freedoms and democracy, and even with two ruthless provisions removed, the bill makes it harder for Texans to vote and easier for partisan poll watchers to harass people,” Rose said.
“We are sad for democracy in the state of Texas, and we took a solemn oath to protect the constitution of the United States and to protect the constitution of the state of Texas,” said Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia, a Dallas democrat and chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.
“That is why we stand united before you here today in preserving not only the democracy in Texas, but the democracy in the United States.”
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