More than 100 state legislators started flying into Washington, D.C. on Monday to join the runaway Texas Democrats in their pressure campaign on the federal government to address voting rights issues across the country.
The ‘week of action’, they are calling it, attempts to urge senators to forgo their August recess to instead pass the sweeping Democratic voting and election bill shot down by Senate Republicans earlier this year.
‘They shouldn’t take a recess,’ Florida State Democratic Senator Annette Taddeo told CNN the night before her flight from Miami to Washington. ‘Democracy comes first. My request is, recess can wait. Democracy can’t.’
Taddeo plans to spend three days in D.C. this week to lobby U.S. senators to postpone their recess until the For the People Act is passed. She said the Senate doesn’t have time ‘to play the long game’ when it comes to voting rights.
At least 18 states have enacted 30 new laws related to voter rights, according to a mid-July tally by progressive policy institute Brennan Center for Justice, which has been tracking state activity since January 1, 2021.
More than 100 state lawmakers will start arriving in Washington D.C. on Monday to join the group of runaway Texas Democrats (pictured on July 30) in their bid to lobby the Senate not to recess until they pass the For the People voting rights act
Two of the Democratic state legislators heading to D.C. are Florida Senator Annette Taddeo (left) and Arizona Representative Daniel Hernandez (right)
Arizona State Representative Daniel Hernandez told CNN he will be one of around a dozen state lawmakers flying in this week from his state.
Republicans in Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix, have been conducting yet another audit and recount of the 2020 presidential election ballots in the swing state Donald Trump lost by a close margin in November.
Since then, laws related to elections have been passed.
‘We made, I think, a really valiant effort to try to stop these really awful bills at the legislative level here in Arizona and in Texas and in Georgia,’ Hernandez said. ‘Now that we weren’t able to stop these bills at the legislative level in our different states, lawmakers across the country are flying to DC because there is nothing more important than protecting people’s right to vote.’
The Tucson Democrat explained voting rights is what got him into state politics more than a decade ago.
Georgia, Arizona and Florida are notably some of the states that are controlled by Republican legislatures and have local Democratic politicians traveling to D.C. to break with what their state is doing.
A group of around 60 Democratic lawmakers from Texas paved the way for this spectacle in the nation’s capital after they fled the Lone Star State last month to hide out in Washington, D.C. to stop the legislature from passing two voting reform bills.
The group boarded two private jets, chartered at $100,000, and flew from Austin to D.C.
Since then, they have been staying at the Washington Plaza Hotel in the northwest quadrant of the city since then, where each room goes for $200 per night, at least.
According to estimates, to stay through the whole session, which ends August 7, will cost the Texas Democrats around $1.5 million. But the group insists they are not using any taxpayer money for the trip.
A group of around 60 Texas Democrats boarded two private jets chartered at $100,000 last month to flee to Washington, D.C. in order to break quorum and block two Republican voting rights bills from passing
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he will continue to call special sessions until enough Democrats are present to reach a quorum and the voting rights legislation is passed.
‘I will keep calling Special Sessions until we address every emergency item—including funding for foster care, property tax relief & bail reform,’ Abbott tweeted last Monday.
He added: ‘The Democrats’ decision to break quorum inflicts harm on the very Texans who elected them to serve.’
Abbott has also threatened to have the Democrats arrested and compelled to appear for the legislative session once they step foot back in Texas.