Eric Gay / AP
TO clash in Texas over new voting restrictions that paralyzed the state Capitol for 38 consecutive days ended Thursday when some Democrats who fled to Washington, DC, gave up their resistance, paving the way for Republicans to resume pressure. election review.
Abruptly and disorderly, one of the few and longest quorum breaks in modern Texas history came to an end.
Instead of a unified and celebratory comeback by Democrats, some members raged and lashed out at their colleagues for what they criticized for breaking ranks.
Most of the more than 50 Democrats who fled to the nation’s capital in July remain estranged from the Texas Capitol, although Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan said there were enough to achieve a quorum, which in the Chamber are 100 legislators present. Growing impatience among Republicans had led to growing threats that missing lawmakers could face arrestBut officers never seemed to do more than leave warrants at Democrats’ homes.
The few who did return to the Texas House of Representatives defended their decision, saying they had successfully pushed Congress on voting rights legislation and pointing to the growing urgency of the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Texas.
“Now, we continue the fight in the House of Representatives,” Democrats Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernández and Armando Walle said in a joint statement.
Others made no secret of their frustration.
“We were literally in caucus calls for 2 hours this morning and none of the defending Democrats mentioned that they were planning to help Republicans pass voter suppression bills. Guess what the defending Democrats have accomplished by coming back … ANY!” Democratic State Representative Ana-Maria Ramos tweeted.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott now has an opportunity to divert attention to the Capitol and away from criticism and defiance from Texas’s largest cities and school districts for his handling of worsening COVID-19 numbers.
Abbott this week tested positive for COVID-19, though his office had said the 63-year-old governor has no symptoms.
It leaves Democrats in the same position as when the resistance began: unable to permanently stop the GOP-controlled Legislature from putting new limits and rules on how more than 16 million registered voters can cast their vote. And the federal voting rights protections that Texas Democrats lobbied for while in Washington still face a strong chance of circumventing Republican opposition in Congress.
Months of protests had put Texas Democrats at the center of a new national battle for the vote. Republicans in the US rushed to enact new voting restrictions in response to former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
Republicans are now back on track to pass new election laws in Texas before the current special session ends on September 5.