TIME: Texas House Democrats Invoke the ‘Nuclear Option,’ Fleeing to D.C. to Stall Voting Restrictions
TIME: Texas House Democrats Invoke the ‘Nuclear Option,' Fleeing to D.C. to Stall Voting Restrictions
Close to 60 Texas House Democrats fled the state and were headed on two planes to Washington, D.C., on Monday to stall the passage of two controversial GOP-backed bills that would restrict access to voting across the state.
Texas House Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, one of the organizers of the trip, told TIME in a phone call shortly before the Democratic lawmakers’ flight that the group was heading to the capital to call on Congress “with courage and conviction” to ask the Senate to protect voting rights and pass the For The People Act.
By fleeing the state—and risking arrest—Texas House Democrats are denying their Republican colleagues the quorum needed to vote on the bills during a special session of the state legislature that is underway. It’s a temporary fix, Fischer admits, but he says they are trying to send a bigger message. “We are holding the line here in Texas,” he says. “If Republicans are silencing our voices here, they’ll do it anywhere in America and we’re going to stand up to that.” …
Voting rights advocates say the legislation being considered in the special session in Texas are largely the same as the bills that failed to pass during the regular session. The bills would “make it even more difficult to vote, especially for senior, disabled, and low-income Texans,” says Anthony Gutierrez, executive director for Common Cause Texas.