AUSTIN, Texas: On Day 3 of Texas Democrats hunkering down in Washington to block tighter voting laws, Republicans back home settled into a new routine that boils down to turning the Democrats’ gambit into yet another advantage for the GOP in 2022.
With time and a commanding majority on their side, Texas Republicans who began the summer with a long to-do list aimed at pushing the state farther to the right were filling their sudden free time Wednesday hammering Democrats as obstructionists.
Despite being unable to pass any bills, GOP lawmakers promised to keep coming to work at the Texas Capitol. They say Democrats are blocking widely popular measures to lower property taxes and give teachers more money. And they are showing their resolve to eventually pass a new voting bill that includes a raft of changes that on the whole would make it harder to cast a ballot in Texas.
While these Texas Democrats collect taxpayer money as they ride on private jets to meet with the Washington elite, those who remain in the chamber await their return to begin work on providing our retired teachers a 13th check, protecting our foster kids, and providing taxpayer relief, Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan said.
In Washington, Texas Democrats were also settling into a new routine: meeting with members of Congress to press for action on voting rights at the federal level, but coming away with little signs of movement. President Joe Biden on Tuesday appeared to tacitly acknowledge the fading hopes for voting legislation, saying he would launch a nationwide campaign to arm voters with information on rule changes and restrictions ahead of the midterm elections.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the Texas Democrats from the floor of the Senate Wednesday, characterizing their flight to Washington D.C. as an effort to snap selfies, bask in the limelight, and beg Senate Democrats to take over Texas elections.
State legislators from Texas decided to grab some beer, hop on a private jet, and flee the state in what they are pretending is some great moral crusade, the Kentucky Republican said, later adding, the outrage is completely phony.
Outside the hotel where the contingent is living and working after flying to Washington on chartered planes Monday, about a dozen demonstrators held signs with messages that included Do your job! and Who paid for the private jet?
The legislators insisted multiple times that no taxpayer funds were being used. The entire trip, they said, was paid for through donations and out their own pockets.
The representatives also defended their decision to leave Texas, saying the move had already partially succeeded by shining a national spotlight on voting rights. More than a dozen states this year have already passed tougher election laws in response to former President Donald Trumps false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
We are not here on vacation, Democratic state Rep. Jose Menendez Id much rather be home with my family. We are here to do a job.
Republicans say the voting changes are needed to fight fraud. However, fraud is very rare, and Democrats say the measures target their supporters.