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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Texas Democrats Meet With Senators on Voting Rights

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Day 2 of the Texas Democrats’ marketing campaign in Washington to strain Congress to enact federal voting rights protections was very like the primary: full of conferences with supportive senators, cable tv appearances and a information convention.

This time, it was Democratic state senators who stood earlier than cameras on Wednesday inside a convention room at a Washington lodge — the occasion was moved indoors from exterior the Capitol to keep away from the noon warmth — to reiterate their pledge to stay exterior Texas till the state’s particular legislative session expires subsequent month.

The contingent of reporters who gathered for the occasion was far smaller than the press corps that congregated exterior the Capitol a day earlier to see Texas state representatives at their first look in Washington.

The Democratic state senators echoed their State Home colleagues, who’ve blocked Republicans from doing enterprise by denying a quorum to function, in arguing that they had been in Washington on a working journey, not a trip, as Republicans have portrayed the journey. The State Home Democrats got here to Washington in an effort to cease Republicans from enacting new restrictions to voting legal guidelines in Texas; the social gathering’s state senators didn’t deny a quorum in that chamber as a result of 4 of their colleagues stayed in Austin.

“We’re not fleeing,” mentioned State Senator Royce West, one of many lawmakers who spoke in Washington. “We’re working right here at this time.”

State Senator Carol Alvarado, the chairwoman of the Texas State Senate Democratic Caucus, mentioned that the group had a “very intimate” assembly on Tuesday afternoon with Vice President Kamala Harris. Different members of the group talked about that that they had met with sympathetic Democratic senators like Chuck Schumer of New York, the bulk chief, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

A delegation of Texas Democrats has a gathering scheduled for Thursday with Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, the primary session they may have with a senator who has not already dedicated to passing Democrats’ main federal voting rights payments with a easy majority slightly than requiring a 60-vote threshold. One of many payments, the For the Folks Act, would create sweeping new federal protections for voting, whereas a narrower invoice, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, would restore key components of the Voting Rights Act that had been struck down by the Supreme Courtroom in 2013.

State Consultant Chris Turner, the chairman of the Texas Home Democratic caucus, mentioned he was making an attempt to arrange conferences with Republican senators and different Democratic senators who haven’t dedicated to bypassing the 60-vote threshold to enact federal voting rights laws.

There isn’t any indication any Senate Republicans are sympathetic to the Texans’ arguments. And on Wednesday morning, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority chief, excoriated the state Democrats who fled.

“They’ve simply come right here to Washington to snap selfies, bask within the limelight and beg Senate Democrats to take over Texas elections,” Mr. McConnell mentioned. “This outrage is totally phony.”

In Texas, Dade Phelan, the speaker of the State Home, requested Democrats who left Austin to return their $221 per diem, and the State Senate, which stays in session, handed a sequence of payments on bail bond reform, property tax cuts and social media laws.

“The Senate goes to maintain passing payments,” mentioned State Senator Bryan Hughes, the chief architect of the Senate elections invoice. “All these components the governor placed on the particular session are vital to of us again residence, so we’re going to get them handed.”

Jen Psaki, the White Home press secretary, mentioned Wednesday that she didn’t have any particulars on a legislative technique for passing the Democrats’ federal voting rights payments.

David Montgomery contributed reporting from Austin, Texas.

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