Texas Democratic lawmakers fled the state capitol in order to block election reform bills, opting to fly on private planes to Washington D.C. instead of doing their jobs.
Almost 60 out of 67 total Texas Democrat Representatives flew from Austin on private charter flights in order to skip out on voting to break quorum, a rule where a minimum number of Representatives must be present in order for a vote to take place. This is not the first time the group did this either, as on May 30 they walked out of the chamber during a legislative session on the same election bill.
A photo from the flight shows the lawmakers completely maskless, breaking federal rules that require face coverings while traveling.
As a result of the Texas democrats pulling the stunt again, Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned the lawmakers that upon return to the state, they would be arrested. Texas House of Representative rules allow the chamber to prevent lawmakers from fleeing their jobs by locking the chamber doors. In the case that they have already fled, law enforcement can arrest members to take them back to chambers to finish the vote.
“Texas Democrats’ decision to break a quorum of the Texas Legislature and abandon the Texas State Capitol inflicts harm on the very Texans who elected them to serve,” Abbott said. “As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state. Issues like property tax relief, funding to support Sheriffs and law enforcement in high crime areas, funding for children in foster care, and funding for retired teachers.”
After Abbott warned the lawmakers that they would be arrested and taken to the Capitol to do their job, Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson compared the threat of arrest to a slave escaping slavery.
To make matters worse, six of the lawmakers who went to the nation’s capitol have tested positive for COVID-19, worsening the already high criticism for traveling on a packed plane together without masks. A staffer for Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi who met with a group of the Texas lawmakers also has since tested positive. A group of them also met with Vice President Kamala Harris, although she has yet to come out as COVID-positive.
U.S. Representative Jim Jordan blasted the hypocrisy of the group on Twitter, writing, “Can you imagine the media outrage if Republican lawmakers left their state, maskless, on a private jet, met with the Vice President, and tested positive for #COVID19? “
In response to the Tweet, Texas Senator Ted Cruz wrote, “Fair point. CNN would be screaming “Blood on their hands—they want everyone to die!!!!”
Fair point. CNN would be screaming “Blood on their hands—they want everyone to die!!!!” https://t.co/R8PAS5AYow
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 19, 2021
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