“And so really this is just a witch-hunt, it’s a witch-hunt that is aimed at people of color,” said Texas state Representative Jessica González.
The Democratic walkout effectively put Senate Bill 7 on hold, which would tighten statewide election laws. The proposed amendments include banning drive-through voting, restricting mail-in voting and barring early voting on Sundays before 1 p.m. when many Black churchgoers cast their ballot.
“My Democratic colleagues have been masterful in their use of the rules to kill bad bills,” said Texas state Representative James Talarico.
In response, Governor Greg Abbott threatened on Twitter to veto article 10 of the passed budget, which funds the legislative branch.
He wrote, “no pay for those who abandoned their responsibilities,” adding “stay tuned.”
“The Democrats should not have walked out. If you’re an elected official, you don’t get to go home because you lose a vote,” said Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
On Tuesday aboard Air Force One, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to the news.
“The Texas legislation is part of a concerted attack on our democracy being advanced in statehouses across the country. On the basis of the same repeatedly disproven lies that lead to the assault on our nation’s capital on January 6th,” said Jean-Pierre.
This comes the same day as President Joe Biden announced Vice President Kamala Harris would be overseeing efforts to protect voting rights by working with the private sector, community organizations, and advocating for the passage of two laws in the Senate.
“The work ahead of us is to make voting accessible to all American voters, and to make sure every vote is counted through a free, fair, and transparent process. This is the work of democracy,” Harris said in a statement.
More than a dozen GOP-led states have now approved election overhaul bills following former President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread election fraud.
Texas Democrats threw their ‘hail Mary pass’ at the eleventh hour to avoid joining that list.
“They were going to shut off debate and stifle our voices and ram the bill through. And when it became clear that they were going to pull that nuclear grenade, if you will, our members left and denied them that opportunity,” said Chairman of the Texas House Democratic caucus Chris Turner.
Abbott continues to label the measure a must-pass emergency item. NewsNation reached out to his office, and they declined to comment.
Lawmakers are anticipating some form of resolution to happen during a special session, but it’s unclear when that would be.