Jul 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Harris: Texas House Democrats' protest shows "extraordinary courage"

Photo of Kamala Harris speaking and gesturing with her hands
Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Harris on Monday applauded Texas House Democrats who fled the state in protest of Republicans' proposed voting restrictions.

Why it matters: Texas' partisan tussle represents a broader fight over voting rights taking place in state legislatures across the country, as well as in the federal government.

What she's saying: At a voting rights event in Detroit, Harris said the Democrats were "showing extraordinary courage and commitment."

  • "I applaud them standing for the rights of all Americans and all Texans to express their voice through their vote, unencumbered," Harris said. "I will say that they are leaders who are marching in the path that so many others before did, when they fought and many died for our right to vote."
  • "Fighting for the right to vote is as American as apple pie," she added.

State of play: In Texas, Republicans in both chambers have introduced bills that would ban drive-through and 24-hour voting options and expand access for partisan poll watchers, among other provisions.

  • The House is set to reconvene Tuesday morning, but with at least 51 of the 67 Democrats leaving the state for D.C., there will not be enough members present to conduct business under House rules, according to the Tribune.

Worth noting: Breaking quorum to prevent legislation from advancing is rare, and the representatives risk being arrested and forced to return to the Capitol if state Republicans ask the Texas Department of Public Safety to track them down, Axios' Jacob Knutson writes.

What to watch: In D.C., Texas Democrats plan to demand that Congress pass the For the People Act and "save our democracy," state Rep. James Talarico tweeted.

The big picture: Harris met with Texas Democrats last month after they staged a walkout to block a restrictive elections bill in the regular session, per the Tribune.

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