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The Texas State Capitol in Austin. Photo: Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images

Dozens of Texas House Democrats vowed after fleeing to D.C. Monday night they would stay away from the state until they had achieved their goal of blocking Republicans from passing new voting restrictions.

Why it matters: Instead of attending a special legislative session, the Texas House Democrats headed to D.C. Breaking quorum to prevent legislation from advancing is rare, and the representatives risk being arrested and forced to return to the Capitol.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Flashback: More than 50 Texas House Democrats left the state in 2003 to block a redistricting proposal supported by Republicans, though the effort ultimately failed.

Texas House Democrats also briefly broke quorum in May to block the passage of a sweeping restrictive voting bill right before the end of the regular session.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in turn vetoed funding for the legislature and requested a special session, which started July 8.
  • Committees in both chambers of the legislature advanced two sweeping bills Sunday that would reform numerous aspects of the state's election system, including banning certain forms of voting, heavily restricting other forms and adding new identification requirements.

What they're saying: Chris Turner, Texas House Democratic caucus chair, said at a news conference after landing in the D.C. area Monday night: "We are determined to kill this bill in this special session that will end on August 7. We will stay out until then in order to do that."

  • Texas Democratic leaders said in a statement earlier Monday that they stood "united in our decision to break quorum and refuse to let the Republican-led legislature force through dangerous legislation that would trample on Texans’ freedom to vote."

The other side: Abbott issued a statement saying that breaking quorum hurts Texans.

  • "As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state," he said.

What's next: To block the legislation, the lawmakers will have to stay away for the remainder of the special session.

  • But Abbott "could continue to call 30-day sessions or add voting restrictions to the agenda when the Legislature takes on the redrawing of the state’s political maps later this summer," the Texas Tribune notes.

Go deeper: Lawyers, advocates reeling from SCOTUS voting rights decision

Editor's Note: This article has been updated with comment from Abbott and Turner.

Go deeper

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Sep 17, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Democrats approve of Iowa's proposed redistricting maps

A proposed congressional map from LSA. Photo courtesy of LSA.

Iowa's first round of proposed redistricting maps are out, showing the possible distribution of political power at the legislative and Congressional levels for the next 10 years.

State of play: Democrats are already giving the new maps — drawn by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency — a thumbs up.

Yes, but: Republicans are in control at the state level and get the ultimate say if this map stays or goes. Analysts say it's likely a no-go because they have little to gain, especially if Dems can pick up Hinson's seat.

  • "It's going to be a tough sell," tweeted Dave Wasserman of Cook Political Report.
  • If they don't approve it, LSA has 35 days to present a new map.

Redistricting details:

  • IA-1 turns into a reliably blue district (38.7%-D vs. 28.6%-R), setting up Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson for a precarious election. The new lines group together largely urban Linn, Johnson and Scott counties.
  • IA-2 becomes marginally redder (35%-R vs. 32.8%-D).
  • IA-3, repped by Cindy Axne, Iowa's sole Democrat in Congress, remains competitive (36.3%-D vs. 33.9%-R).
  • IA-4 stays deeply red (45.2%-R vs. 24%-D).
Miriam Kramer, author of Space
3 hours ago - Science

All-civilian Inspiration4 is back on Earth after flight to space

A side-by-side of the Inspiration4 crew and a shot of their capsule on the way back to Earth. Photo: SpaceX

The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew is back on Earth after their three-day mission in orbit.

The big picture: The launch and landing of this fully amateur, private space crew marks a changing of the guard from spaceflight being a largely government-led venture to being under the purview of private companies.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.