Texas Democrats staged a walkout late last week to prevent the state’s House of Representatives without a quorum to pass the bill. The walk-out, however, does not provide Democrats the ability to permanently block the legislation.
"Today, Texas House Democrats stand 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," a handful of Texas lawmakers said in a statement Monday.
"We are now taking the fight to our nation’s Capital," they added. "We are living on borrowed time in Texas. We need Congress to act now to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to protect Texans – and all Americans – from the Trump Republicans’ nationwide war on democracy."
So is COVID nonexistent on a plane if it’s filled with Democrats abandoning their jobs? https://t.co/fkGqGgxG2c
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) July 13, 2021
Now they have decided to up the ante and claim that some of the Democrats have tested positive for Covid-19 after images of them flying in a private jet with no masks have surfaced.
Texas State. Rep. Briscoe Cain slammed the dozens of Democrats who fled the state capital earlier this week and claimed that the positive COVID-19 tests are just a “gimmick” to avoid doing any “work.”
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 17, 2021
"It’s disingenuous, they’re lying and they are playing games with the people of Texas," Cain, a Republican and chair of the House Elections Committee, told Fox News.
"I say prove it," Cain said. "I think it’s an excuse to avoid coming back. They want a reason to do a 14-day quarantine; they don’t want to come back and do their jobs. If they really have it, prove it."
"Anyone that reads it," Cain said about the controversial voting rights bill that prompted the lawmakers to flee to Washington, D.C. earlier this week citing claims that the bill would suppress voting rights, "realizes it doesn’t criminalize mistakes, it expands voting access, it expands hours, and protects our elections. That’s it."
Cain said that ultimately Democrats will have no choice but to return to Texas and because of their "bad faith" actions there is "no reason to negotiate with them" and he hopes the legislature can pass an even stronger bill when they return.
Cain claimed that at least three of the fleeing lawmakers privately admitted that there was no voter suppression in the bill but left the capital anyway and publicly stated that there was.
It is unclear when the group of Democrats is planning to return to Texas amid growing frustration from Republicans. Earlier this week, Texas’ Republican House Speaker, Dade Phelan, announced he was chartering a plane in Washington in order for Democrats to return.
"I am demanding all of our colleagues in D.C. to contact my staff immediately in order to secure their seat on the plane and return to Austin in order to do the state's business," Speaker Dade Phelan said in a statement. "The State of Texas is waiting."