In response to the move by Texas Democrats to leave the state amid a high-stakes battles over voting laws, high-ranking Republicans have spoken out against their colleagues.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has made tightening election rules a priority, accused the Democrats of abandoning their responsibilities.
“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,” reads a statement from Abbott. “As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state.”
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan vowed to “use every available resource under the Texas Constitution and the unanimously passed House Rules to secure a quorum to meaningfully debate and consider” the bills that were on the agenda.
“These actions put at risk state funding that will deny thousands of hard-working staff members and their families a paycheck, health benefits, and retirement investment so that legislators who broke quorum can flee to Washington DC in private jets,” he wrote in a statement. “The special session clock is ticking – I expect all members to be present in our capitol in order to immediately get to work on these issues.”
However, the lawmakers have also attracted support from Democrats across the nation, including Vice President Kamala Harris who praised them during a voting rights “listening session” Monday in Detroit and said that they were showing “extraordinary courage and commitment.”
“I applaud them for standing for the rights of all Americans and all Texans to express their voice through their vote unencumbered,” she said. “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.”