Enough Democrats Return to Give Texas a Quorum

Voting restrictions legislation now is back in play in state House
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2021 7:25 PM CDT
Voting Curbs Are Back in Play After Democrats Return
From left, state Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston; Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston; and Rep. Ana Hernandez, D-Houston, enter the House chamber at the Texas Capitol in Austin on Thursday.   (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

For the first time since July, the Texas House had a quorum on Thursday, after a few Democrats returned from their stay in Washington. Democratic members had left the state to prevent the Republican-controlled House from passing election legislation that Democrats say would restrict participation. The end of the stalemate, in a special session called by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, sets the bill up for passage, the Washington Post reports. "It's time to get back to the business of the people of Texas," Speaker Dade Phelan said on the floor when the House convened, per the Texas Tribune. "I appreciate every one of you. I'm looking forward to working with you over the coming week or two." It was the longest stretch without a quorum—38 days—in the history of the Texas House.

In defending their return, the Democrats said they had pressured Congress to approve legislation to trump state voting restrictions while in Washington, which was a goal. "Now, we continue the fight on the House Floor," Democrats Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez, and Armando Walle said in a joint statement, per the AP. Fellow Democrats argued that and said they were blindsided. "We were literally on caucus calls for 2 hours this morning and none of the defecting Democrats mentioned they were planning on helping the Republicans pass voter suppression bills," Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos tweeted. "Guess what the other defecting Democrats have accomplished by going back—NOTHING!" The Texas Democrats seem to be in the same position as before the walkout, per the AP: able to slow but not stop GOP restrictions on voting. (More Texas stories.)

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