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Democrats' Austin exit prompts comments along party lines

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 19:41:30-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The departure of the Democrats from Austin to Washington comes as other items up for discussion have been temporarily shelved.

Among them are critical race theory, bail reform, border security funding, social media censorship and a bill aimed at transgender youth in sports.

Gov. Greg Abbott reacted forcefully in his statement on the Democrats' decision to break quorom.

The governor issued that statement Monday after Texas House Democrats "abandoned their responsibilities."

The governor also said the Texas Democrats' decision to leave Austin "inflicts harm on the very Texans who elected them to serve."

Abbott's statement also said Texas Democrats "fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state."

The governor says Democrats must put aside what he called "partisan political games and get back to the job they were elected to do."

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn pulled no punches during his speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

The Texas Republican called the lawmakers' move a political stunt.

"They got on two chartered jets, maskless with at least one case of lite beer and hopped on the jets to come to Washington, D.C."

He also said the Democrats' ideals ran counter to those in Texas.

"As Texans, standing up to a fight is part of who we are even if you know in the end you may not prevail," Cornyn said. "But, instead, they turned their backs, hopped on a private jet, and ran from this fight."

Sen. Cornyn's comments did not go unnoticed by the Texas Democratic lawmakers who are in Washington, D.C.

"Our two U.S. Senators wrote the book on publicity stunts," said State Rep. Chris Turner (D-Fort Worth), the chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus. "And what I would say to Senator Cornyn is we'd encourage him to work in a bipartisan manner as the people of Texas elected him to do to pass voting rights legislation to protect 30 million Texans that he says he represents."

The Texas lawmakers arrived in Washington as President Biden made a plea to Congress and the nation to safeguard the right to vote for all Americans.

Those Texas Democrats are now looking to Washington, where Congress is wrestling with national voting rights legislation.

it comes as President Biden issued his most forceful warning about new voting restrictions passed in at least 17 states.

"The denial of full and free and fair elections is the most unAmerican thing that any of us can imagine," Biden said. "The most undemocratic - the most unpatriotic - yet sadly - not unprecedented."

Vice president Kamala Harris will meet with the Texas Democrats sometime this week.

The White House wouldn't say if the president will meet with them as well.