Texas’ Republican House Speaker announced that he plans to charter a plane that will be on “standby” in Washington, D.C. waiting to bring home Democratic lawmakers that fled the state to avoid voting on an election integrity bill.
“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.”
Earlier this week, a group of Democratic lawmakers fled Austin, Texas and flew to the nation’s capital instead of participating in a quorum vote on a bill proposed by Republicans that would strengthen voter ID requirements for mail-in ballots and ban drive-thru and overnight early voting.
“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,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement at the time. “As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state.
Without the chamber quorum, Republicans have been unable to act on the legislation and voted on Tuesday to order state law enforcement officials to track down the fugitive members.
— Texas Democrats (@texasdemocrats) July 15, 2021
In addition to chartering the plane, Phelan also stripped El Paso Democrat Joe Moody of his leadership post, which the Democrat addressed in a Twitter post.
“The most important titles in my life will never change: Dad, Husband, El Pasoan,” Moody tweeted. “Nothing political has ever even cracked the top three, so nothing has changed about who I am or what my values are.”
While in Washington, D.C., the dozens of on-the-run Democrats have been meeting with Democratic lawmakers and the official Twitter account of Texas Democrats posted on Thursday that they “refuse to go back.”