A group of Texas Democrats made headlines this week for absconding to Washington, D.C., to stop an election reform bill from passing.
Now, President Joe Biden has announced that he plans to meet with the state lawmakers this week, effectively placing his seal of approval on the partisan stunt.
Biden “applauds” Texas Dems
Biden’s endorsement echoed an aggressive speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this week that loosely compared GOP efforts to stop voter fraud to the Civil War.
In remarks to reporters aboard Air Force One, a White House spokesperson said that the president “applauds” the “courage” shown by the more than 50 Democrats who fled Texas as part of a plan to deny the legislature a quorum.
A number of prominent progressives have showered praise on the Texas Democrats — particularly those who complain that Biden has not done enough to expand voting rights.
The president has also faced mounting pressure to support efforts that would end the Senate filibuster, thereby clearing the way for Democrats to force through their agenda without GOP support.
His approval of the move by dozens of Texas Democrats suggests he might be prepared to take, or at least support, more direct actions meant to undermine statewide election integrity measures.
“They will be arrested”
For their part, the state lawmakers could shut down the state legislature for the remainder of its current session, which is set to end next month. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has threatened to arrest them upon their return to the state.
“As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” he said.
Meanwhile, Biden delivered a partisan speech in Philadelphia to portray Republican-backed election laws as an existential threat to the nation.
He slammed the Texas bill as tantamount to “voter suppression” and an attempt to “intimidate voters and impartial poll workers,” making it “so hard and inconvenient” to vote that many Americans simply would not cast a ballot.
“We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War,” the president added. “That’s not hyperbole, since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on January the 6th.”