Days after flying to Washington, D.C. from Texas to avoid a vote on an election integrity bill and meet with Vice President Kamala Harris, three Democratic state lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19, even though they are reportedly fully vaccinated against the disease.
“Friday night, a Member of the Texas House Democratic Caucus tested positive for COVID,” Texas House Democrats said in a statement, according to The Daily Wire. “Saturday morning, two additional Members, each of whom are also fully vaccinated, tested positive on a rapid test.”
Photos of the Democrats on a chartered jet on Monday showed few wearing masks, though commercial airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are still requiring passengers to wear them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks in most instances, but has deferred to the TSA and other regulatory bodies when it comes to private businesses.
“Following all CDC guidance”
The Democratic delegation reportedly asked for people to respect “the privacy of Members and their personal health” despite the fact that their own members had posted the photos on social media.
“The House Democratic Caucus is following all CDC guidance and protocols,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Chris Turner claimed in a statement after the news of the infections broke, according to The Daily Wire.
“This is a sober reminder that COVID is still with us, and though vaccinations offer tremendous protection, we still must take necessary precautions,” Turner added. “We are in touch with public health experts in Texas to provide additional guidance. Our caucus will follow all recommendations from public health experts as we continue our work.”
Notably, the vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infections, but infections among the vaccinated are said to be mild and there have been few hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 reported in fully vaccinated individuals, reports note.
Will the vote happen?
In total, more than 50 Texas House Democrats had left the state earlier in the week to deny the chamber a quorum to hold a vote on an elections reform bill that Democrats have wrongly decried as “voter suppression,” along with other measures they disagreed with. The voting bill requires voters to show ID and limits the use of early voting and drop boxes in order to make sure they are secure and can’t be stuffed with fraudulent ballots.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called a special session of the state legislature after Democrats similarly left town to avoid a previous vote on the measure at the end of the regular legislative session.
The chamber voted overwhelmingly to send law enforcement after the Democrats to bring them back to the state to vote on the bill and others being presented there. It is against Texas law for legislators to leave the state to avoid a vote.
When Harris met with the lawmakers earlier in the week, she praised them for “doing this in support and defense of some of our nation’s highest ideals.” But try as they might to delay the inevitable, Republicans have the votes to pass the bill. Texas Dems need to admit defeat and go home so there can be a lawful and democratic vote on the measure.