Fugitive Texas Dems take their kids to meet senators at the Capitol on their second day on the run


During Texas Democratic lawmakers’ second day in Washington D.C., the group met with Senator Elizabeth Warren at the Capitol – and some towed their children along with them.

At least two Texas House members brought their children with them when fleeing Austin to the nation’s capital this week.

A young girl joined her mother as the group was pictured speaking with Warren on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon. At one point she was being held by her mother, and then was pictured sitting on the floor and looking at a picture book with a puppy on the cover.

While none of the lawmakers were wearing face coverings, the young girl was. The FDA has not approved emergency use for the vaccine for children under 12-years-old.

On Tuesday morning, while leaving Washington Plaza Hotel for a press conference on Capitol Hill, a representative was seen walking hand-in-hand with her masked-up grade school-age son.

Around 60 Democrats fled the state on Monday to break quorum in order to stop the Texas House of Representatives from passing two Republican voting rights bills, which was passed by the State’s Senate on Tuesday.

The lawmakers say they are prepared to stay in D.C. until the end of the 30-day special session called by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, which still has 26 days remaining.

It is unclear how many children came along for the ride with their lawmaker parents or if they will also remain in Washington for that full time.

Texas Democratic lawmakers met with Senator Elizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill on Wednesday

One lawmaker brought to the Capitol her young daughter, who at one point sat on the ground to look at a picture book with a puppy on the cover

One lawmaker brought to the Capitol her young daughter, who at one point sat on the ground to look at a picture book with a puppy on the cover 

Progressive Senator Warren speaks to Texas state representatives in Washington D.C. – one woman can be seen holding her daughter during the visit

Progressive Senator Warren speaks to Texas state representatives in Washington D.C. – one woman can be seen holding her daughter during the visit 

Currently, the group is staying at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Northwest Washington, D.C., where rooms start at $199 per night. The high-end hotel, however, includes a luxurious outdoor pool, which is open for the summer.

Trey Martinez Fischer, one of the runaway Democratic representatives, said Tuesday that Texas Democrats, through campaign funds and other private fundraising efforts, are fully funding paying for the trip.

The group insists no taxpayer money has been spent on the $100,000 to charter two private jets to get from Austin to D.C. or the several thousand dollars per night to stay at the hotel.

Also on Tuesday, several of the lawmakers said they are not worried about threats that they will be arrested once stepping foot back in Texas.

Abbott slammed President Joe Biden on Tuesday night for ‘spreading disinformation’ with his speech saying GOP voting bills are ‘the most significant threat to democracy since the Civil War’. 

‘Biden has a pattern of spreading misinformation & he’s at it again today,’ Abbott said in a tweet. 

‘The [Texas Legislature] is passing a law that EXPANDS early voting hours & prevents mail-in ballot fraud. Texas is making it EASIER to vote & harder to cheat,’ he added.

The Texas Senate bill would allow voting from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. – an increase of three hours on weekdays and 10 hours on Sundays – and would lower the population threshold from 100,000 to 30,000 for counties to open the polling booths for at least 12 hours in the week before Election Day. 

Mail voters would also be asked to verify their identities with a state ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security number in a bid to get rid of signature verification that accounts for a higher number of rejected ballots.

Texas Democrats believe the two bills passing through the state legislature would make it harder to vote and fled the state in two private jets and headed to  Washington D.C. to block Republicans getting them through. 

‘Once again, President Biden ignores the facts,’ Abbott said in a video attached to his Tuesday evening tweet. ‘The fact is that Texas is passing a law that expands—not reduces—the hours of early voting.  

Texas Democrats exit the $200-a-night Washington Plaza hotel on Tuesday morning. A grade school-aged son of one of the lawmakers can be seen exiting with the group

Texas Democrats exit the $200-a-night Washington Plaza hotel on Tuesday morning. A grade school-aged son of one of the lawmakers can be seen exiting with the group

Texas' Republican Governor Greg Abbott late on Tuesday slammed President Biden for 'spreading disinformation' with his speech saying GOP voting bills are 'the most significant threat to democracy since the Civil War'

Biden attacked bids by states to change voting rights laws, blasting the 'threat to democracy' and vowing to project 'free and fair elections'

Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott late on Tuesday slammed President Biden for ‘spreading disinformation’ with his speech saying GOP voting bills are ‘the most significant threat to democracy since the Civil War’

‘That’s more than many states, including President Biden’s home state of Delaware, which has zero hours of early voting,’ Abbott added.

Biden has upped his rhetoric claiming the allegedly ‘restrictive’ voting bills, which are being proposed and passed across the country, are an ‘un-American’ throwback to Jim Crow laws.

The White House and Capitol Hill Democrats are using the latest stunt from Texas Democrats to push for the expansion of voting rights and access in the passage of H.R. 1, the For the People Act.

Democrats argue the law would increase access and expand the right to vote for minority and poor communities, while Republicans argue it opens the way for a slew of fraud – especially since the bill does include requiring identification in the form of government-issued ID to cast a ballot. 

The Texas state Senate approved their version of the election reform bill on Tuesday, but the legislation has been stalled because the House Democrats broke the quorum of having two-thirds of lawmakers present by fleeing.

Texas Democrats believe the two bills passing through the state legislature would make it harder to vote and fled the state in two private jets and headed to Washington D.C. to block Republicans getting it through

Texas Democrats believe the two bills passing through the state legislature would make it harder to vote and fled the state in two private jets and headed to Washington D.C. to block Republicans getting it through

Harris' full-throated support comes even as the Texas House voting to arrest them when they return home

Harris’ full-throated support comes even as the Texas House voting to arrest them when they return home

The House voted on Tuesday that the runaways would be arrested on their return to the state, but the group has vowed to stay in Washington, D.C. until the 30-day session is up. 

At best, the Democrats fleeing to the nation’s capital from Austin on two private jets chartered at $100,000 on Monday is just a delay tactic or PR stunt. After the special session is up on August 7, Abbott can just call another one. 

Biden on Tuesday launched an assault on attempts by Republican-controlled states to change voting rights laws, blasting them as a ‘threat to democracy’ and vowing to protect ‘free and fair elections.’

‘This is election subversion. It is the most dangerous threat to voting in the integrity of free and fair elections in our history,’ he said, speaking at the historic National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.  

Republicans say their new laws protect election security and argue the federal government shouldn’t be involved in a state issue. Democrats claim the state laws will make it harder to vote, particularly for minority groups, which tend to vote Democratic. 

In a 25-minute speech that traced the history of the voting rights movement, Biden veered between attacks on Donald Trump and Republicans who are undermining confidence in American elections and defending his own administration’s work on the voting rights.  

His speech came as faces criticism from Democrats, including some of his faithful supporters, that he has not done enough on the issue amid fears his party could lose control of the House and Senate in next year’s midterm election. 

Biden called on Congress to pass Democrats’ two key voting rights legislation, which are being held up by GOP lawmakers. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has called them ‘a craven political calculation’ that shows ‘disdain for the American people.’ 

But, in his remarks, Biden offered few solid ideas on how to counter the new round of state laws. He did not mention the Senate filibuster, which many of his Democratic allies want to be removed as an obstacle to federal voting rights legislation.

‘I’m not filibustering now,’ Biden said after his speech, when reporters asked him about the issue. 

Biden spoke at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, just steps from Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed

Biden spoke at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, just steps from Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed

President Biden spoke with supporters after his speech

President Biden spoke with supporters after his speech

Biden targeted Trump in his speech even as he did not mention his predecessor by name. But he made it clear who he was referring to as he denounced the ‘big lie’ along with the ‘bullies and merchants of fear and peddlers of lies.’

‘The Big Lie is just that – a big lie,’ he said, referring to Trump’s false claim that he won the 2020 election. Trump called Biden’s victory ‘the big lie’ and falsely claimed to be the victim of voting fraud. 

The crowd – nearly 300 people made up of local elected officials, national and local civil rights leaders, voting rights advocates, labor leaders and other officials – burst into applause. 

‘In America, if you lose, you accept the results, you follow the constitution,’ Biden said, referring to Trump’s continual attempts to cast doubt on the 2020 results. 

‘You try again. You don’t call facts fake, and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy. That’s not statesmanship. That’s selfishness,’ he added.

He also blasted a litany of events that he said hurt Americans’ right to vote, including poll taxes, literacy tests, terrorizing voters in the 1950s and 60s, and even a recent Supreme Court decision that weakened the Voting Rights Act. 

Biden made the case that the right to vote is the most essential, fundamental one to America’s democracy. 

‘Perhaps the most important of those things, the most fundamental of those things, is the right to vote freely, the right to vote fairly, the right to have your vote counted,’ he said.

‘It’s up to all of us to protect that right. This is a test of our time,’ he declared.

‘Time and again we’ve had further threats to the right to vote, free and fair elections, and each time we found a way to overcome,’ he said. 

He blasted the spate of state laws that have been passed restricting voting rights.  As of June 21, 17 states enacted 28 new laws that restrict access to right to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice

‘Republican members of the state legislatures are trying to pass 21st century Jim Crow laws,’ the president said in remarks at the National Constitution Center.

‘They want to make it so hard and inconvenient they hope people don’t vote at all. That’s what this is about,’ he noted. 

‘Have you no shame?,’ he asked those Republican state legislatures.  

He described the laws as ‘odious’ and ‘vicious.’ He praised civil rights groups that are challenging them in courts. 

And he called the state laws the most significant threat to democracy since the Civil War, adding that not even the Confederate Army breached the U.S. Capitol building, unlike the MAGA supporters on January 6th, who attempted to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election.

‘We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. Confederate back then never breached the Capital as insurrectionists did on January 6th. I’m saying not this to alarm but because you should alarmed,’ he said.

President Joe Biden greets people as he arrives to deliver his speech on voting rights

President Joe Biden greets people as he arrives to deliver his speech on voting rights

There were nearly 300 people in attendance and the audience as made up of local elected officials, national and local civil rights leaders, voting rights advocates, labor leaders and other officials

There were nearly 300 people in attendance and the audience as made up of local elected officials, national and local civil rights leaders, voting rights advocates, labor leaders and other officials

President Joe Biden talks with the Rev. Al Sharpton after his speech

President Joe Biden talks with the Rev. Al Sharpton after his speech

The voting rights battle across the US: Republicans and Democrats go head-to-head on way elections are run with new bills

Republicans and Democrats have gone to battle over how elections should be run at the state and federal level since the chaotic 2020 vote.

The Democrats are trying to pass the H.R.1 For The People Act, which expands voter registration, early voting, mail-in voting and introduces restrictions on campaign finance.

The GOP believes this would amount to a federal takeover of elections and has responded with a series of bills aimed at protecting voter integrity and security of elections at the state level.

In March, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called H.R.1 an ‘unparalleled political grab’ that would consolidate Democratic power.

Donald Trump has called the bill a ‘monster’ that cannot be allowed to pass and former vice president Mike Pence said it would ‘increase opportunities for election fraud, trample the First Amendment and further erode the confidence in our elections’. 

In the legislation proposed and passed in GOP-controlled states including Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia, voters would have to provide a valid drivers license or the last four digits of their social security in order to cast their ballot.

Voters would also have to fill out paperwork if taking someone who is not a relative to vote in person. The regulations would also prevent election officials from sending mail-in ballots to voters who haven’t asked for them. 

Republicans claim that expanded hours for voting, wider access to mail-in ballots, and other accommodations made for the pandemic led to extensive voter fraud.

Democrats say there is no evidence for that, and that the GOP, after losing the White House and Senate in the November vote, simply want to make it harder for many people.

The party believes the new measures would make it harder for African-Americans, Native Americans and others who tend to support Democrats, to participate in elections.

The fight over the restrictions has drawn comparisons with decades ago when laws were drawn up across the south to prevent black Americans from voting.

In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was signed, and prohibited racial discrimination in voting by outlawing literary tests and poll taxes.

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court upheld two provisions in Arizona that discarded votes cast at the wrong precinct on Election Day and made it illegal for an absentee ballot to be collected by anyone other then a postal worker, election official, voter caregiver, family member or household member.

The changes Republicans are pushing include:

Many states have permitted citizens, if not already registered to vote, to do so on election day with simple evidence of their residency in the state.

But the new legislation in some states demands they register early and do so with an official ID card like a driver’s licence. 

Democrats and civil liberties groups claim the ID requirements hit the poor more than others, and can result in a 2-3 percent fall in voter turnout.

The legislation in Florida would also stop people from going door-to-door to drum up votes. 

Mail-in voting:

Many states expanded voting by mail in 2020 to address the challenge of the coronavirus, but Republicans believe this lead to fraud. 

In the 2020 election the number of people who voted by mail more than doubled from four years earlier, resulting in many ballots being delivered late and not counted until days after election day.

It caused chaos in the aftermath of the November vote, with states including Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania not finishing their count for days and Joe Biden not being called the winner for almost a week.

Georgia cut in half the time allowed to obtain a mail-in ballot.

Arizona proposed to require that every mailed ballot be post-marked five days before an election.

Colorado and other states send mail-in ballots to every registered voter. In June Wisconsin’s Republican legislature voted to require anyone wanting a mail-in ballot to formally request it in writing, with a copy of their ID.

Georgia and other states have moved to limit the availability of drop-boxes for mail ballots.

Early voting limits:

Early in-person voting was expanded during the pandemic because of social distancing and to avoid lines at the polls on election day.

Legislators in some states are shortening the number of days and the hours for early voting. 

Democrats say it makes it difficult for people who work long hours to be able to vote and disproportionately impacts poor communities and minorities.

Help for voters:

On election day in Georgia last year voters in largely Democrat, African-American districts had to wait in line for hours. 

To help them with the long wait volunteers handed out water and snacks.

Georgia has banned people from providing snacks.

Republicans also want to prevent people from delivering ballots to election offices for those who cannot do so themselves. 

The Democrats believe this is tactic is being used to stop Native Americans who live on reservations from voting. A new law in Montana bans organized ballot collection on reservations.

Democrats’ desire

Democrats in Washington D.C. want to see federal legislation enacted to protect voting rights. 

Their ‘For the People’ Act would create a national automatic system for registering voters and established national standards for mail-in and absentee ballot.

In June, Senate Republicans blocked the legislation from moving forward in that chamber after the House approved it.

That June failure increased focus on the Senate filibuster, which requires any legislation to have 60 votes in order to move forward. 

If left in place, odds of the Democrats’ two voting rights measures – For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act – becoming law are slim. 

Many Democrats, including some Biden allies, have expressed frustration with the lack of White House push to reform the filibuster.

‘I’m not filibustering now,’ Biden said in Philadelphia after his speech, when he was asked about the issue.

Some Biden supporters point out he was elected with broad support from black voters, who are at most risk from the new state voting restrictions. 

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a longtime Biden ally, urged this week that the filibuster be modified for voting rights legislation. 

Clyburn told Politico if the Democrats’ two voting laws don’t pass Congress: ‘Democrats can kiss the majority goodbye.’ 

The Democrats’ second bill, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, would:

  • Create a pathway for citizens or the federal government to challenge new voter laws in the courts, particularly if parties can show the new law infringes on minority voting rights. 
  • Require public notice for any changes made to voting laws in a state or political subdivision. 
  • Provide new rules for polling places on Indian reservations that require states to pay for polling places at no cost to tribes. 
  • Require many categories of changes in state or local election procedures to go through a process called ‘preclearance’ — essentially, approval from the Justice Department’s civil rights division — before being implemented.    

Biden’s speech was intended as a call to arms as Democrats worry not enough is being done to counter the new state voting laws ahead of the midterm election.  

Democrats fear the new spate of voting rights laws will harm them at the voting booth in the 2022 contest, costing them control of the House and Senate. 

When it comes to voting rights, Biden is fighting a two-prong battle: on the state level where Republican-controlled legislatures are passing restrictive measures and on a national level, where he doesn’t have the numbers in the Senate to pass federal legislation. 

Many of those states passed the measures after Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, when former President Donald Trump falsely claimed he won and was the victim of voter fraud. 

Trump slammed Biden’s remarks, mocking Biden for saying in his speech that 150 million people voted. Nearly 158.4 million Americans cast ballots in 2020 with 81 million for Biden, 74 million for Trump and the rest for third-party contenders.

‘Biden just said 150 people voted in the 2020 Presidential Election (Scam!). On the assumption that he meant 150 million people, and based on the fact that I got 75 million+++, that would mean that Biden got 75 million votes, which is 6 million votes less than what they said they got. So what is that all about? Are they already conceding 6 million votes?,’ Trump said in a statement late Tuesday. 

And Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who is retiring, defending the new state voting laws: ‘Suggesting that election integrity measures such as voter ID and prohibitions on ballot harvesting are reminiscent of Jim Crow is false, offensive, and trivializes a dark period of actual systemic racism in parts of America. President Biden knows that the state laws he has attacked are in many cases less restrictive than that of his own home state of Delaware.’

The location of Biden’s speech on Tuesday has deep symbolic meaning. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed at Independence Hall, just steps away from the National Constitution Center. 

The center is also the location of where Barack Obama gave his famous ‘A More Perfect Union’ speech during his 2008 campaign, where he tackled the issue of race, America and a ‘more perfect union.’

On voting rights, Biden is balancing his struggle with the states with his own limitations in passing legislation on a national level. 

His administration is using other tools at its disposal. The Justice Department is suing Georgia for its new voting rights law, which critics say makes it harder for black people to vote. Attorney General Merrick Garland has hinted there may be more action to come. 

House Democrats, meanwhile, passed a sweeping voting rights bill in June but it failed in the 50-50 Senate, where all Republicans united to block it from moving forward.

The massive election overhaul bill was aimed at protecting and expanding voting rights and reforming campaign finance laws.

That June failure increased focus on the Senate filibuster, which requires any legislation to have 60 votes in order to move forward. If left in place, odds of the Democrats’ two voting rights measures – For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act – becoming law are slim.  

Many Democrats, including some Biden allies, have expressed frustration with the lack of White House push to reform the filibuster. 

Some Biden supporters point out he was elected with broad support from black voters, who are at most risk from the new state voting restrictions. 

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a longtime Biden ally, urged this week that the filibuster be modified for voting rights legislation. 

Clyburn told Politico if the Democrats’ two voting laws don’t pass Congress: ‘Democrats can kiss the majority goodbye.’ 

Biden met with civil rights activists at the White House last week but his focus has been on fighting the COVID pandemic, increasing the vaccination rate and passing a massive infrastructure bill. 

Donald Trump continues to push the false claim he won the election and sow seeds of doubt about election integrity in the United States

Donald Trump continues to push the false claim he won the election and sow seeds of doubt about election integrity in the United States

Texas Democratic State House members hold a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Texas Democratic State House members hold a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Trump blasted Biden’s Philadelphia trip in a bizarrely worded statement on Tuesday where he focused on an attempt by a lone Republican state lawmaker in Pennsylvania who is trying to audit the 2020 election. 

‘Philadelphia was a cesspool of corruption, which will soon be revealed by the audit. Why are they so concerned that a President, who never goes anywhere, would hop onto beautiful Air Force One and head to Philadelphia if it were an honest election?,’ Trump said.

Multiple audits in multiple states have confirmed Biden’s election victory and shown no evidence of voter fraud.   

While Biden pushing the issue in Philadelphia, the birthplace of democracy, he’ll have help in his public pressure campaign from a group of Texas Democrats, who fled their state on private jets Monday to keep the state legislature from passing new restrictive voting laws. 

The group of Texans were on Capitol Hill Tuesday to lobby for national voting legislation. 

Meanwhile Republicans in the Texas State House voted 76-4 to arrest the wayward Democrats but, by crossing state lines, they have escaped jurisdiction of Texas law enforcement. 

Texas House rules allow the sergeant-at-arms to arrest members who are not present at the Capitol for a vote – and the show of disapproval Tuesday could result in the lawmakers’ arrest when they land back in the Lone Star State.

The Tuesday vote doesn’t hold much weight as long as the Democrats remain in Washington since by crossing state lines they have escaped jurisdiction of Texas law enforcement.

‘If there are any House Sargent at Arms looking for me… I’m definitely in the Texas Capitol building, somewhere,’ one Democratic state representative tweeted in taunting his colleagues back in Texas on Tuesday.

Gene Wu continued: ‘Keep looking. Don’t stop.’

Shortly after, he followed up with another tweet saying: ‘Getting warmer…’

He was slammed by critics on Twitter who claim he is making light of the situation and basking in the attention from the fleeing stunt.

Despite the avoid tactic from Democrats, Governor Abbott can just call another session whenever they set foot back in Texas and make sure they attend by having law enforcement appointed by the Sergeant at Arms bring them to the State House.

Vice President Kamala Harris met with the group of lawmakers on Tuesday evening. 

It is not immediately clear if President Joe Biden plans to meet with them, but White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, when asked if he supports their decision: ‘He applauds their courage.’



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