Texas Gov. Abbott Blasts Fleeing Dems Blocking Election Reform

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a border security briefing with sheriffs on July 10 in Austin, Texas

Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott (Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images)

Texas Democrats officially fled the state Capitol to break the quorum in a special session to address election integrity legislation.

GOP Gov. Greg Abbott called out Democrats' "partisan political games," and mocked the hypocrisy of climate-change activist liberals fleeing "on cushy private planes."

"It's time to get back to work," Abbott tweeted Monday, saying fleeing Democrats abandoned the people they were elected "to serve."

The tweet also linked to a full statement issuedby the governors press office.

"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," the Abbott statement began. "As they fly across the country on cushy private planes they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state."

Abbott noted Democrats might have the intention of blocking election integrity measures, but they also abandoned important work on issues like:

  • Property tax relief.
  • Funding to support Sheriffs and law enforcement in high crime areas.
  • Funding for children in foster care.
  • Funding for retired teachers.

"The Democrats must put aside partisan political games and get back to the job they were elected to do," Abbott's statement concluded. "Their constituents must not be denied these important resources simply because their elected representative refused to show up to work."

Texas state Democrats bolted for Washington, D.C., on Monday with the intention to remain there for weeks in a second walkout to protest Republican-backed election reform.

There are 67 Democrats in the Texas House of Republicans planning to flee and a large group was leaving Austin on private planes, enough to deny the GOP majority a quorum to pass legislation in the Abbott-called special session.

"This is a now-or-never for our democracy," Democrat state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer said.

"We are holding the line in Texas. We've left our jobs, we've left our families, we've left our homes, because there is nothing more important than voting rights in America."

Democrats fled to Washington to pressure President Joe Biden and the Democrat-led Congress to pass federal election laws, usurping the constitutionally written authority that was assigned to the states.

Biden plans an election law address Tuesday in Philadelphia.

This walkout is the first time since 2003 Texas Democrats fled to break the quorum. 

Texas' election integrity measures sought to:

  • Ban drive-thru voting.
  • Bolster voter ID requirements to absentee ballots.
  • Ban mass mailing mail-in ballot applications to voters.

Other special sessions agenda items from the governor included:

  • Banning critical race theory being taught in public schools.
  • Banning transgender students from playing girls' sports.

Abbott has the authority as governor to keep calling for 30-day special sessions until laws are passed. Also, during the last walkout in May that led to the special session, Abbott vetoed paychecks for 2,000 Capitol employees that will take effect in September, barring legislation being passed.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report

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