Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan on Wednesday called on Democratic lawmakers across the state to forgo their daily allowance of $ 221 as they took refuge in Washington, DC to avoid passing a bill on voting reform.
At least 51 of the 67 Democrats in the State House boarded a private plane to the nation’s capital on Monday in an attempt to prevent a quorum and deny Republicans the chance to pass a controversial bill .
Nine more Democratic senators are believed to have joined House members in DC
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“As these Texas Democrats collect taxpayer dollars as they board private jets to meet Washington’s elite, those left in the chamber await their return to begin work to provide our teachers with retire a 13th check, protect our adopted children and provide taxpayer relief, ”Phelan said in a statement Wednesday. “Those who intentionally refuse the quorum must remit their daily allowances to the Public Treasury upon receipt. “
Texas Democrats traveled to Washington to meet with President Biden and encourage Congress to pass federal legislation prohibiting increased electoral regulations under the “For the People Act” and the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act” .
While members of the Texas House were unable to pass a voting reform bill in the special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott, Senate Republicans on Tuesday passed their version titled Senate Bill 1.
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Despite the departure of a number of Democratic senators from the special session for Washington, a quorum in the Senate was maintained with 22 of its 31 members present, allowing passage of the bill.
Some Democrats have dismissed the idea that their trip to Washington means they are not working.
“We are doing our job,” State Representative Chris Turner told Fox News on Tuesday. “We are working harder to do what we are doing right now than if we had stayed in the chamber and watched them go over a voter suppression bill in a party line vote.”
But not all Democrats from Texas to Washington have said they will keep the per diem amount allocated to lawmakers in a special session.
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“Representative Beckley will not accept any per diem payments and will reimburse any per diems paid to her each day she has not been in Austin since the quorum was broken,” her spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday. statement, adding that his office has been working since Monday to ensure that the proper documents are filed and that the money is returned to the state.
The special session called on July 8 by Abbott was scheduled to last 30 days, meaning Texas Democrats could stay in the nation’s capital for several weeks.
Hillary Vaughn contributed to this report.
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