Texas Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan said he will charter a plane on Saturday for state Democrats to return from Washington, D.C., after they fled to avoid a vote on an election reform bill.
“I am demanding all of our colleagues in D.C. to contact my staff immediately in order to secure their seat on the plane and return to Austin in order to do the state’s business,” Phelan said in a statement.
“The State of Texas is waiting.”
— Dade Phelan (@DadePhelan) July 15, 2021
Phelan also released a statement on Twitter Thursday noting Texas Democrats in Washington “continue to collect their legislative per diem of $221 during regular and special session, which equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars during the course of this special session.”
— Dade Phelan (@DadePhelan) July 14, 2021
“A number of House Democrats stated their caucus intends to break quorum in an attempt to stall election integrity legislation,” Phelan said in a Monday statement. “These actions put at risk state funding that will deny thousands of hard-working staff members and their families a paycheck, health benefits, and retirement investment so that legislators who broke quorum can flee to Washington D.C. in private jets.”
“The Texas House will use every available resource under the Texas Constitution and the unanimously-passed House Rules to secure a quorum to meaningfully debate and consider election integrity, bail reform, benefits for retired teachers, Child Protective Services reform, Article X funding, and the other important measures Gov. Abbott placed on the special session agenda,” he added.
“The special session clock is ticking — I expect all Members to be present in our Capitol in order to immediately get to work on these issues.”
— Dade Phelan (@DadePhelan) July 12, 2021
The runaway Democrats have announced they will not take Phelan up on the offer.
“The Speaker should save his money. We won’t be needing a plane anytime soon as our work to save democracy from Trump Republicans is just getting started,” they said in a shared statement, according to The Texas Tribune.
“We’re not going anywhere and suggest instead the speaker end this charade of a session, which is nothing more than a monthlong campaign for Gov. Abbott’s re-election. The speaker should adjourn the House Sine Die,” they added.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer announced on Tuesday he would meet with the Texas Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C.
“In Texas, where the Republican governor has called a special session to reconsider one of the most restrictive laws in the nation, Democrats are doing all they can to block the dangerous partisan bill,” Schumer said from the Senate floor, according to The Hill.
“They are brave, they are bold, they are courageous and history will show them on the side of right,” he added.
“I will be meeting with a group of them today to plot out strategy and to praise them for what they are doing.”
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