Abbott Announces Retaliatory Veto After TX Dems Stage Walkout On Restrictive Voting Bill

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Monday, May 18, 2020. Abbott said that childcare facilities, youth camps, some professional sports, and bars may now begin to fully or partially reopen their facilities as outlined by regulations listed on the Open Texas website. (Lynda M. Gonzalez/The Dallas Morning News Pool)
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 18: Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)
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May 31, 2021 3:21 p.m.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that he will veto the part of the state budget that funds the legislature, seeming retaliation for Texas Democrats’ walkout late Sunday that let them at least temporarily kill Republicans’ voting overhaul.

“No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities,” Abbott tweeted.

Democratic lawmakers slowly trickled out as the last day of the session inched towards midnight, all the remaining ones leaving around 10:30 p.m. local time, according to the Texas Tribune. They congregated at a nearby Baptist church, successfully running out the clock as their absence deprived the House of having the quorum needed to vote.

Abbott has called for the legislation to be passed in a special session.

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“Whether it’s in a regular session or a special session, we will be here and we will fight,” said state Rep. Rafael Anchia (D) during a Monday press conference of Democratic state lawmakers.

Some Democrats, including former HUD Secretary JuliΓ‘n Castro and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), have used the temporary reprieve from the sweeping voting law overhaul β€” that would curtail early voting hours and add restrictions to voting by mail β€” to re-up calls for the U.S. Senate to eliminate the filibuster and pass voting rights safeguards.

“When Democrats stand up and fight, we win,” O’Rourke wrote on Twitter. “Texas House Democrats β€” in the minority β€” proved that when they defeated a voter suppression bill last night. U.S. Senate Democrats β€” who are in the majority! β€” must stick together for our democracy and pass the For the People Act.”

House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will bring the For the People Act to the floor the week of June 21, he said last week. Currently, the bill seems unlikely to become law given the 60-vote threshold to break the filibuster and lack of Republican support. Anti-filibuster activists are hoping that the legislation puts pressure on Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to gut the filibuster and clear the path for the democracy reforms.

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