State Watch

Clintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats

Texas House Democrats address reporters at the U.S. Capitol on July 13 after leaving the state to prevent a strong voting bill to be passed in the state house.
Greg Nash

The Texas House Democrats who fled their home state to deny Republicans a quorum to pass a sweeping elections reform bill on Thursday will meet with former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Georgia House Minority Leader and voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams.

The group of Texas lawmakers will sit down with Abrams, via Zoom, at 10 a.m., followed by a virtual meeting with the Clintons at 11 a.m., according to NBC News.

More than 50 Texas state House Democrats traveled to Washington, D.C., on July 12 in an effort to deny Republicans quorum to convene a special legislative session, where the sweeping elections bill would have been brought up.

Members of the caucus have been in the nation’s capital ever since, encouraging Congress to pass voting rights legislation on a federal level.

They reached a roadblock last week when five of the Democrats who fled to Washington tested positive for COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated.

The state Democrats have said their meetings with the Democratic heavyweights on Thursday come at a critical time, NBC News reported.

They said they will ask the Clintons to use their political capital to bolster their mission and that they will solicit advice from all three figures on how to move forward with their advocacy for federal voting legislation, according to NBC News.

“They both have so much wise counsel that they can provide for us. We’re hoping they can use their influence, as well,” Texas state Rep. Ron Reynolds (D) said of the Clintons, according to NBC News.

Reynolds also said the caucus is going to ask the Clintons “if they haven’t already, if they would personally call Sinema and Sen. Manchin.”

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.), two of the most moderate Democrats in the U.S. Senate, have both been steadfast in their opposition to reforming the legislative filibuster to pass voting rights reform.

Talks for voting rights reform have stalled in recent days as Congress turned its focus to passing an infrastructure package that President Biden helped negotiate.

Some members of the caucus told NBC News that they are frustrated they have not yet landed a meeting with Biden himself.

Both Clintons lauded the Texas Democrats and their efforts in advocating for voting rights in statements to NBC News.

“The fight to protect our voting rights is the fight to protect our democracy, so we stand with them and applaud their ongoing efforts to ensure our citizens have access to the ballot box,” Hillary Clinton said.

“What Texas Democrats are standing up against goes far beyond their own state — it is part of a much wider effort by Republicans nationwide to make it harder to cast a vote and have it counted, because they know they can’t win when the electorate matches America in its full diversity,” Bill Clinton said. “Hillary and I are inspired by the Texas Democrats and hope they will keep making what our dear friend John Lewis called ‘good trouble.’”

Tags Bill Clinton Clintons Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Lewis Kyrsten Sinema Quorum Texas Texas Democrats voting rights Voting Rights Act

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