Texas Congressional Democrats engaged in a ridiculous political stunt to avoid voting on an election integrity bill. That decision may cost one of them their freedom.
Texas state House Speaker Dade Phelan has issued an arrest warrant for Rep. Philip Cortez, the Washington Examiner reported. Cortez was part of the cohort of over 50 Democratic lawmakers who fled to Washington, D.C., earlier this month.
The lawmakers fled to prevent a quorum on a special session ordered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He had convened the session to debate a pair of bills, Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 3, to tighten election procedures, outlawing abominations like drive-thru voting and requiring more stringent ID measures for mail-in balloting.
Instead of hashing out the finer points through state congressional procedures, Democrats opted for a political stunt to stop business altogether in the House, though the Senate bill did pass. While all of the lawmakers have put politics before their state’s interest, Cortez played a particularly childish game.
Cortez had returned to the Texas State Capitol to attempt “good faith dialogue” with his Republican opponents on the election integrity legislation. However, he quickly fled the state for a second time to join the other lawmakers, prompting Phelan to call for his arrest.
“After discussions on improving House Bill 3 have not produced progress, I have rejoined my Democratic colleagues in Washington, D.C. ,” Cortez claimed as his reason for leaving again. “I stand firm in my resolve to remain with the Democratic Caucus until the special session ends and to do whatever it takes to fight for the freedom to vote for all Texans,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
This did not sit well with Republicans whose trust he has now “irrevocably broken” after leaving for the second time. “As a condition of being granted permission to temporarily leave the House floor, Rep. Cortez promised his House colleagues that he would return,” Phelan said of Cortez. “Instead, he fled the state.”
While out of state, Texas has no jurisdiction to follow through on this arrest. However, when Cortez and the others eventually return, they’ll have to face the consequences of what they’ve done — though they’ll likely stay in Washington through August to run out the clock on the special session.