The Texas Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C., are showing signs of division as some of their number returned to Austin, infuriating their colleagues.
At least four Democrats who returned to the statehouse on Monday were accused of undermining the rest of the conference by nearly granting the Republican majority a quorum to conduct business. If just five more lawmakers were present at the statehouse, Republicans would have been able to advance a controversial election security bill that Democrats sought to block by leaving the state.
“You all threw us under the bus today!” Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D) declared on social media. “Why?”
The four Democrats who returned to Texas are Reps. Joe Moody, James Talarico, Mary González, and Art Fierro. Moody is one of the Democratic leaders and the former speaker pro tem, a title that House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) had stripped from him last month as a disciplinary measure for breaking quorum.
In a follow-up tweet, Ramos called out three of those Democrats, accusing them of selling out the rest of the conference.
“Today @jamestalarico was one of those Texas Dems who showed up at the Capitol to help Republicans pass anti-voter bills,” Ramos said. “@jamestalarico was in DC 2 days ago with Dems and showed up in Austin with Republicans & @moodyforelpaso @RepMaryGonzalez to sell us out.”
On Monday, Talarico announced he had returned to Texas to “clean up [Gov.] Greg Abbott’s latest messes” and said he was confident the Democrats’ decision to go AWOL “shined a national spotlight on the TX voter suppression bill and pushed Congress closer to passing a federal voting rights act to override it.”
Hours before lawmakers met at the statehouse, a district judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s administration from following through on a promise to arrest any Democrats who returned to the state and drag them to the Capitol to make quorum so the legislature could open for business.
Some of the irate Democrats remaining in Washington, D.C., made note of this, criticizing the members of their “team” who went to the statehouse voluntarily even after a judge said they couldn’t be forced to show up for work and make quorum.
“I’ve said this before… it’s a Team Sport… now we see who plays what positions on the Team… The fact that some of us secured a Temporary Restraining Order to protect ALL of us, yet some are trying to please the Governor and His OPPRESSIVE Agenda?! JUST WOW! #txlege,” Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Dallas) tweeted.
“We have a vote this week in the US Senate on voting rights. They could at least wait until the vote. There’s nothing so pressing ar [sic] this moment to show up. Not to mention the restraining order allows you to be working in your district instead of on the floor against your district,” Crockett said.