The House vote on Friday likely marked the end of the drama that began in late May when, in the closing hours of the regular session of the Texas Legislature, members of the Democratic House fled the chamber to prevent Republicans to pass a similar bill.
Angry, Mr Abbott called a special session in early July, urging lawmakers to consider a bill as well as proposals to spend more money on border security, restrict the participation of transgender youth in interschool sports and to limit access to abortion, among other conservatives. priorities. More than 50 House Democrats, led by their progressive wing, staged two charter flights from Austin to Washington, where they were first greeted as heroes by Congressional Democrats in their joint struggle to enact new protections federal election.
Their momentum was short-lived.
In the days following their arrival, groups of House Democrats from Texas met with Vice President Kamala Harris and Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a key vote in the campaign to pass the bills. Federal Democrats Act. But before the end of their first week in the capital, several of Texas lawmakers tested positive for the coronavirus, turning their planned media tour and congressional lobbying campaign into a series of video conferences that did not attract many people. ‘Warning.
They remained settled in a hotel in downtown Washington, unable to use the pool because Republicans had posted a videographer on the bridge while waiting to film one of them appearing to violate their commitment to work tirelessly. for the right to vote.
In the hours following the end of the July special session, Mr Abbott called a second which was to start two days later. But the potential arrests of Democrats who failed to appear in the State House chamber, promised by Mr Abbott and the Republican leaders of the State House, did not materialize. By then, Democrats had quietly returned to the state, many going about their daily lives without incident.
Late last week, a small number of State House Democrats began returning to the State Capitol, ending the walkout and allowing House business to resume. As Texas Democrats celebrated their fight against the new voting restrictions, Republicans quickly adopted their proposals.
For all the energy the Democrats poured into their escape from Austin and their attempts to pressure Congress, the scene inside the Texas State House Thursday and Friday was largely an ordinary day of legislate, without fireworks or demonstrators in the gallery. Only a slightly larger number of television cameras hinted at the stakes of the vote.