Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) pledged Monday that every Texas Democratic lawmaker who fled the state in an act of political theater would be promptly arrested upon their return to the Lone Star State.
What is the background?
Texas Democratic lawmakers organized the political stunt to block legislation that Texas Republicans say would strengthen the integrity of elections.
By fleeing the state, more than 50 Democrats elected to the Texas state House denied the legislature the two-thirds quorum required to conduct official business. The legislative session cannot move forward until the lawmakers return.
The Democrats chartered two private planes and traveled to Washington, D.C., where they planned to lobby Congress to pass the "For The People Act," a sweeping election reform bill championed by congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden.
What did Abbott say?
Speaking with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Abbott promised repercussions would be coming for Democrats once they return to Texas.
"What the law is, it's in the [Texas state] Constitution, and that is the House, the State House of Representatives who were here in the Capitol in Austin right now, they do have the ability to issue a call to have their fellow members who are not showing up to be arrested, but only so long as that arrest is made in the state of Texas," Abbott explained.
"That's why they have fled the state. Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas Capitol, and we will be conducting business," Abbott promised.
Earlier in the interview, Abbott called the stunt the "most un-Texan thing you've ever heard."
"It's really the worst thing you can say about a Texan: They're so afraid they're running away from a fight that they were hired by their voters to do," he said. "They were hired by the voters to go to the Capitol and articulate what their opinion was."
Abbott also highlighted the hypocrisy of the stunt. Not only are the Democratic lawmakers abdicating their responsibility to vote — supposedly all in the name of protecting voting rights — but one lawmaker even said she would meet with Biden and demand the elimination of the U.S. Senate's filibuster, apparently unaware that Texas Democrats are effectively filibustering the Texas Legislature.
In the end, Abbott warned Democrats' stunt would fail.
"We have special sessions that last 30 days, and the governor calls them and I will continue calling special session after special session, because over time it's going to continue until they step up to vote," Abbott promised.