WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Democrats in the Texas legislature fled the state Monday to head to Washington D.C. They say it's the last move in their playbook and a final effort to try and stop GOP-sponsored legislation they call "Jim Crow 2.0."
More than 50 state House members now on the ground in Washington. They landed at Dulles International Airport late Monday evening. A large group boarded chartered jets in Austin to leave Texas ahead of the special session resuming on Tuesday.
"We're fighting with everything we got," Rep Jasmine Crockett said.
Crockett was the first to arrive in D.C. By leaving Texas, she and her colleagues will prevent Texas Republicans from attaining a quorum necessary to conduct state business. In other words, the special session is now paralyzed and in limbo.
"If we would have gone back tomorrow I fully anticipate they would have locked the doors and locked us in until they got these bills passed," Crockett said.
The Republican bill would impose tighter voting restrictions in Texas, such as new ID requirements for voting by mail and banning 24-hour and drive-thru voting sites.
"I am tired of sitting as a hostage in the Texas House while Republicans strip away the right of my constituents to vote," Rep. Senfronia Thompson said.
Texas Democrats plan to stay in D.C. until after Aug. 7 when the special session is set to end. They plan to pressure Congress to step in.
"There is no more time, you must pass strong federal protection legislation and you must do it now before this session ends," Rep. Chris Turner said.
Gov. Greg Abbott says this is nothing but a delay and vows Republicans will pass the bill one way or another.
"I can and will continue to call special session after special session after special session until the election next year," Abbott said. "So if these people want to hang out where they're hanging out they better be prepared to do it for a year."
Abbott said lawmakers should be arrested when they return to the state and cabined in the State Capitol until they get their job done.
Texas House Democrats tell KHOU 11 News they plan to meet with members of Congress. They said they're the only ones who can stop this at a national level.