WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday met with Texas Democratic lawmakers about state Republicans’ push for a sweeping voting measure during the 87th Legislative Session.
During a dramatic end to the session at the end of May, Texas Democrats walked out of the House chamber before a midnight deadline to pass Senate Bill 7, leaving the House without a quorum to vote.READ MORE: Woman Charged With Aggravated Assault During Disturbance Preceding Deadly Shooting Of Mesquite Police Officer
The vice president met with state House and Senate Democratic members at the White House and said the bill attempted to infringe on voting rights.
“All citizens have the right to vote. What we are seeing are examples of an attempt to interfere with that right, an attempt to marginalize and take from people a right that has already been given,” Harris said during remarks before the meeting.
Provisions of SB 7 included giving more access to poll watchers and making it easier for a judge to overturn an election due to fraud.
There was also a provision to prohibit voting on Sundays before 1 p.m., which many saw as an attempt to discourage Black residents taking part in a nationwide church movement known as “souls to the polls.” However, lawmakers later clarified the 1 p.m. time was an error and that it should have said 11 a.m.
“We will do everything in our power as a administration to lift up the voices of those who seek to preserve the right for the people to vote,” Harris said. “This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, this is an American issue.”READ MORE: COVID-19 Omicron Variant Arrives In Texas
Gov. Greg Abbott has said a special session would be called at a later date to pass the voting bill.
In addition to addressing Texas’ voting bill, Democratic legislators hoped their meetings with Harris, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will help win passage of the For The People Act. It passed in the House but not the Senate yet because Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia doesn’t support it.
The legislation would override some states’ laws and standardize absentee voting. It would allow voters to use a sworn statement instead of showing an ID and would require states to provide same-day voter registration.
Texas Republicans have said the For The People Act would improperly nationalize elections and keep the state from making sure that only people who are qualified can vote. They said they want to standardize voting rules so that counties can’t make up their own.
In a tweet Wednesday, Republican Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas, criticized the Texas Democrats’ actions last month, saying “All they did is walk off their job.”
“We did not walk off our job. We walked out for the benefit of the people we represent. And those are the people of Texas to preserve out moment. That is our job,” Democratic Rep. Senfornia Thompson, of Houston, said.MORE NEWS: 'My Home Is Still Uninhabitable': 10 Months After Winter Storm Some Texans Still Waiting On Insurance Claims
In response to Harris’ meeting with Texas Democrats, the Republican National Committee issued a statement that read: “It’s no wonder Kamala Harris is meeting with Texas Democrats in Washington, DC today; Texas is far too close to the southern border for Harris to have any interest.”