The Democrats that escaped out of Texas for a social justice-focused vacation are about to reap what they sow. They didn’t actually think they could skip out on their job without any consequences, did they?
Now, the GOP in Texas is proving that they are going to back up their threats – complete with issuing arrest warrants.
None of the Texas Democrats thought twice when they packed up and left the state so that they could leave the House of Representatives high and dry with the inability to meet quorum.
Dade Phelan, the Speaker for the Texas House of Representatives, didn’t think twice when it came to issuing a warrant for the arrest of one Democrat who fled to avoid the special session.
State Rep Philip Cortez, a Democrat that represents the San Antonio area, was one of the many that flew to DC by charter plane to prevent the House from being able to vote on election reform legislation.
Cortez, who serves as the chairman for the House Urban Affairs Committee, was issued a civil arrest warrant when he failed to return to the House of Representatives.
Cortez actually left his Democrats last week to return to Texas. He had returned to Austin as he explains, an effort to engage in “good faith dialogue.” He wanted to talk more in-depth about the election law reform bill to see if there was room for negotiation.
His fellow Democrats were furious. Many thought he should have stayed put with them in order to demonstrate a united front. After the criticism, he returned to DC.
It seems that Cortez can’t make up his mind as to whether he wants to stand with the other Democrats or if he wants to make things work with his other colleagues in the House.
Phalen explained that by being granted permission to leave the House floor temporarily, Cortez promised his House colleagues he would return. Instead, he fled the state.
Cortez chose to ignore the Speaker’s comments as well as the actions that led to the arrest warrant being issued. Instead, he made his own comment that he has a “duty to my constituents to do everything I can to stop this harmful legislation.”
Oh, but that’s not quite it at all. At no point does the Democratic Rep explain why he and his Democratic colleagues feel that they needed to leave the state. He doesn’t talk about why he feels that the legislation is harmful. And, it appears that he has abandoned the idea of negotiating through the legislation to ensure that it is capable of not being harmful.
Neither Cortez nor any of the other Texans have identified when they are planning to return to the state. They’re not interested in negotiating. Meanwhile, Cortez is actually naïve enough to believe that he’s being dutiful to his constituents by accepting a salary right now even though he’s not doing his job.
Phelan’s issuing of the warrant is more symbolic than it is anything else. The warrant cannot be executed for as long as the representative stays out of Texas. As Phelan has explained, Cortez is responsible for having “irrevocably broken my trust and the trust of the chamber.”
It will be hard for the Texas House to ever recover from what the Democrats have done, even if the legislation to reform the elections are discarded entirely. They have chosen a selfish route that has harmed taxpayers and has made a mockery of democracy.