WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the second time in less than a month, Vice President Kamala Harris met Tuesday with many of the Texas House Democrats who had already broken quorum once before over proposed voting restrictions.
“She said we are making history in the same line as the advocates of the 1960′s,” said State Rep. Philip Cortez of San Antonio, who wasn’t among the initial group last month.
However, a leading civil rights pioneer, the late Congressman John Lewis is “no doubt turning in his grave,” said State Rep. Barbara Gervin Hawkins of San Antonio.
She said coming to Washington is “a long shot” to deny Texas Republicans the quorum they need to vote on the controversial restrictions.
“We’re somewhat defeated because we’re in the minority,” said Gervin Hawkins.
She and her Democratic colleagues are now calling on Congress to somehow overcome the Senate filibuster to adopt the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the We the People Act, in order to keep states from enacting their own election laws.
Texas lawmakers also met Tuesday with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer and other lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Cortez said he and his colleagues also are sending a message to the Republican House majority in Austin.
“We’re hoping that this will allow them to see to see that we’re serious and that we’re ready to get back to the negotiating table,” he said. “But we need them to make an earnest effort to do it also.”
At least one Republican, State Rep. Steve Allison of San Antonio, said he’s willing to negotiate.
“If there’s more tweaking and revision needs to be made, let’s sit down and discuss and get it done,” Allison said.
For instance, he said many of his Republican constituents want applications automatically sent to them to vote by mail.
However, the bill calls for some proof of identification in order to get a mail-in ballot.
“I think that’s a detail or maybe a red herring that can certainly be worked out and discussed,” Allison said. “I’m confident we can get there on our little items like that.”
But, Cortez said judging by what he’s already seen in committee, many other Republicans aren’t willing to compromise.
“We came to the table with many amendments. They struck them all down,” Cortez said.