Texas politics: John Cornyn and Ted Cruz join Republicans united in opposition to federal voting rights bills

WASHINGTON – United States Senator of Texas, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, is on track next week to help deliver what could be the final blow to Democrats’ hopes of passing a federal ballot measure that would remove many of the voter restrictions the Legislature has imposed. Texas passed it last year.

The US Senate is expected to soon tackle a bill passed by the House of Representatives that would restore parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and roll back sweeping voting rights changes made by agencies. Republican-controlled legislation across the country. The bill is expected to fail, further damaging any vestiges of bipartisan ties between Capitol Hill and the White House.

“The truth is this is not about the right to vote,” Cornyn said during an appearance Tuesday on Fox News. “This is about a partisan political power struggle, and they’re just trying to dress it up and sell it as something else. I just don’t think the American people are buying it.”

A Texas bill that passed in the Legislature over the summer sparked a push by Democrats in Congress to expand voter access nationwide. Texas’ law gained national attention when the state’s Democratic House of Representatives members left the state to stay in Washington, DC for a month, to break the quorum during a summer special session. The bill, which tightens voting laws in Texas and prevents local entities like cities and counties from expanding voting options, finally passed in August.

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Texas Republicans – and Republican state legislators elsewhere – defend the law as a necessary tool to protect “election integrity,” an echo of former President Donald Trump’s baseless insistence that the 2020 election was rigged. Yes no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas or elsewhere, and courts across the country – including the US Supreme Court – have brought up nearly all of the cases his legal team pursued in 2020 to overturn the election results.

Cruz and Cornyn have both actively opposed federal voting rights legislation for months, but their rhetoric has escalated over the past week, particularly after President Joe Biden backed the bill in a speech. cuts in Atlanta on Tuesday.

“The Democrats have decided that voter fraud is in their favor politically,” Cruz said at a news conference Tuesday. “And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to tear down reasonable, pointless safeguards that protect the integrity of our elections.”

Cornyn accused Democrats on the Senate floor on Monday of wanting to “fix a system that isn’t broken.”

SEE MORE: 8 big Texas stories from 2021 – and what’s available for 2022

The Democrats’ bill passed the House in a party vote on Thursday, and Democratic leaders in the Senate are expected to put the bill on the floor in the coming days. Known as the Freedom of Voting: The John Lewis Act, the act is named for the late civil rights leader and member of Congress who passed away in 2020.

The bill includes text from an earlier version of the law that has not yet been passed by the Senate, which would strengthen the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that the US Supreme Court withdrew in 2013. That includes reintroducing “pre-clearance,” a process in which states like Texas, with a track record of discriminating against voters of color, must get the Justice Department’s approval to do so. voting rule changes.

The new section of the bill includes features to boost online and automatic voter registration, requires states to allow 14-day early voting, and prohibits states from restricting voting by mail. It makes Election Day a federal holiday, aims to protect election officials from interference, transfers new money to states for election security, settles campaign finances and sought to address how congressional districts were drawn.

These priorities are a shortened version of the more expansive bill that was passed by the House of Representatives last year. Democrats made those changes to win the support of one supporter, US Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Once again, a debate about whether the filter should be removed to pass the Democratic Party’s preference law has raged. Galloping is a Senate minority legislative tactic that requires 60 senators to proceed with a bill.

“The House of Representatives has acted many times to protect and expand voting rights, and now with the passage of this bill, I once again urge the Senate to find a way to do this,” he said. Representative Colin Allred, D-Dallas, a former voting rights attorney who served as a key strategist for the House-controlled Democratic camp.

“This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but sadly without any Republican support in the Senate, Democrats have no choice but to act alone,” he said. added. “We cannot allow crooks to get in the way of the work we need to do to protect our democracy.”

At the center of the latest vote is the movie.

Biden, who served in the Senate for 36 years before becoming vice president in 2009, lit up a match during a speech in Atlanta on Tuesday. Noting that in 2006 reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act originally passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, Biden tacitly criticized senior senators like Cornyn, who voted for that bill. almost 16 years ago.

“In 2006, the Voting Rights Act passed 390 to 33 in the House and 98 to zero in the Senate with votes from 16 incumbent Republicans in the US Senate,” Biden said. “Sixteen of them voted to extend it.”

He then compared those who would oppose the bill to Southerners fighting for the abolition of slavery and obstructing the repeal of the Jim Crow laws.

“I ask every elected official in America: How would you like to be remembered?” he asks.

“At key moments in history, they presented a choice: Do you want to… be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side?” Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”

Cruz responded, calling it an “evil, partisan, divisive, hateful speech.”

Cornyn on Fox News mocked Biden because several local Black leaders refused to attend Biden’s speeches because he was unhappy with his progress in passing the ballot measure.

“I’m a little embarrassed for him because he doesn’t even have a member of his own political party in the Senate, much less the people who boycotted his appearance in Atlanta, the likes of Stacey Abrams, ” he say.

He thinks the president is hypocritical for advocating for the protection of detainees while he was in the Senate.

“This is in stark contrast to the position the president took while he was in the Senate, as he has for many years, and when the shoe is on the other foot,” Cornyn said.

Currently there is a 50-50 tie between the parties. Democrats hope they can convince two senators in their caucus, Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, to introduce a rule change on the bill that would eliminate Republicans’ ability to block the bill with a threshold of 60 votes.

Those hopes may have died on Thursday when Sinema took to the Senate floor to solidify her support for a film.

As of the weekend, Democrats remained determined to move forward to put the senators on the record. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation early next week.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans – and interacts with them – about public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues. Texas politics: John Cornyn and Ted Cruz join Republicans united in opposition to federal voting rights bills

Dais Johnston

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