Texas Democrats who defeated restrictive voting bill to meet with Harris

·2 min read

Texas Democrats who blocked a restrictive voting bill in dramatic fashion last month will meet with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House next week, senior adviser Symone Sanders said in a statement Thursday.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday as Democrats face steep hurdles to pass federal election reforms in the closely divided Senate.

The Texas lawmakers will discuss voting rights and the For the People Act, a source familiar with the plans told NBC News. The House-passed legislation, which would create a federal floor of voting rights access, would kneecap restrictive election bills like the one proposed by Republicans in Texas.

The meeting underscores just how critical federal action is to state Democrats across the country, many of whom have struggled to fight off restrictive voting bills advanced by Republican majorities in state legislatures. President Joe Biden recently named Harris to lead the administration's push to protect voting rights.

"Breaking a quorum and leaving the state House is the equivalent of us crawling out on our knees asking the federal government to intervene," said state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, a Democrat who will attend the meeting. "What we can contribute to the national narrative is to tell our story."

Texas state senators and representatives, including Democratic Reps. Gina Hinojosa and Jessica González, will attend the White House meeting.

The Texas legislators also plan to meet with senators as well, according to Martinez Fischer.

Republicans have introduced and advanced hundreds of restrictive election bills this year in the wake of former President Donald Trump's stolen election lie. At least 22 bills with restrictive voting provisions had been enacted as of mid-May, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, and at least 61 others were still advancing through state legislatures.

At the end of the legislative session, Texas Democrats used every parliamentary tool at their disposal to defeat a bill that would add restrictions to elections in the state. They ultimately staged a walkout to prevent a vote just before the midnight deadline.

Texas Republicans have vowed to reintroduce and pass the bill this summer.