In an interview on Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to arrest the over 50 Texas House Democrats who decided to leave the state and break quorum in response to House Bill 3, a Republican voter suppression bill in the legislature.
“As soon as they come back to the state of Texas they will be arrested and they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” he said.
Democratic lawmakers left the state and landed in Washington D.C. on Monday to put pressure on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act.
The 58 Texas Democrats in D.C. are set to meet with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
In that same interview, Abbott also said he will call more special sessions until Democrats return.
“I can, and I will, call special session after special sessions all the way up to the election next year,” Abbott said.
In a 76-4 vote, the Texas House of Representatives ordered a ‘call of the house’ which orders state troopers to track down members “under warrant of arrest if necessary.”
The four Democratic lawmakers who voted against having their colleagues arrested and decided to stay behind include Reps. Ryan Guillen, Tracy King, Eddie Morales, and John Turner.
After the vote, GOP Rep. Tony Tinderholt also asked the Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan if members can be stripped of their committee duties. Phelan said under Texas chamber rules committee members and vice chairs can’t be removed from their positions.
On Monday, Phelan said the Texas House would use every available resource under the Texas Constitution and the unanimously passed House Rules to secure a quorum to meaningfully debate and consider election integrity.
Texas Democratic lawmakers said they aren’t afraid of Abbott’s arrest threats.
In an interview with MSNBC, Rep. Jasmine Crockett said, “there is no law that he can make up by himself to somehow make it a crime that we did everything that we could under the Constitution.”
Vice President Kamala Harris thanked the Democrats for their courage and will also meet with the representatives who broke quorum.
President Joe Biden is set to speak on voting rights legislation in a speech in Philadelphia Tuesday afternoon.