WASHINGTON — Texas’ U.S. senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, are on track next week to help deliver what could be the final blow to Democratic hopes of passing a federal voting bill that would shut down many of the voter restrictions the Texas Legislature passed into law last year.
The U.S. Senate is expected to soon address a House-passed bill that would reinstate parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and push back against sweeping voting changes passed by Republican-controlled legislatures across the country. The bill is widely expected to fail, further damaging any vestige of bipartisan comity between Capitol Hill and the White House.
“The truth is this is not about voting rights,” Cornyn said in a Tuesday appearance on Fox News. “This is about a partisan political power grab, and they are 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 passed in the Legislature over the summer sparked a push by Congressional Democrats to expand voter access nationwide. The Texas legislation earned national attention when state Democratic House members left the state for a monthlong stay in Washington, D.C., to break quorum during a summer special session. The bill, which tightens election laws in Texas and prevents local entities such as cities and counties from expanding voting options, eventually passed in August.
Texas Republicans — and Republican state legislators elsewhere — defended the law as a necessary tool to protect “election integrity,” an echo of former President Donald Trump’s unfounded insistence that the 2020 election was rigged. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas or elsewhere, and courts across the country — including the U.S. Supreme Court — threw out nearly all of the cases his legal team pursued in 2020 to overturn the election results.
Cruz and Cornyn both actively opposed federal voting rights legislation for months, but their rhetoric escalated over the past week, particularly after President Joe Biden advocated for the bill in a cutting speech in Atlanta on Tuesday.
“Democrats have decided that voter fraud benefits them politically,” Cruz said at a Tuesday news conference. “And they’re willing to go to any length to tear down the reasonable, commonsense protections that protect the integrity of our elections.”
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