The nearly 60 Texas Democrats who fled the state and jetted to Washington, D.C., to block a pair of GOP-backed voting bills are asking the public to donate Dr. Pepper, candy, and toiletries as they mark the nearly two-week anniversary of their departure.
The Dallas County Democratic Party announced the development on Saturday and said it would be hosting collections all week long from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"Our Dems in DC said they’d appreciate care packages from home," the organization wrote in a tweet. "Before 5pm Tues, we're collecting Dr. Pepper, salsa, hard candy, hairspray, travel toiletries, hand sanitizers, sewing kits, first aid, and/ or $ to pay shipping. TY!"
💙 Our Dems in DC said they’d appreciate care packages from home. Before 5pm Tues, we're collecting Dr. Pepper, salsa, hard candy, hairspray, travel toiletries, hand sanitizers, sewing kits, first aid, and/ or $ to pay shipping. TY!
📍 9am-5pm, M-F 1414 N. Washington Ave, Dallas pic.twitter.com/PgZHQTy10h
— Dallas Democrats (@dallasdemocrats) July 24, 2021
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz mocked the social media post with the words "No Miller Lite?" in reference to a case of beer observed while the legislators posed for photographs on their way to Washington.
TEXAS DEMOCRAT LEAVES WASHINGTON TO ENGAGE IN 'GOOD FAITH DIALOGUE' ON GOP-BACKED VOTING BILLS
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also weighed in and called the collection "embarrassing."
"Not only have they taken a vacation to avoid doing their job, now they want you to help pay for it. This is so embarrassing," she wrote on Monday.
Ex-senior legal adviser to former President Donald Trump, Jenna Ellis, asked, "They can’t get all that at CVS?"
On July 12, dozens of Democratic lawmakers boarded private jets and flew to rendezvous with federal politicians in Washington, D.C., in an effort to paralyze the state House after Gov. Greg Abbott called a special session to deliberate on Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 3, a pair of legislation that would ban drive-thru voting, implement more comprehensive voter identification requirements for mail-in ballots, and prohibit officials from sending voting applications to those who did not request them.
S.B. 1 was passed by the Senate amid the lawmakers' departure, but H.B. 3 has been stalled as the House lacks the two-thirds quorum necessary to vote on the legislation.
The theatrics have faced multiple ethics-related questions as state Rep. Armando Walle projected that the cost of the excursion will top $1.5 million by the time it ends. He indicated that the chartered private flights to Washington cost $100,000 alone.
A wire transfer from the House Democratic Caucus paid for the jets, and one House member put a block of hotel rooms on a personal American Express card. It is unclear whether taxpayers will end up paying partially or wholly for the Democrats' trip.
Democrats have insisted that no taxpayer funds are being used in the excursion, but their Republican counterparts have posited that upward of $1 million will be paid by residents due to the prolonging of a special session. If Democrats do not return in a timely manner, the special session could last for nearly one month, with legislators being paid per diem rates during the process.
Last Wednesday, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan requested the Democrats to return their $221-per-day wages if they are outside of the Lone Star State.
"Under the Texas Constitution ... per diem must be paid to each member for each day of a special session, regardless of whether the member is actually present," Phelan wrote in a memorandum. "I am requesting all members who are intentionally absent for the purpose of preventing the House from conducting business during the special session to return your constitutional per diem to the state's treasury immediately upon receipt."
The gaggle of left-leaning lawmakers was also the subject of controversy when it was revealed that at least six of them tested positive for COVID-19 since they left Austin.
Only two have since returned to the Lone Star State, including Rep. Philip Cortez, who on Wednesday announced his decision to vacate Washington to engage in "good faith dialogue" on the voting legislation.
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Original Author: Jake Dima
Original Location: Absent Texas Democrats ask public to donate soda, salsa, and hair spray