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, a source familiar with the plans told NBC News Thursday.
The meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, comes as Democrats face steep hurdles to passing federal election reforms in a closely divided Senate.
The Texas state lawmakers will discuss voting rights and the For the People Act, the source said. The House-passed legislation would create a federal floor of voting rights access and 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 nation, 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.
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 have been enacted as of mid-May, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, while at least 61 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 new restrictions to elections in the state, ultimately staging a walkout to prevent a vote from being held just before a midnight deadline.
Texas Republicans have vowed to reintroduce and pass the failed election bill later this summer.
Jane C. Timm
Jane C. Timm is a senior reporter for NBC News.