- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 14, 2021

Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green will challenge Texas’ redrawing of congressional districts if it is passed by the state’s legislature in the coming days, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Lee said.

Under the proposed new boundaries created by Texas’ Republican-led legislature, Mrs. Lee’s home would be reassigned to the congressional district represented by Mr. Green, which would pit the two Black lawmakers against each other and cost one of them their job.

Mrs. Jackson and Mr. Green said last month in a letter to legislative leaders that the change is “radical” and “clearly an act of racial discrimination,” citing researchers who said the proposed redrawing of Mrs. Jackson’s current district would be less likely to elect a Black person.

State Republican leaders said racial discrimination was not a factor in creating the new political boundaries.

The redistricting plan has been approved by the Texas Senate, and it passed a state House committee Wednesday. It is expected to pass in the House as soon as this weekend and got to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature.

Texas’ redrawn districts will likely provide impetus to Democrats’ efforts to pass an elections bill that would allow the federal government to invalidate redistricting maps that they consider to be overly partisan.

According to Princeton University researchers, Texas’ proposed changes deliver two more Republican representatives to Congress, as the GOP tries to gain five seats in next year’s midterm elections to seize control of the chamber.

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project last month gave Texas’ proposed congressional maps a grade of F for being partisan, saying the 25-13 advantage it would give Republicans in Congress doesn’t reflect the political views of the state.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican, was not immediately available for comment.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer wrote fellow senators on Thursday saying he plans to bring up the Democrats’ elections bill for a procedural vote on Monday.

Mr. Schumer urged at least 10 Republican senators to vote to allow the measure to be debated.

But Republicans, opposed to the idea of the federal government overriding the decisions made by states, are expected to block the measure with a filibuster.

“I understand that Democrats are concerned about their reelections. Citizens are unhappy with the never-ending series of national crises that Democrats’ policies are inflicting on their families,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The solution to their unpopularity is not this obsessive quest to rewrite election law and rig the game. It is to stop ramming through terrible policies that hurt families and help China.”

A compromise voting bill worked out with Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, also would override voting laws passed by Republican-led states that critics say make it harder for minorities to vote.

The bill would set federal policies to create automatic voter registration, expand access to early and absentee voting.

The measure also would limit states’ ability to remove people from voter rolls and increase federal funds for election security.

• Kery Murakami can be reached at kmurakami@washingtontimes.com.

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