More Texas Democrats return, but not enough to end holdout

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Texas state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, dean of the Texas House of Representatives, is joined by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., left center, and other Texas Democrats, as they continue their protest of restrictive voting laws, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By PAUL J. WEBER and ACACIA CORONADO

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A monthlong standoff by Texas Democrats who left the state to block a GOP voting bill is inching closer to ending. Several holdouts returned Monday and put Republicans on the brink of having enough lawmakers to push forward once again with an election overhaul. The Texas House of Representatives is now just five members shy of a quorum that would end what is now a 29-day stalemate. The slow return comes as Republicans in the state senate are already advancing a voting bill that is similar to the one Democrats blocked last month. And in another setback for Democrats, the Texas Supreme Court on Monday rejected a lawsuit that sought to overturn Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s veto of  paychecks for more than 2,000 legislative staffers after the first walkout in May.

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