'Your World' on Cuban protests, Democrats fleeing Texas

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Thank you, Martha, very much.

We are keeping our eyes on the Capitol right now, not the one in Texas, the one in Washington, D.C., because those dozens of Democratic legislators who bolted Texas over that push for a voting reform bill are now making their presence known and we’re told will be meeting later this hour with the vice president United States, Kamala Harris.

It has been a crazy day. Welcome, everybody. I’m Neil Cavuto, and this is “Your World.”

My thanks to my colleague and friend Sandra Smith for filling in for me yesterday.

Today, here is the big story, this voting rights measure they want to undertake in Texas. Here’s the problem, though. They don’t have a quorum to do that. That is because the Democrats have all left, or most of them. We hope to be speaking to one of them holed up right now inside the U.S. Capitol.

They have been leading with Democratic leaders, who are praising their move here and saying it was brave and forceful and clear. We will be speaking to Democratic Congressman James Clyburn, the House majority whip, what he makes of all of this.

First to Mike Emanuel, what’s going on in the Capitol and how long it could go on — Mike


Democrats from the Texas legislature making their biggest stop so far in the past hour, meeting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. A photo- op was held a short time ago, the Senate majority leader praising the Texas Democrats, calling them courageous and saying they are fighting for the rights of every Texan to have the right to vote.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): These folks are going to be remembered on the right side of history. The governor and the Republican legislators will be remembered on the dark and wrong side of history.


EMANUEL: The Senate’s top Republican notes Texas Democrats are here trying to convince Democrats to change the rules in the United States Senate, the filibuster, which protects the minority party.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think it’s quite interesting to see the Democratic majority in the Senate concerned about minority rights in the state Senate in Texas.

I guess, if you live long enough, you will see almost anything around here.


EMANUEL: Up the road in Philadelphia, President Biden said his administration will go after state voting laws like the one Texas Republicans are trying to pass.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the United States Department of Justice is going to be using its authorities to challenge the onslaught of state laws undermining voting rights.


EMANUEL: The endgame for Texas Democrats is unclear. The legislature there is not a full-time job. So, presumably, they all have to get back to their real jobs at some point — Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Mike Emanuel.

And the apparent threat from the Texas governor is, if they don’t get back up, they’re going to be arrested. How far can he push that?

Casey Stegall now in Austin, Texas, with more — Casey.


We are monitoring this situation, because, as you said, Vice President Kamala Harris’ office saying that, this afternoon, she is going to be meeting with those 50 Texas Democrats who jumped ship and abandoned the Capitol here in Austin yesterday and flew to Washington, D.C., only four days into that legislative special session.

The bulk of them hopped on private planes and flew to the Beltway. And we don’t know who’s paying for that and how much it cost at this point, something we’re still trying to track down.

Meantime, that meeting with the vice president is scheduled to happen about 40 minutes from now. A short time ago, they did sit down with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as you heard my colleague Mike Emanuel saying, who called them courageous and on the right side of history, all the while here in Texas the governor vows this. Listen.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas Capitol, and we will be conducting business.


STEGALL: The NAACP announced this afternoon that it would cover bail costs if those arrests go down.

Texas Democrats have argued that the GOP-backed state election reform bills are aimed at suppressing votes, not making future elections more secure. So, now they’re calling for their D.C. counterparts to get involved.


STATE REP. CHRIS TAYLOR (D-TX): Our intent is to stay out and kill this bill this session and use the intervening time, I think 24, 25 days now before the end of the session to implore the folks in this building behind us to pass federal voting rights legislation.


STEGALL: Now, a handful of House Democrats elected to stay behind. They did not leave Austin yesterday, but the vast majority of them did.

And that, of course, leaves them without the two-thirds majority enabled to vote and pass any legislation — Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Casey Stegall, thank you very much.

On with us right now via FaceTime is Alex Dominguez. He is one of those Democratic legislators who have left Texas, forcing this issue, having just met with Chuck Schumer, and later on this hour, we’re told, the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris.

Representative, very good to have you.

You know, you have heard the governor is going to arrest you guys when you get back. Are you afraid of that? Are you concerned about that?


It’s certainly something that was always something to ponder before we decided to make this decision. That’s why it clearly shows our resolve and how important this is. And we’re willing to be arrested.

CAVUTO: Do you feel, though, that the way it looks is, if you guys don’t get your way, you leave? There’s a history of having done this before just a few months ago, back in 2003, something similar.

Shouldn’t this be the type of issue that’s decided at the ballot box and not in the huff and leaving the city?

DOMINGUEZ: Well, you’re assuming that, one, there’s a huff. Two, you’re assuming that it can be resolved in a diplomatic fashion.

Also, this is not the same thing as 2003. The reason why we’re here is because there actually is a chance of federal legislation passing that would take care of all of this for us.

CAVUTO: But if the Republicans were to do in reverse what you’re doing, for whatever reasons — and I understand your passion. You’re not faking that passion here.

Wouldn’t you be angry that, rather than try to iron it out, they just vote, they leave, they leave the state?

DOMINGUEZ: You know, I think what the public doesn’t see here is what’s going on behind the scenes.

This past Saturday, over 23 hours of debate on two very contentious bills, our members tried to negotiate in good faith. Prior to that, behind closed doors, we tried to negotiate in good faith. We tried to offer good amendments that would make this bill better.

And on the straight party-line vote, every single one of those was rejected. So, we are the ones that are trying to actually work this out.


CAVUTO: OK. Got it.

So, let me get your take on the most onerous part of that measure. How would you describe the one thing that broke off these talks?

DOMINGUEZ: I think the most important thing to consider here is not any one aspect of the bill, but rather the entire tenor of this bill and a number of other bills that the governor has forced us to consider.

This legislature that’s meeting right now in special session, this is coming on a veto of the legislative branch by the governor which defunds, he intended, every single legislative vendor or state senator or state representative, and over 2,000 state employees that work for nonpartisan offices, such as the Legislative Budget Board and the state auditor’s office.

And this was the governor trying to force us to face his legislation and pass it. That’s what this special session is about. It’s about him. Once he got caught with our petition showing you cannot do that, based on the Constitution of Texas, now he’s starting to back off.

But I think he knows that what he’s doing is wrong, but he was caught. And he was forced to call the special session anyway. What we’re talking about here with this specific bill, though there are other very bad bills that the governor called for us to just try to decide, is, he knows he has the raw numbers to get these through.

The problem right now with the state legislature is that it’s not acting like it normally does. The House and the Senate are proud bodies that normally stand up to any person, whether they’re a Democrat or Republican, if they sit in the governor’s chair.

We should all work together because we’re a co-equal branch of the government.

CAVUTO: Do you think, Representative, that people should show an I.D. when they vote?

DOMINGUEZ: I do every single time.

CAVUTO: So that’s not the problem that’s a big problem here?

DOMINGUEZ: That is not anything that any Democratic representative or senator is advocating.

We absolutely think that, if someone is showing up to vote, they should be presenting an I.D. There is no testimony anywhere, none of us have offered any amendment to the contrary. That’s just pure nonsense. We’re not asking to change our laws.

The laws that we have on the books in regards to elections in Texas are fair, they’re safe, and they have been — they have been vetted for decades. In fact, this past election, in 2020, the state — the secretary of state which the governor appointed clearly stated more than once that the elections in Texas were fair, they were secure, and, on top of that, they were actually pretty fast.

This is the governor’s own secretary of state. There is no evidence of any widespread voter fraud in Texas. And on top of that, I believe Trump even carried the state of Texas. I’m not sure what problem they’re trying to solve.

CAVUTO: All right, so you’re OK with voter I.D. It’s some of these other provisions about the Republicans trying to nix 24-hour voting and that sort of thing, that is where — and features like that broaden the opposition, right?

DOMINGUEZ: The 24-hour voting, that is a clear attack on Harris County’s ideas.

Harris County, due to the COVID restrictions, they knew they were going to have long lines. And we have video evidence of people standing in line for multiple hours.

CAVUTO: Right.

DOMINGUEZ: Imagine standing in multiple hours either in the heat, the rain, the cold. That is not either a neighborly thing. It’s not a Texas thing. It’s certainly not an American thing.

We believe it should be easy for people to vote and vote honestly. What he’s trying to do is trying to curtail the people that work different shifts, force them to not be able to vote.

CAVUTO: All right, we will see what happens and how long you’re going to be in Washington and certainly out of the state. Keep us apprised of that.

Representative, thank you very much for joining us.

DOMINGUEZ: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Alex Dominguez, one of those dozens of Democrats who have descended on Washington and checked out of Texas. For how long, we don’t know.

Let’s go to Representative James Clyburn right now, the South Carolina Democrat, who is also the House majority whip.

Congressman, always good to have you.

You have been pushing up for lifting the filibuster to address matters like these, like a federal election law. Does this reinforce that position?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, first of all, thank you very much for having me, Neil.

CAVUTO: Thank you.

CLYBURN: Look, what I have been pushing for is to treat constitutional issues like voting the same way we treat the budget.

We have allowed for a budget to be considered without any one person being able to threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America. I think we ought to do the same thing when it comes to constitutional rights.

If you want talk about a legislative issue like building a wall, how high it should be, how wide it should be, those are legislative issues that has got nothing to do with the Constitution.

So, yes, I do believe that we ought — if you’re going to have the filibuster, limit the filibuster to legislative issues, not allow it to apply to constitutional issues.

CAVUTO: So, Congressman, when you said you were absolutely open to Joe Manchin’s proposed voter I.D. requirement, which did seem to represent a significant pivot on your part, is that your way of saying let’s get past the I.D. thing, and on to other matters to get this law done?

CLYBURN: You know, Neil, I don’t know why people keep misrepresenting stuff.

There’s not a single time that I have ever voted in my entire life — and I’m going to be 81 years old next week. There’s not a single time that I have voted that I did not I.D. myself.

What I spoke about was allowing an I.D., a picture I.D. of a hunter’s license to be good, but of a student activity card to be no good. That’s the kind of voter I.D. law that I’m talking about that’s unfair. I have said that all of my life.

I don’t know why you guys keep misrepresenting what I said. I have never said that you should not have voter I.D. What I got my voter registration cards, I keep them in my wallet. And when I go to vote, I presented that every time. And I said to them, I am Jim Clyburn. This is my I.D., and I want to vote.

I have always had voter I.D. And that’s why the representative earlier who voted — no Democrat has never been against voter I.D. We’re against…


CAVUTO: Well, maybe I just remember — I remember some of this a bit differently, sir. But I will take you at your word right now that you certainly are now not going to make that a central issue.

I’m wondering if it is featured in whatever federal legislation you might push now that, if they can drop the filibuster for this particular issue, would fellow Democrats you think be OK with an I.D. requirement for voting included in that legislation?

CLYBURN: Absolutely.

Stacey Abrams told everybody the same thing right after Joe Manchin came out with that. Nobody’s against I.D.ing themselves.

How can you say that you are going to have an election and people present themselves at the polls? Why do you think they have polling people there checking off the list? Because you’re I.D.ing yourself. You don’t get checked off until you present that you are the person that’s about to vote.


CAVUTO: No, no, I understand.

Without getting into the weeds, Congressman, I understand, but, in Texas, some of the I.D.s that they would require, among them is a Texas driver’s license, an election I.D. certificate, a personal I.D. card of any sort from a store or wherever you work, handgun license, citizenship certificate, military I.D., U.S. passport. Any one of those would be adequate.

Are you OK with that feature?

CLYBURN: Well, if I’m 94 years old, and I don’t have a driver’s license, I do not — I don’t have any of those things, what can I use?

That’s the question.

CAVUTO: And what would you suggest?

CLYBURN: As a matter of fact, Joe Manchin — I would suggest, as Joe Manchin said, there are other things that people can use to I.D. themselves.

But when you tell me, because I don’t have this kind of I.D. that’s not government-issued, you don’t have a picture on it. Come on.


CAVUTO: OK, so, in other words, you — but I think like utility bills, that sort of thing.

Again, I don’t want to belabor this point. But that seems to be the crux of where there’s a divide here.

I also wanted to get your thoughts real quickly, Congressman, while you’re here. You had said not too long ago that this defund the police movement by Democrats is a nonstarter. And now, with the election of Eric Adams in New York, likely the Democratic nominee for mayor and maybe, given the heavy Democrat presence in New York, the next mayor, he isn’t keen on that.

He was elected or nominated on that. Are you telling Democrats who say otherwise that it’s a mistake, they should stop it?

CLYBURN: Well, I have always said the sloganeering is a mistake.

It may get the headline. But you have to ask yourself, will this allow me to make headway? And that is what we have to do. Burn, baby burn destroyed our movement back in the ’60s. I don’t want to see defund the police destroy the movement that is going great for Black Lives Matter today.

And I’m telling you, this kind of sloganeering can destroy these kinds of movements. And that’s what I don’t want to see happen.

CAVUTO: All right, we will watch it closely.

Jim Clyburn, very good catching up with you. Thank you very, very much.

Jim Clyburn is going to be playing a very major role should this get to the level of federal legislation and junking the filibuster to do just that.

Therein would lie the 50 votes you need, and with Kamala Harris breaking the tie, the only means open to Democrats at a federal level to change and reinforce these policies that they hope to overturn from aggressive Republican measures they say are popping up in better than a dozen states, including, as we speak, Texas.

We will keep you updated — after this.


CAVUTO: All right, those Cuba protests continued today, but a lot of people who are leading the movement just yesterday appear to have, well, disappeared.

They don’t know exactly what happened to them or where they have been sent. But it’s a growing concern.

The very latest right now from Phil Keating following all of this from Miami — Phil.


Unlike the local Little Havana demonstration behind me with its blaring bullhorns and honking of horns of the cars and trucks, in Cuba, the streets were mostly quiet yesterday, as well as last night. Definitely, more police were on the street, as the authoritarian communist government regained control firmly of everything in Cuba.

Around Havana yesterday, a notably beefed-up military presence and government loyalists on the streets. The Internet and social media platforms were largely shut down and remain so today, the government freezing dissidents’ ability to coordinate and gather.

Still, there were a few demonstrations in Cuba Monday, which were quickly quashed by police. Arrests were reportedly made. And Cuba’s president addressed the country on state TV, saying the illegal protesters got the punishment they deserved.

For the second straight night in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, hundreds of Cuban Americans came out to support the Cuban people and demand change in Cuba, which Miami Cubans have been doing for 50 plus years, resulting in no change at all.

They want the U.S. government’s intervene, which the U.S. has declined to do since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. On Sunday, thousands of Cubans marched in a dozen cities, demanding freedom, an end to food shortages, decades of a rotten economy, chronic of widespread poverty, and calling for government change.


REP. CARLOS GIMENEZ (R-FL): They have taken everything away from us, including our fear. And you know what? When the Cuban people no longer fear the Cuban government, it’s the beginning of the end.


KEATING: And last night, some Miami Cuban Americans organizing a very small relief flotilla, filling their small boats with cases of water and food to take through the Florida Straits south to Cuba, hoping that they can give those supplies to the Cubans on the island who are dealing with scarcity of food.

Well, from Miami to Cuba, it is 250 nautical miles. And experts believe is extremely unlikely that the communist Cuban government would allow these American boats to answer their harbors — Neil.

CAVUTO: Phil Keating, thank you very, very much.

Well, for Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, this is not about politics. This is quite personal. Her mother is a Cuban refugee who fled the island back in 1959, on the verge of the takeover of Fidel Castro. She still has three cousins and an uncle who lives in Cuba.

Congresswoman, very good to have you.


CAVUTO: What do you make of this? What should we do?

MALLIOTAKIS: Well, in the report, it said that the government had taken control. We actually don’t know whether that is true, because they have shut off the Internet access that the Cubans had, the little Internet access that they did have to get the message and these videos out.

So we really don’t know what is going on, on the island. But it is being reported that the people are being beaten, that some protesters have disappeared. And there’s been a crackdown by this communist regime that historically has beaten, jailed and killed dissidents, people who have spoken out against the government.

What I would like to see President Biden do is be very strong and say unequivocally that we stand with the Cuban people against a communist dictatorship, and that we want to see freedom. We want to see a move toward free and fair elections, allowing the Cuban people to determine their future.

But, certainly, for the short term, we also want the Internet access to be put on, allow the people to protest without being attacked and abused by government officials and allowing them to speak their hearts and minds at this moment. It’s such a pivotal moment.


MALLIOTAKIS: And, in addition to that, I mean, look, the situation in Cuba is so dire.

They don’t have food. They don’t have access to aspirin, to soap, basic things. And that is why they are uprising right now. They have had enough. They are tired of living in squalor and seeing the communist regime take everything that comes into this island and live as kings, while the people live in squalor.

CAVUTO: All right now, we have been able to confirm, to your point, Congresswoman, that Cuban authorities have apparently shut down all social media sites. They include Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, among others.

I wonder if you have been able to reach family members there and what they are telling you.

MALLIOTAKIS: We have not — we have not heard anything.

And, obviously, social media is the way that they communicate.

CAVUTO: Right.

MALLIOTAKIS: We have not heard anything. And, certainly, we’re concerned about the status of what’s happening there.

But I think it’s very important right now for Democrats and Republicans, just put the politics aside. Understand that there are people who want basic human rights, OK, liberties and freedoms that we take — we take for granted in this country.

And to hear Bernie Sanders blame the United States of America is absolutely shameful, that he is covering for a communist, brutal, murderous regime. And quite frankly, that point is complete nonsense.

The Cuban government has done business with everybody.

CAVUTO: So, let me ask you this.


CAVUTO: Let me ask you.

There’s an effort in Florida — Congresswoman, there’s an effort in Florida among a lot of Cuban exiles and those who are sympathetic to these protesters’ plight that they would let — and push a flotilla to come and pick them up and bring them to the United States.

I would not imagine that would go down well with Cuba. What are your thoughts on that?

MALLIOTAKIS: Well, it would be nice if President Biden tried to help arrange for this to happen.

Look, you can’t send money to Cuba, because the regime takes it. If there’s a way that we can send humanitarian aid, food, medicine, those necessities, soap, toilet paper. If there’s a way you can send that to Cuba and allow for that to be given to the people, that would be a major step in the right direction.

What I’m concerned about is him doing exactly what President Obama did, which was give away the store, make all these concessions, and get nothing in exchange. And, remember, to Bernie Sanders’ point, blame — he’s blaming the United States of America. They do business with everyone around the world, Cuba, yet nothing has changed in 60 years.

So what difference would it be if the United States were to lift the embargo? We need to get concessions. We need to get some change.

CAVUTO: All right.

MALLIOTAKIS: This is a time when we really need the president to stand up.

CAVUTO: All right, Congresswoman, we will see what happens.

Thank you very, very much for taking the time.


CAVUTO: I hope your family members will be OK through all of this.

I want to pass along some news concerning the former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. He is going to be Joe Biden’s next ambassador to Turkey. He was among a number of Republicans, Republicans for Biden, who had supported then candidate Joe Biden running for the presidency.

He will be the first prominent Republican, to my measure, who will have a key post, ambassador to Turkey.

We will have more after this.


CAVUTO: All right, we’re hearing from U.S. Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on those would-be migrants from Cuba and Haiti, if they want to come to the United States. In a word, don’t. It’s a risk not worth taking, and you would not be allowed to enter the U.S.

More after this.


CAVUTO: You’re not imagining it. The cost of living is going up, up, up.

In fact, in the latest government report, with the consumer retail inflation advancing about 5.4 percent, that is that the fastest spike we have seen since going back to 2008.

Tiana Lowe joins us right now from The Washington Examiner, as well as our own Charlie Gasparino.

I don’t know, Tiana. This is not looking transitory. This looks like it has more traction. This is the third significantly up retail inflation report. And it keeps getting more pronounced in terms of energy and what have you. It’s not passing. What do you think?

TIANA LOWE, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I mean, this was to be expected.

Combine a decade of near zero interest rates, despite being in a period of prolonged economic growth, with a $ 6 trillion spending bonanza during COVID, and you have the perfect monetary and fiscal storm for this sort of inflation.

You will hear a lot of inflation doves say, oh, just take out energy and gas and food, because those are volatile, not like those are the bulk of most Americans’ budgets, and you still have 4.5 percent inflation.

Look, the fact is, during a global pandemic, when you were stuck at home, Zoom schooling your kids, life got more expensive at the same time it got harder. Unless if you were lucky enough to work for one of the companies that could have given — that could have afforded to give you a raise, the average American has taken an effective 5.4 percent pay cut.

CAVUTO: You know, if you think about it, Charlie, it’s not going away.

Whatever political views you have, the fact of the matter is this is not just a passing fad. It seems to have some, as I said, traction to it. I guess the question for the markets, the economy, even for Washington is how long it lasts. And what do we do about it, if anything?


I mean, I want to — I want to disagree a little bit with your last guest. I mean, we had a pandemic-induced recession that was incredibly narrow, OK? It was narrow on — and I’m not dismissing it for people that it hit. But it was restaurants, leisure activities, the stuff that was really shut down by the lockdowns.

For a lot of people and maybe most Americans, they did pretty good. And they did pretty good because they can save money, they can work from home, they got stimulus checks. So then, all of a sudden, think of it this way.

You have a — you’re flush with cash. A lot of people have cash, except for those people in those narrow industries. Again, not dismissing it. On top of that, you have everything reopening. On top of that, you have massive amounts of government stimulus, fiscal stimulus. On top of that, you have the monetary stimulus.

You couldn’t write a better recipe for inflation, because the best stimulus obviously were the vaccines, right?

CAVUTO: Right.

GASPARINO: So, when you throw everything else on top of it, this is really bad.

And you know what’s scary about this is how the Biden administration is kind of spinning it. And they’re spinning like, oh, if you take out used cars and — so I think they had something out there like pandemic-related expenses, whatever that means. They never explain what that means.


CAVUTO: Yes, but, to Tiana’s point, even if you take out food and energy, the thing is still running up at a 4.5 percent clip.

So, Tiana, the question then becomes, would Americans stop buying? And so far, they expect, in a separate, survey inflation to remain a problem that maybe to see prices up about the same come next year. So they’re prepared for it. But are they really? What do you think?

LOWE: So, I mean, the issue here is no, I don’t think that the few one- time stimulus checks to Americans are going to be able to get us out of the rut to come.

Everyone knew that the Fed under Obama and under Trump was playing with fire by keeping interest rates this low for this long. And Jerome Powell is already committed to keeping them like this throughout the rest of the year. That gives the economy a lot of time to overheat.

And it’s not clear how this gets solved. You look at things like milk up 5 percent, shoes up 6 percent. Men’s pants that you need to buy after you gained your 15 pounds of COVID weight and are now going back into the office up 11 percent.

This is — I mean, people are just going to have to start getting a lot more thrifty. And, unfortunately, there’s not…

GASPARINO: Well, it’s pretty — it’s pretty easy to solve it.

I mean, you solve it by raising interest rates. And I don’t…


LOWE: But will they do that?

CAVUTO: No one wants to do that right now, Charlie. They don’t want to do that.


GASPARINO: But, I mean, that’s the only way you — you and I are old enough to remember Paul Volcker. Now, he did it in on steroids.

And it was DEFCON 4.

CAVUTO: He did. And he got rid of inflation, but man, oh, man, that was a shock to the system.

GASPARINO: It was a rough.

CAVUTO: Guys, thank you very much.

And, Charlie, thank you for reminding me how old we are.


CAVUTO: This does not apply to you, Tiana. Thank you. Thank you very, very much.

All right, all these Texas legislators who bolt in Texas, right now, they’re being greeted as rock stars in our nation’s capital. But whatever your politics, ask yourself why. They left their job. They bolted from their job. Is that brave?

After this.


CAVUTO: All right, those Texas lawmakers who bolted the Lone Star State over the Republican push for a voting reform bill that they said doesn’t reform anything, it makes things worse and is downright racist, they are going to be meeting shortly with the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, in the Capitol.

Phil Wegmann has been falling all this very, very closely, Phil, of course, with RealClearPolitics.

I’m wondering, though, whatever their notoriety in Washington, whether this is resonating for constituents back home, Phil. I mean, after all, they left rather than fight the fight back home. So how is that sorting out?

PHILIP WEGMANN, REALCLEARPOLITICS: This isn’t the first time that Texas Democrats have left to deny Republicans a quorum in the state House there.

A couple years back, they actually went to Oklahoma. But what’s different this time is that they have come to Washington, D.C., because they’re trying to force this into a national referendum. That raises some uncomfortable ironies, though, because at a moment when you have Texas Democrats who are obstructing the Republican counterparts back in the state, you also have Democrats here in the Senate leaning on Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin going after them to undo the filibuster.

And so it’s going to be difficult for the vice president to explain the difference between the obstruction in Texas, which the White House agrees with, and then the obstruction in the Senate, which they disagree with.

CAVUTO: It is interesting, too. Mitch McConnell didn’t waste a nanosecond commenting on just that irony that now Democrats in Washington are concerned about the views of the minority party.

Having said that, I’m wondering what greets these lawmakers again, I mean, why this can’t be fought at the ballot box. And if you don’t get your way, you look childish, for whatever your passions, taking your marbles and bolting, because, as you said, this has happened a number of times.

And I’m wondering if the signal back home is as receptive as the signal they’re getting in D.C.?

WEGMANN: Yes, I’m curious about that also, because people are learning about this during the workday. People are looking at those tweets from the Texas delegation about how they’re having their first meal as a fugitive.

They’re looking at those tweets. They’re following the news while they’re at work, while their elected representatives are not. And I think that this is interesting, because it comes at a moment when you have Joe Biden just in Philadelphia today saying that our democracy is at its greatest peril than since the Civil War.

And so I think that kind of explains the rock star treatment that this delegation is getting, because, in a way, Democrats can make the argument that they are fighting for democracy, that these extreme measures are necessary.

And if you read the Texas bills, they’re not as perverse as some might make them, but, overall, the national conversation here is one where Democrats can point to any reforms that the Republicans want to any of these different states, tie them all together, and then point to what happened on January 6.

And, frankly, that’s a powerful exclamation mark.

CAVUTO: You know, obviously, the administration has made it clear it sides with these bolting Democratic legislators. Kamala Harris is meeting with them as we speak.

I don’t know what Joe Biden’s plans are down the road. But the real message here is that people are putting up money for their two private planes that got them here. I don’t know who’s going to put up funds to have them stay in the Washington area. Presumably, that is where they’re going to stay until they see this ironed out, because they will be arrested if they come home, we’re told. This is a mess.

WEGMANN: It really is a mess.

And I’m actually curious about the reason why they’re not going to be meeting with Joe Biden in the Oval Office. And, instead, they’re getting an audience with the vice president. And I’m a little bit curious, because, look, Joe Biden is a product of the Senate. He talks about this all the time about being someone who understands and appreciates rules and decorum.

And just a couple of weeks ago, when Joe Biden was asked about the Olympian who was disqualified for her use of marijuana, it was very controversial, what was Joe Biden’s response? He said, well, rules are rules. Everybody knew what the rules were going in.

And so here you have the president of the United States, who is a by-the- book individual, who is sort of being forced to contend with people who are going off the rule book to make their point. And I’m interested to see how he might — he might greet them.

But, look, whether the White House wanted this or not, it’s a national referendum now.

CAVUTO: It is, indeed.

Phil Wegmann of RealClearPolitics.

And Jim Clyburn, who was on the show a little earlier, folks, as you might have heard, is pushing the president to drop the filibuster for legislation like this, where you need a simple majority. He isn’t for just junking it altogether, but on issues of the Constitution, Jim Clyburn telling us a little earlier, at least from his perspective as the House majority whip, this is worth it.

You can decide how you feel about that — after this.


CAVUTO: All right, Indiana right now is hearing a lawsuit over some students who did not like Indiana University’s requirement that they had to get vaccinated.

And it’s being argued in courts.

But to my friend Dr. Bob Lahita of St. Joseph Health Institute, what he makes of that.

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