By\u00a0Alexa Ura\r\nTexas House Democrats who left the state to block GOP-backed efforts to enact new voting restrictions will testify on those proposals before a U.S. House subcommittee this week.\r\nState Reps.\u00a0Senfronia Thompson\u00a0of Houston,\u00a0Nicole Collier\u00a0of Fort Worth, and Diego Bernal\u00a0of San Antonio are expected to make appearances on Thursday before the civil rights and civil liberties subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a specially called hearing on contentious Texas legislation that would rewrite state election laws. The hearing will come in the middle of Texas Democrats\u2019 third week in Washington, D.C., offering them a more formal stage on which to make their case against the legislation that prompted them to decamp to the capital.\r\n\u201cAmerica is facing the most sweeping assault on the voting rights of the people since passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965,\u201d U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who chairs the subcommittee, said in a statement. \u201cTexas is now Ground Zero in this battle, and we are honored to have these Texas lawmakers come to testify before our subcommittee about the struggle to defend basic democracy in their state.\u201d\r\nThe Texas Democrats have been in D.C. since July 12 when they slipped out of the state so they could deny Republicans the quorum needed to advance their legislation.\r\nSince arriving, they have conceded they don\u2019t have the votes to keep the Republican majority in the Legislature from eventually passing the legislation. Instead, they\u2019ve attempted to frame their protest as a summons for Congress to act on far-reaching federal legislation. Their focus is on a pair of federal bills that would reinstate federal oversight of elections in states like Texas with troubling records and set new federal standards for voting access, like same-day and automatic voter registration.\r\nThe Texas legislation in question would ban local voting options meant to expand access to voting, further restrict the state\u2019s voting-by-mail rules, enhance access for partisan poll watchers and create new rules \u2014 and possible penalties \u2014 for those who help voters cast their ballots.\r\nDuring their time in the capital, the Texas Democrats have held meetings with nearly all of the most powerful Democrats in Washington, save for President Joe Biden. But there is still no clear movement to push past the U.S. Senate\u2019s filibuster rule and get the federal voting legislation on the floor for a vote.\r\nIn his statement, Raskin said he hoped the hearing would help \u201cgalvanize attention\u201d on the need for the federal voting legislation.\r\nStill, the legislative theatrics have brought increased national attention to the proposed Texas legislation \u2014 and the possible implications for voters. Democrats have argued their audiences with members of Congress have also given them an opening to bring forth the state\u2019s recent violations that could build a record for why federal intervention is needed.\r\n\u201cIt is important for them to know the specific stories that are happening in Texas,\u201d State Rep.\u00a0Rafael Anch\u00eda\u00a0said in a recent press conference. The Dallas Democrat pointed to\u00a0federal court findings of intentional discrimination against voters of color\u00a0at the hands of state lawmakers in the last decade and the state\u2019s\u00a0recent botched review of the voter rolls that jeopardized the voting rights\u00a0of tens of thousands of naturalized citizens. \u201cThis is happening in real time, and it's very, very dangerous.\u201d\r\nRepublicans have pushed the legislation citing the need to enhance \u201celection integrity\u201d and reduce the likelihood of fraud, though they lack the evidence that Texas elections are mired by voting irregularities on a widespread basis. In recent weeks, they\u2019ve chided Democrats for abandoning their posts and not engaging in debate over the bills back at home.\r\nDemocrats have centered their opposition on concerns about the risk the legislation runs in disenfranchising voters, particularly voters of color and those with disabilities, by raising new barriers or pulling back on voting initiatives like drive-thru voting and overnight voting. They\u2019ve been backed in their opposition by disability rights groups, voting rights advocates, and civil rights organizations with long histories of fighting for Hispanic and Black Texans.\r\nAlso testifying on Thursday will be Nina Perales, the vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who has raised concerns about the GOP legislation\u2019s possible effect on voting access for Latinos.\r\nA smaller delegation of\u00a0Democrats previously made their pitch in D.C. when the national spotlight turned on the Texas voting fight following their first walkout to derail passage of the legislation in late May. Their second quorum break \u2014 this time past state boundaries and the jurisdiction of Texas law enforcement sent to round them up \u2014 came just days into a special legislative session called to revive the voting bill and other GOP priorities.\r\nThis story originally published by the Texas Tribune.