Jessica Cisneros calls on Democratic leaders to drop anti-abortion Rep. Henry Cuellar

Jessica Cisneros, a progressive lawyer challenging Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), on Wednesday called on members of the Democratic Party’s congressional leadership to withdraw their support for Cuellar, the latest opponent of abortion rights in the House Democratic Caucus .

Cisneros seized on Monday night’s revelation that the Supreme Court planned to overturn Roe v. Wade guaranteeing a federal abortion right as a reason for House Democratic leaders, who are nearly all support Cuellarto reconsider their approval.

“At every turn, my congressman has opposed the Democratic Party’s platform, going from anti-union to anti-choice,” Cisneros said in a statement. repeated in a video posted on social media. “With the majority of the House on the line, he could very well be the decisive vote on the future of our reproductive rights and we cannot afford to take that risk.”

“I hope the leadership of the Democratic Party does not prevent South Texans from taking action,” she added. “I am ready to work with them to achieve the Democratic agenda.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (DS.C.) and Democratic House Speaker Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) have all endorsed Cuellar. Clyburn should even headline a rally for Cuellar in San Antonio on Wednesday.

HuffPost contacted the offices of Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn to get their responses to Cisneros’ request.

By late Wednesday afternoon, only Hoyer’s office had provided an answer.

“House Democrats passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in September last year to codify Roe and protect abortion rights,” Hoyer spokeswoman Margaret Mulkerrin said in a statement. a statement. “The Senate must now adopt it and send it to the president for signature.”

Jessica Cisneros addresses her supporters in Laredo, Texas on March 1. She faces Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who is backed by House Democratic leaders, in a May 24 runoff.

Brandon Bell via Getty Images

The scenario described by Cisneros, in which Cuellar would be the deciding vote on a law codifying the right to abortion, is not implausible if the Democrats retain their majority in the House in November, but that majority shrinks to a margin. in one voice.

In the current Congress, however, as Hoyer’s office notes, the House has already passed legislation codifying abortion rights in September, despite Cuellar’s only Democratic “no.” The razor-thin majority of Democrats in the Senate, where the filibuster prevents them from passing the bill with a simple majority, has so far prevented that bill from becoming law.

Additionally, Democrats must hold Texas’ 28th congressional district to retain their majority in the House, and Cuellar argued that only a socially conservative Democrat like him is capable of doing so. Like many predominantly Latino seats in South Texas, the district shifted significantly to then-President Donald Trump in 2020. Although Hillary Clinton won the seat by nearly 20 percentage pointsPresident Joe Biden won there by just four percentage points.

Cisneros’ call, however, is part of a broader call by progressives for Democratic leaders to take dramatic steps to affirm their commitment to women’s reproductive rights in the wake of the Supreme Court news leak. . In addition to her statement on Wednesday, she and Justice Democrats, the left-leaning group that supports her, sent several email appeals asking for help defeating “the last anti-choice Democrat in Congress.”

Cisneros, who is challenging Cuellar for the Democratic nomination in Texas’ 28th for the second straight cycle, trailed him by two percentage points in the first round of their rematch in March. The presence of a third candidate prevented Cuellar from obtaining an absolute majority, causing runoff clash between Cuellar and Cisneros on May 24.

There are very few other instances in which positions on abortion rights are a point of contrast between Democratic candidates in competitive primaries. In North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, former State Senator Erica Smith has the support of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America in her race against State Senator Don Davis.

Davis took votes that undermined abortion rights in North Carolina, but insists he supports basic abortion rights and condemned the leaked news of the Supreme Court’s impending decision in cancel Roe.

Smith still hopes the news will give him an edge in the May 17 primary. She received the most donations Tuesday of any day from her campaign, according to spokesperson Morris Katz.


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