OnPolitics: Here we go again with Texas – USA TODAY

Welcome back from the long weekday, OnPolitics readers. 

Texas is back in the news … again.

And not just for the state’s abortion laws. (ICYMI: The Department of Justice announced Monday it would protect people’s access to abortion in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed a Republican-backed voting bill into law, making good on a promise to rewrite the state’s election practices despite sharp opposition — and quorum-busting walkouts — by Democrats.

Learning from past mistakes: Citing the possibility of another serious pandemic, the Biden administration on Friday laid out a plan to transform the nation’s ability to respond to major biological threats.

It’s Mabinty, with the day’s top news. 

And the lawsuits challenging Texas voting law have begun

“Election integrity is now the law in the state of Texas,” Abbott said shortly after putting his signature to Senate Bill 1 during a signing ceremony. 

All Democrats in the Legislature voted against SB 1, arguing that it was inspired by the “big lie” that voter fraud denied President Donald Trump a second term in the White House, requiring a sharp crackdown to protect the integrity of the ballot.

Only one Texas lawmaker crossed party lines — Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, who voted against SB 1.

Some of what the bill does: SB 1 bans drive-thru voting or casting a ballot from inside a vehicle unless participating in curbside voting due to sickness or a disability. It also prohibits 24-hour and overnight voting by requiring polls to be open a minimum of nine hours from between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. 

Hold up: Immediately after Abbott signed SB 1, the League of United Latin American Citizens announced that it had filed a federal lawsuit to block the law from taking effect in early December.

“LULAC strongly opposes this attack on our voting rights and freedoms because they have one and only one purpose — to dilute our voice at the ballot box and continue to stop electoral change in Texas,” said Domingo Garcia, president of the organization. 

Two similar federal court challenges were filed Friday.

Real quick: Stories you’ll want to read

White House wants more money to deal with Afghanistan withdrawal

The White House is requesting billions in emergency funds this month from Congress to help resettle tens of thousands of Afghan immigrants into the U.S. 

How much money are we talking? In a spending request Tuesday outlining “urgent needs,” President Joe Biden’s administration asked Congress to authorize $6.4 billion for Afghan resettlement efforts one week after the U.S. ended its military effort in Afghanistan. The U.S. is currently working to resettle Afghan allies evacuated from the war-torn country.

White House officials also requested “at least $10 billion” for recovery efforts from Hurricane Ida, and an additional $14 billion for other recent natural disasters – including Hurricanes Laura and Delta from last year.

Shalanda Young, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, made the budget request Tuesday, less than four weeks before the current 2021 fiscal year ends Sept. 30. Together the requests total more than $30 billion.

How will the money get spent? The funding for Afghan refugees would support U.S. resettlement operations overseas and plans for as many as 65,000 vulnerable Afghans to arrive in the U.S. by the end of his month, according to the White House, and up to 30,000 additional Afghans over the next year.

Hope you have an easy week! — Mabinty