The Democrat had taken his last sip of water at 10:15 a.m. of July 25, vowing not to consume any food or drink until nurses told him it was unsafe to do so. He concluded his strike at around 7 p.m. of the same day. Casar's nine-hour fast sought to get the White House on board to implement a heat protection rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that includes water and food breaks.
"It's challenging and it's hot, but it's not as hot as it is in Texas," the congressman said in an interview. "If things were working the way they should, then we wouldn't have had multiple workers die in Texas of heat exhaustion just in this month alone."
Casar pointed to a recent heat wave that brought triple-digit temperatures to the Lone Star State. Given this, he argued that workers need water breaks now more than ever.
The Democrat denounced a state law signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in June that will overturn some local ordinances. The so-called "Death Star Bill" will overturn local ordinances that require water breaks for workers. This prompted Casar to call for more action at the federal level – culminating with his strike.
"During the Civil Rights era, when governors in the South did terrible things, people of conscience in Washington, D.C. stepped up and did the right thing," he said. "I think we're called upon in this moment do the same to pass national heat protections to give everybody the right to water."
Casar made use of a heart rate monitor, and even livestreamed his medical checkups. Before ending his strike, nurses checked his vital signs. The crowd surrounding Casar burst into applause as he chugged down a glass of water.
During Casar's strike, several of his colleagues from the Democratic Party showed up to offer support – including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries from New York. New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman also showed up in support of their fellow Squad member. The Progressive Squad lists Casar, Bowman and Ocasio-Cortez as members.
Reps. Al Green and Sylvia Garcia, both Texas Democrats, also joined Casar in the morning. Garcia even recounted a story of her working in the fields under the hot sun, causing her to get so overheated and suffer a nosebleed.
This was not the first time Casar went on a hunger or thirst strike. He previously did so in Austin back in 2010, and went on strike again five years later in 2015.
The Democratic lawmaker addressed supporters after his fast, saying: "I was honored to be joined at my thirst strike by workers in Texas and across the nation – and by lots of colleagues pushing for federal heat safety protections."
Activists and union workers joined Casar, including labor leader Dolores Huerta. She founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Cesar Chavez in in 1962. NFWA later merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, led by Filipino-American labor leader Larry Itliong, to form the United Farm Workers of America.
Greg Price of Para Bellum News poked fun at Casar's strike, tweeting: "Bro skipped one meal and is breaking out the heart rate monitor." (Related: Intermittent fasting 101: How many hours do you have to fast to reap its benefits?)
Looking at the silver lining of things, Casar himself became an unexpected poster boy for the benefits of fasting. He said: "I thought I would be feeling way hungrier or crankier. Nine hours without water or food, but I'm more energized than ever to get this done."
Watch this MSNBC news report about the "Death Star Bill" Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed, and what Rep. Greg Casar fasted against.
This video is from the NewsClips channel on Brighteon.com.