Democrats recently stalked off the floor of the Texas House Chamber in order to prevent the Texas GOP from passing Senate Bill 7, a voting rights bill relating to election integrity and security. But Gov. Greg Abbott is pushing back against the Dems and has threatened to veto the state legislature’s budget if they choose to abandon their responsibilities and deny the state the necessary quorum to hold a vote. This move would prevent members from getting paid.
“I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch. No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities. Stay tuned,” Abbott tweeted shortly before calling a special legislative session.
Gov. Abbott is threatening to veto the legislative part of the state’s budget plan, which contains $410.2 million for the legislative branch, including a $600 a month salary for lawmakers and salaries for support staff. The section of the plan also includes funding for various agencies such as the Legislative Budget Board, the State Auditor’s Office, and the Legislative Reference Library.
Abbott stated that he expects legislators to put their differences aside and arrive at the Capitol, so they can “hit the ground running” to pass legislation related to these emergency items. He said that they need to continue advancing the policies that put the people of Texas first. He talked about many of the “must-pass” emergency items including legislation to secure the border, support law enforcement, expand the Second Amendment rights, defend religious liberty, protect life, and ensure election integrity.
Gov. Abbott issued a statement announcing that a special legislative session would be held to consider some of the bills, including the election integrity and bail reform bill. He said that the state legislature must protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that every Texan knows their vote is secure.
“It is deeply disappointing and concerning for Texans that neither will reach my desk. Ensuring the integrity of our elections and reforming a broken bail system remain emergencies in Texas. They will be added to the special session agenda. Legislators will be expected to have worked out the details when they arrive at the Capitol for the special session,” Gov. Abbott said.
Republican state Rep. Briscoe Cain said he was ‘disappointed’ that some members decided to break their oath and refuse to do their jobs. Another GOP member, Sen. Bryan Hughes, shared that casting votes is fundamental to our democracy and that they should not let national headlines or half-truths from the White House keep Texas from doing the right thing.
“We all took an oath to be here and to be here and cast these votes and represent our constituents, win or lose. I’ve won some; I’ve lost some, but we stay here and we fight it out. And so we were disappointed to see them do that. And so, the governor’s calling us back and he’s doing the right thing,” Hughes said.
According to several media outlets, the chair of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Cris Turner had sent a text message informing other Democrats to “leave the chamber discreetly” ahead of the midnight deadline. While they later confirmed that they used their “last tool” to kill the bill, it’s ironic that Texas Democrats claimed the bill to be ‘voter suppression’ and decided to ‘suppress’ the vote by walking out.
House Democrats have argued that this is an attack on the “working people” of the legislature, but others said they should’ve thought about that before trying to short-circuit the state’s legislative process. It’s also not the first time that a group of Democrats has tried to create mass hysteria over commonsense voter bills.
Republicans are trying to get their state the voting laws it deserves, but Democrats are too committed to their agenda. No work, no pay.