Even though Democrats in the Texas Senate have chosen to torpedo the state’s budget, the Texas House still has an opportunity to enact meaningful public policy. And with House Democrats circulating an anti-Joe Straus letter, the GOP should use their super-majority card.
According to the Quorum Report, House Democrats are circulating a caucus letter urging their members to withhold support — and not sign any pledge cards — for Speaker Straus. Whatever one thinks of pledge cards, and even Mr. Straus, the House Democrats have now signaled their unwillingness to debate public policy issues in good faith because of their political interests.
All this comes as the Senate allowed a filibuster on a key budget funding bill late Sunday night to push Texas on the brink of a costly special session.
The legislature’s Democrats are engaging on reckless obstructionism, killing needed and popular reforms at the altar of political gamesmanship.
The House GOP should not take it lying down. When they come back from lunch, the House should take meaningful action: use the House Rules to suspend the procedural roadblocks to pass legislation that was otherwise killed last night.
Chief among those would be Senate Bill 8, which makes significant reforms to health care policy and includes language for the Health Care Compact. Similarly, Senate Bill 23 is a strong Medicaid reform bill. Both bills enjoyed bipartisan support.
It was only when the House and Senate Democrats decided that they wanted to implode the legislative session that they started to oppose these bills. In fact, the House is the last stop for these measures before enactment by the governor. Get ‘er done.
Some House members are taking a “wait and see” approach; preferring to maybe not do anything with these two bills if the Senate doesn’t move the budget.
Just because the Senate is allowing itself to be weighed down by its weakest member, the House shouldn’t sacrifice important reforms. House members have an opportunity to demonstrate that they can and will finish their work.
This should be a clarion call to all conservatives — including conservatives in the Senate — to start to work on some serious Senate-cleaning in the next election, when all 31 state senators will be on the ballot thanks to re-districting.