Attorney General Ken Paxton secured a victory in federal court this week against a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives despite half of the members being absent. 

The U.S. Constitution requires that a quorum of members of the U.S. House of Representatives be present for the lower chamber of Congress to conduct business. However, only 201 members of the House of Representatives were present in the House’s chamber when the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 was voted on in December 2022 and approved by the House and Senate.

Included as part of the deal was the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which Paxton says would have opened up employers to more litigation from employees and was unnecessary due to the state’s laws.

Paxton brought a lawsuit on behalf of Texas, arguing the spending package was passed unlawfully and that such a provision would impose a financial burden on Texas taxpayers. On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court in Lubbock agreed, enjoining federal officials from enforcing that provision.

In an interview with Chris Salcedo, Paxton took aim at U.S. Sen. John Cornyn for joining Democrats in passing the massive spending bill. 

“We sued because in doing this John Cornyn and these other senators, Republican senators, along with the Democrats, allowed a bill to pass that was not done the right way. The Constitution was ignored and not followed,” said Paxton.

The spending bill also allocated $20 million to a case-management pilot program for the Department of Homeland Security’s “Alternatives to Detention Program” which would release illegal aliens who would rather be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. The court ruled that the state did not have standing to challenge this provision. However, Paxton noted it had not been funded yet with a September deadline.

“The judge said, until there’s harm, they actually fund it, then we don’t have standing to get a remedy. So presumably, if they fund this somehow before September 1, we could go back and make the challenge that the damage just occurred,” said Paxton.

Paxton said the vote should tell Texans that Cornyn is aligned with Democrats.

“I mean, I’d love to have one example of something he’s done that’s good for our state, that’s good for our country,” Paxton said, accusing Cornyn of funding Biden’s priorities.

As of publishing, Cornyn did not respond to a request for comment.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens