While House Republicans were attending a caucus meeting the day after the Texas Legislature adjourned Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session sine die, Abbott was taking to the airwaves to blame House Speaker Joe Straus for killing his agenda.
Asked in a radio interview this morning if he assigned blame for the death of his agenda to Straus, Abbott replied, “Well, of course.”
Speaking in regard to property tax reform, spending limits, and privacy protections – all top priorities in the regular and special sessions – Abbott said, “There’s no evidence whatsoever that Straus is going to change his mind on these.” And if Straus stays on as Speaker, Abbott added, “These reforms can’t get through the Texas House.”
“Voters send these representatives to Austin to make hard decisions and make Texas better, not to hide behind things like parliamentary procedure,” he concluded.
As Abbott was blasting Straus on radio stations across the state, Republican members of the Texas House were attending a caucus meeting under the auspices of proposing mechanisms to choose a different speaker.
Grassroots Texans across the state encouraged their lawmakers to attend the meeting believing that it could be the first step towards replacing Straus and taking back the Texas House. Such an effort was an astounding success and a final headcount placed the number of Republican lawmakers present at more than 80, far more than was necessary for a quorum.
However, despite their efforts at getting House Republicans in the same room, it appears no change in speaker will be happening anytime soon after lawmakers failed to push the issue to the forefront – even after Straus overrode their objections and killed Abbott’s agenda with an iron fist only yesterday. Shortly after the meeting concluded, State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler) seemed to throw cold water on the idea that anything would change in the near future.
“Nothing was decided except that it’s a conversation that’s worthy of being continued,” said Schaefer.
Meanwhile, Straus seemed to view the outcome of the meeting as “positive,” telling reporters that it was “very constructive, very positive, and very unified.”
Such a result means that conservative Texans have a lot of work to do in the upcoming Republican primaries. Sooner or later, every lawmaker will have to choose whether they will continue to be complicit cogs in Straus’ criminal enterprise or if they will fight for the constituents they claim to represent.