After a whirlwind of criticism from citizens relating to the Texas House leadership’s obstruction of Gov. Greg Abbott’s agenda of conservative reforms, House Republican Caucus Chairman Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound) is trying to provide cover for his colleagues by claiming that they’re actually hard at work. The truth of the matter is that Parker is an accomplice to a corrupt administration that is actively torpedoing the governor’s priorities.
In a statement attributed to the Caucus, Parker says “the Republican members of the Texas House are committed to working diligently to successfully address the conservative legislation put forth by Governor Abbott in this special session.”
But House Republicans aren’t “committed to working diligently”—the vast majority of them aren’t working at all.
On Tuesday, the Texas Senate worked for more than 14 hours straight, going well past midnight, in order to pass a dozen items on Abbott’s agenda. When House members gaveled in Wednesday morning, they worked for seventeen minutes. The House has only passed half of one item.
Sadly, such contrast isn’t spurring Parker to demand the leadership of the Texas House get serious about conservative reforms.
Rather than show any leadership or backbone, Parker is reprising his role from the regular session – deciding his job as chairman of the House GOP Caucus is to cover for House Speaker Joe Straus amongst Republicans, to deploy smokescreens to protect his members from their own constituents, and to manufacture excuses for the his’ and Straus’ refusal to seriously address the issues.
“Because of differences in the size of the chamber and their rules, House deliberation sometimes can take longer than Senate actions,” Parker says in his letter.
Such claims are intended to obfuscate and explain away the House’s failure before it has even happened. The members are fully responsible for the results. Indeed, Parker is cheerleading Straus’ leadership as he defies the governor and the Texas Constitution by wasting time on items not included in the call.
“Texas House Republicans are also using this 30-day special session to evaluate the state funds by certain state agencies (General Investigating and Ethics Committee/TABC oversight) and investigate potential impact to Texas from the anticipated federal repeal of Obamacare (Appropriations Committee,” he writes.
Neither item is included on Abbott’s special session call.
The truth of the matter is that Parker works harder to manufacture and maintain the façade that he and other House Republicans are working for citizens instead of actually working to represent citizens. There are 95 Republicans in the Texas House, a strong enough margin to force House Speaker Joe Straus to address the governor’s priorities or replace him with someone who will.
What does it say about Parker that he will move heaven and earth to pass legislation benefitting NASCAR, but will do nothing to support the aims of his governor, his party, or his constituents?