Shortly before announcing their retirements on the exact same day, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) teamed up to form a temporary, 60-day committee for the interim period, with the announced intent of “re-assert(ing) that Texas is fully committed to private-sector growth.”

The House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness is chaired by Cook and features a panel of both Democrats and liberal, Straus-ally Republicans.

After just one hearing, Chairman Cook has put his contempt for conservatives on full display, by preventing members of the House Freedom Caucus from asking questions of the committee.

The announcement of the formation of the temporary committee came on the heels of various cities and states across the country attempting to lure Amazon’s new headquarters into coming to town.

As well, the committee seems to be yet another shot by Straus at the Privacy Act, which he and Cook actively worked to kill during both the last regular and special session, despite majority support in both chambers of the Capitol, and across the state.

Straus’ official statement announcing the formation of the committee stated that “there should be no ambiguity that the Texas House will focus on the big and consequential instead of the petty and the polarizing.” Everyone Straus assigned to the committee opposed the Privacy Act.

In a formal letter to Cook, Rep. Tinderholt announced his intent to attend every one of the committee hearings and to actively question the committee as he felt was necessary.

Tinderholt wrote, “Many Texans are concerned that a handful of politically correct and socially liberal corporations are attempting to speak on behalf of all businesses in Texas. We want to ensure that Texas maintains its core values that make us who we are, while providing many opportunities for businesses to grow and move to this great state.”

With the heat of electoral failures hanging over their heads, and thus forcing their joint retirement, both Cook and Straus are clinging to their last realms of power before their departure from the House (for good). Conservatives and members of the House Freedom Caucus should continue to hold their feet steadfast, especially as it relates to their superfluous committee.

The committee is holding a second public hearing today, December 5, and is charged with reporting its “findings” a week later on December 12.

Austin Goss

Austin Goss is the Capitol Correspondent for Empower Texans and Texas Scorecard. Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, Austin is a Christian, soldier in the United States Army Reserves, and a student at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Austin on Twitter @AG_Legacy