On Wednesday, the Democrat-coalition that governs the Texas House overrode Republican opposition to expand welfare in the state.
At issue was HB 132 by State Rep. Ina Minjarez (D–San Antonio) which would significantly expand the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Though the Legislative Budget Board alleged that the cost of such an expansion would be minimal, conservatives led by State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R–Irving) disagreed and said that the change could lead to fraud.
Despite their efforts, the Democrat-coalition had other plans. Led by State Rep. Four Price (R–Amarillo), a number of Republican lawmakers loyal to House leadership joined with Democrats to pass the measure 79-65.
Rinaldi described the vote as “disappointing” for conservatives.
“The decision by the House to pass HB 132 today was deeply disappointing to me as a conservative. The bill expands welfare eligibility and makes it easier for recipients to commit fraud,” said Rinaldi. “While I was encouraged that over 2/3 of my Republican colleagues joined me in opposition to this Democrat-authored expansion of the welfare state, it’s inexplicable why we are being forced to vote on new government handouts rather than top conservative priorities like the dismemberment abortion ban, sanctuary city legislation and property tax reform.”
Today’s vote is the third this session in which a majority of the House Republican Caucus voted against an item of legislation only to be defeated as members defect and join with Democrats to pass the measure.
In light of such actions, Texas Scorecard reached out to GOP Caucus Chairman Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound) for comment, but he refused to respond.
Here is a list of the Republican State Reps that voted with Democrats:
Trent Ashby, Angie Chen Button, Travis Clardy,Byron Cook, Sarah Davis, James Frank, Charlie Geren, Lance Gooden, Dan Huberty, Kyle Kacal, Ken King, Linda Koop, John Kuempel, Rick Miller, Chris Paddie, Dade Phelan, Four Price, John Raney, JD Sheffield, Ed Thompson, Gary VanDeaver, Jason Villalba, James White, Terry Wilson.