After conservatives announced their intent to kill more than one hundred bills today, House Speaker Joe Straus and his allies surrendered and acquiesced to their demands.
Straus had little choice.
While he likely had the votes to do so, overriding the House Freedom Caucus by suspending the rules for the hundred plus bills would have shown grassroots Texans around the state that the excuses his lieutenants have used to defend their previous failures to pass conservative legislation were empty lies.
The decision could have also have potentially imperiled his ruling coalition. This session, even House Democrats have begun to chafe and bristle under Straus’ autocratic and dictatorial rule. And they know that suspending the rules for these bills could open Pandora’s Box.
Texas Democrats were watching when their allies in the U.S. Senate used the “nuclear option” to remove the filibuster for cabinet appointees and then later regretted their decision when Republicans retook the chamber. They know that if they went along with Straus they could come to regret their actions once conservatives take the chamber—which will happen sooner or later as long as Texas voters continue to rise up and demand results from their lawmakers.
Conservatives should applaud the brave and committed members of the Texas Freedom Caucus who showed last night and today that when they work together as a team, they can effectively wrest control of the House chamber. If lawmakers will commit to continuing to work with such tenacity and fervor, conservatives may be able to salvage some reforms out of an otherwise lacking legislative session.