Ticked-Off Abbott Promises to Defund the Whole Legislative Branch After Dems Kill Voting Bill

Gov. Greg Abbott's legislative budget threat would affect way more people than the Democrats he's mad at.
Gov. Greg Abbott's legislative budget threat would affect way more people than the Democrats he's mad at. Screenshot
Gov. Greg Abbott was clearly still furious Memorial Day afternoon following the death of Texas Republicans’ “election integrity” bill at the hands of Texas House Democrats late Sunday night.

Abbott was so angry that House Dems were able to block the passage of Senate Bill 7 — the controversial election reforms Republicans tried to push through following former President Donald Trump’s unfounded voter fraud claims — that he vowed Monday afternoon to use his line-item veto power over the recently-passed state budget to cut all funding for the Texas Legislature.

“No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities,” Abbott tweeted.
In his tweet, Abbott referred to Article 10 of the new state budget, which funds not only the pay for all state lawmakers of both parties, but the salaries of thousands of support staffers — many of them who work for non-partisan offices like the Legislative Budget Board and the Legislative Reference Library — for two years starting September 1, 2021.

Abbott’s promise to cut off funding for an entire branch of the state government followed a late-night Sunday walkout from Texas House Democrats in opposition to SB 7. The Democrats' walkout prevented the House from passing both SB 7 and a bail reform bill that would have made it harder for Texans accused of violent crimes to get out of jail before going to trial, both of which Abbott had named emergency items leading up to the legislative session.

After Democrats prevented those items from passing through the House ahead of the session’s end, Abbott promised Sunday night he would summon legislators back to work for a special session to revive both measures. Abbott hasn’t announced a timeline for a special session, although lawmakers are already set to return to Austin later in the year for at least one special session to handle redistricting once the delayed U.S. Census results arrive in the fall.

Democratic state Rep. Gene Wu of Houston tweeted Monday to remind folks that since Texas’ part-time lawmakers don’t make much money to begin with, the real brunt of Abbott’s retaliatory veto would fall on the families of all the workers behind the scenes who keep the legislature running.

“This is petty and tone-deaf even for Texas," Wu wrote.
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Schaefer Edwards is a staff writer at the Houston Press who covers local and regional news. A lifelong Texan and adopted Houstonian, he loves NBA basketball and devouring Tex-Mex while his cat watches in envy.
Contact: Schaefer Edwards