Texas Democrats staged a walk-out in the state House this week in protest of a new election integrity bill.
Now, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is threatening to hit his political adversaries in the wallet as a response to their efforts to defeat Senate Bill 7.
“Funds the legislative branch”
He announced on Monday that he would veto the legislative branch’s budget after House Democrats shirked their duties with their stunt earlier in the week.
Abbott, who has already touted his state’s conservative legislature following the passage of tough new bills on abortion and other hot-button issues, clearly prioritized the passage of the election bill that passed in the state Senate on Sunday morning.
It had been poised to sail through to final passage before Democrats denied the GOP a quorum by walking out of the chamber on Sunday night. The protest marked just the fourth time such a political maneuver had been organized in Texas history.
The governor expressed “deep disappointment” over the partisan protest and vowed to hold a special session aimed at passing the controversial bill.
Upping the ante, Abbott announced: “I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch. No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities. Stay tuned.”
“Every step of the way”
Democratic state Rep. Gene Wu, however, argued that the action would actually result in “punishing working-class office staff, maintenance, and other support services” in pursuit of political payback.
Of course, Democrats in other states have similarly opposed GOP-led efforts to enact stricter voting laws, which critics have generally decried as de facto “voter suppression” and thinly veiled attempts to disenfranchise racial minorities. President Joe Biden even denounced the Texas bill as an “assault on democracy.”
Senate Bill 7 seeks to rescind voting methods implemented in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, such as 24-hour and drive-through voting options. It would also shorten Sunday voting hours, which Democrats claim would disproportionately impact Black parishioners.
Under the terms of the legislation, it would be a felony to send out unsolicited mail-in ballot applications.
For his part, Democratic state Rep. Chris Turner remained adamant in his party’s opposition to Abbott, declaring: “We’re going to fight him every step of the way. We’re going to fight Republicans every step of the way. And we’re going to do whatever it takes to continue to stop, slow down, and mitigate this legislation.”