George P. Bush Says He Misspoke in Calling for Special Session on Hurricane Harvey Relief

AUSTIN -- Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said Monday that he misspoke when he told a student newspaper that the state needed to call a special session to fund Hurricane Harvey relief. Bush's about-face, first reported by The Texas Tribune, came a day after an interview with a student newspaper at Texas A&M University quoted the land commissioner as saying: "The Legislature needs to take a deep look at the Rainy Day Fund. We need a special session, and the governor needs to call it."Bush's comment was a clear contrast to Gov. Greg Abbott who has said there is no need for a special session and that the state has enough resources to "address the needs between now and the next session."On Monday, Bush said in a prepared statement: "I clearly misspoke. I agree that calling a special session is not necessary. I will continue to work under Gov. Abbott's leadership as we help Texans throughout the hurricane recovery process."Jerry Patterson, Bush's predecessor and challenger in the March primary, has criticized the land commissioner's handling of the hurricane relief effort and made the issue a key part of his campaign. Patterson said thousands of hurricane survivors remain outside their homes because the land office was late to start "shelter at home" programs with FEMA in an effort to appear fiscally conservative. Officials have said Patterson "oversimplifies" the land office's efforts to provide aid by "cherry-picking" two federal programs. On Monday, Patterson said Bush's comment was an attempt by his opponent to cast blame on others."We don't need a special session, we need George P. Bush to do his job," said Patterson, who held the office from 2003 to 2015. Patterson said he did not believe Bush had misspoken. "It's not like you left an 'a,' or 'and,' or 'can't' and misspoke. You had to think and put those words together," Patterson said. "The real issue here is this is part of his effort to blame others for his catastrophic failure to handle Hurricane Harvey."  Continue reading...

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