With Texas' special legislative session set to end this week, Republicans Tuesday criticized state Democrats who have been in Washington for weeks in an effort to kill the GOP-backed elections bill.
Republicans raised several items on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) agenda for the session that have not yet been addressed because the House lacks a quorum. Those agenda items included a 13th check for retired teachers, property tax relief and more money for border security.
The 13th check is a one-time supplemental payment of benefits under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
“In no other industry on earth can you fail to show up for the job for 30 days, get paid and expect to keep the job," House Republican Caucus Chair Rep. Jim Murphy (R-Houston) said. "But that’s what’s happened."
Critics have asked if those issues were so important, why weren't they passed in the regular session?
Republicans say $7 billion additional became available when the comptroller revised the revenue estimate.
“People have asked, 'Well, why didn’t you do that during session?' That is an easy answer. Because we didn’t realize we would have enough money to do some of those additional things that we know now we’re able to do,” state Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) said.
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Meanwhile, Texas Democrats in Washington continue to lobby federal lawmakers to pass voting bills that would supersede state laws.
“We have one goal that we are focusing on, and that goal is to attain the freedom to vote for all persons,” Rep. Alma Allen (D-Houston) said.
Democrats feel by lobbying federal lawmakers they have moved the conversation along.
But Abbott has said he would call another special session when the first one expires. Whether Democrats are there remains to be seen.
“We have a long way to go until this Friday, which is the end of the first special session," Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) said. "So we are squarely focused on getting those pieces moving. I think we are going to have a lot of success this week and, you know, whether the governor calls us back or not isn’t up to us."
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