Texas Democrats wanted to make a very big deal out of looking cool for running away from their jobs in order to stop the Texas legislature from fulfilling their duty of doing the people’s business. The passage of election security laws was something the Democrats didn’t want, opting instead of supporting the passage of the “For the People Act” a federal law that would seize control over a state’s ability to create its own election laws.
They fled to D.C. to the sound of applause from the Twitterartti and friendly mainstream press figures, flat-out refusing to do the job they were elected to do. In the real world, if you don’t do a job you don’t get paid, and that’s why Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed funding for the state legislature back in June in order to see to it that Democrats don’t collect taxpayer money for being AWOL. This naturally made Democrats angry, and as Democrats do, demanded something for nothing.
Angrily, the Texas Democrats went to the Texas Supreme Court and asked them to overturn the governor’s vetoing the state legislatures funding. The court came back with a message that could only be summed up as “you’re S-O-L”:
While in the District of Columbia, Democratic House members have met with members of the Biden administration and Congress to urge passage of federal legislation on voting and have held public meetings to draw attention to their cause. They have publicly stated that the importance of defeating the Republican-supported elections bill justified their departure from Texas and breaking quorum even though it also prevented the Texas House from restoring Article X funding. They have not returned to the House to allow it to continue business. The Republican House members, for their part, have insisted that the House pass the elections bill and perhaps other legislative priorities before addressing Article X funding. The special session expired on August 6.
These public statements and events make it clear that the subject of the petition for writ of mandamus — the lack of Article X funding for the Legislature — continues to exist not because of a dispute between the Governor and the Legislature, nor even because of one between the Governor and a minority of House members. Rather, the principal dispute is among the members of the Legislature. Relators do not argue that the Legislature would have failed to pass Article X funding had they been present in the House to provide a quorum to do business. They argue only that Governor Abbott might veto the funding again if they did. This argument is entirely speculative.
The court also pointed out that these Democrats are wholly alone in their concerns and that the Republicans are in alignment with Abbott’s veto decision. What’s more, had they been present, they could have been present to restore the funding but chose to continue to “absent themselves” in favor of holding up a vote on voting legislation. Since this refusal to do the job really boils down to the legislation vs. each other and not the legislation vs. Abbott, this is outside of the court’s purview.
In short: you made this bed, you sleep in it.
Texas Democrats could have returned and done their jobs to ensure their paychecks kept flowing even as they took L’s from Republicans as the people of Texas intended, but instead they decided to favor the show over the work. They chose to get paid in publicity rather than money.
It would appear that some Democrats have decided to cave and go back to work. This has caused a rift to appear within the Texas Democrat party as Nick Arama has pointed out in a recent article. Without paychecks, Democrats won’t be able to do what they really want to do, and that’s make money for themselves. Soon they’ll be forced to walk back into the state legislature and do their jobs, and their entire stunt will amount to giving themselves a figurative black eye.