A split in the Republican ranks could doom hundreds of bills still pending before the Texas Legislature. Tea party members frustrated with House GOP leaders have already brought business in the lower chamber to a halt.
Last night at midnight marked the cutoff for the House to vote on bills originating in the chamber this session. Members of the House Freedom Caucus railed that they were being stifled as the leadership focused on pressing through as many bills as possible. When the deadline passed, the group used a procedural move to kill more than 100 bills scheduled for a vote today.
“What’s happened to us has been personal retribution,” said State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano), who announced the move. “It’s been personal attacks, personal retribution, petty, personal politics. And this caucus has had enough of it.”
Brandon Rottinghaus, political science professor at the University of Houston, says the rupture could make it much harder for Republicans to work together. “The person who has to be the great unifier here is [Governor] Greg Abbott,” he says. “How Greg Abbott governs and how he chooses to run out the clock on these last pieces of legislation, what he signs and why are going to be pretty telling for what the future of the party will be.”