Republican Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan told his Democrat colleagues who are engaging in a political stunt in Washington to return their $221 daily stipend to the State Treasury.
“While these Texas Democrats collect taxpayer money as they ride on private jets to meet with the Washington elite, those who remain in the chamber await their return to begin work on providing our retired teachers a 13th check, protecting our foster kids, and providing taxpayer relief,” Phelan said in a Wednesday statement shared on Twitter.
“Those who are intentionally denying quorum should return their per diem to the State Treasury immediately upon receipt.”
— Dade Phelan (@DadePhelan) July 14, 2021
Several Democratic state legislators took chartered flights Monday to the nation’s capital in an attempt to stall voting on an election integrity bill by preventing the Texas House from achieving quorum.
Quorum is the minimum number of representatives needed to be present in the House for any decisions taken there to be valid.
The legislation the Democrats are protesting would, among other things, make it a crime for people who do not request ballots to receive them in the mail, require people who request mail-in ballots to show identification, curtail drive-thru voting and empower partisan poll watchers. It would ban 24-hour voting but add an extra hour of required early voting hours.
The Democrats claim the bill’s provisions would make it difficult for young people, racial minorities and disabled people to vote.
At least 51 of the state’s 67 Democrats are engaging in the attempt to block a quorum, Fox News reported.
In response to their flight out of Texas, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, speaking to KVUE-TV, threatened to have the boycotting Democrats “arrested” until “they get their job done.”
“If these people want to be hanging out wherever they’re hanging out on this taxpayer-paid junket, they’re going to have to be prepared to do it for well over a year. As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done,” Abbott said.
Some Democrats claimed they were not shirking their duties to the taxpayers of Texas by fleeing to Washington.
“We’re doing our jobs,” state Rep. Chris Turner told Fox News on Tuesday. “We’re working harder doing what we’re doing right now than we would be if we had stayed in the chamber to watch them run through a voter suppression bill on a party-line vote.”
At least one of the legislators who fled said she would not be taking the stipend during Abbott’s 30-day-long special session.
“Representative Beckley will not be accepting any per diem payments and will return any per diem that has been paid to her each day that she has not been in Austin since the quorum break,” Beckley’s office said in a statement shared through a Wednesday post on Twitter.
FYI: Representative Beckley will not be accepting any per diem payments and will return any per diem that has been paid to her each day that she has not been in Austin since the quorum break. #txlege #freedomtovote #righttovote pic.twitter.com/zLfNraDGR8
— Michelle Beckley (@BeckleyforTX) July 14, 2021
Beckley’s office has been working since Monday to return any per diem payments she had received, the news release stated.
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