In response to the events in the state Capitol Sunday night, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott threatened to impose financial penalties for lawmakers in the state Legislature.
Over the weekend, after Republican lawmakers suspended rules to push through a series of last-minute additions to the expansive voting bill SB7, Texas Democrats left the House in order to break a quorum and block its passage before the midnight deadline.
Although he has not specified a timeline, the governor made it clear that he would call a special session to get it passed and that there would be penalties for the lawmakers. In a tweet, Abbott referred to Article X of the budget, which pays not only lawmakers and staff but also funds legislative agencies, such as the Legislative Budget Board. Under the current budget, the legislative branch is funded through the end of August, and the budget Abbott is referring to covers the fiscal year starting Sept. 1.
“I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch,” Abbott tweeted. “No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities. Stay tuned.”
Defunding the legislature is unlikely to have that much of an effect on state lawmakers, who largely hold outside employment when not in session. It will, however, affect legislative staff, who are paid through the legislative branch. Democratic legislators quickly criticized Abbott’s veto announcement.
“Punishing working class office staff, maintenance, and other support services because he didn’t get every single one of his demands is very on-brand for Texas Republicans,” Democratic state Rep. Gene Wu said on Twitter in response to Abbott’s announcement.