What we Learned this Week from the House Rules Debate - Episode 101
We learned a ton during last week’s rules debate in the Texas House. This week we start by explaining for Texans what the rules are, and then proceed to lay out key takeaways from last week’s debate.
Some key things we learned this week include:
1. Leadership is still the minority. This was brought to light by the fact that when Dade Phelan made the biggest attempt at a power grab in recent history through the rules his administration was resoundingly defeated. Dade has less control of the Texas House than his predecessors did.
2. Democrats are still more influential than conservatives. This was brought to light by the fact that the vast majority of the GOP caucus voted to allow Democrats to chair (which gives a lawmaker total control over the policy in a committee) key committees which they could use to kill GOP priorities this session. Just last session Dennis Bonnen placed Democrats in a position to kill the heartbeat bill and constitutional carry legislation.
3. Abortion is still an issues that matters to a majority of the GOP caucus. While 46 Republicans voted to make Abortion a priority this session, 36 Republicans teamed up with every Democrat to kill the rules change. This vote brought even more interesting realities to light when we saw former conservatives Cole Hefner, Dustin Burrows & Craig Goldman team up with Democrats while Republicans like Trent Ashby and other Republicans teamed up with Bryan Slaton to make pro-life legislation a priority.
4. This session might be led by freshmen and less senior GOP members. We saw Tony Tinderholt, Kyle Biedermann, Bryan Slaton, Jeff Cason, Cody Vasut, Mayes Middleton and Steve Toth all take leadership roles in pushing positive change in the rules. This doesn’t mean that more senior Republicans won’t lead, but if they don’t the less senior members seem ready to take the reigns.
5. The Texas Freedom Caucus is all over the place. We witnessed Matt Shaheen side with nearly every single Democrat to protect Governor Abbott’s unconstitutional executive orders. We witnessed Valoree Swanson consistently side with Democrats and liberal Republicans against conservatives amendments while Briscoe Cain was the lone Freedom Caucus member who voted to give Democrats the opportunity to chair top House Committees while Matt Schaefer and Mayes Middleton voted for and publicly supported the restriction as something conservatives needed. If a group like the Freedom Caucus has members siding with Democrats advancing a conservative agenda will most definitely be an uphill battle.
We cover all of these observations and more in-depth on today’s episode. Hope you enjoy it.
Lastly, while it’s important to hold public officials accountable it’s also incredibly important that we remember to pray for our enemies. It’s something I was reminded about this week at church.