The Texas Senate is calm. After all, they’ve finished their work, for now.
The Texas Senate has passed legislation relating to 18 of the 20 priorities called for by Abbott. The Texas House, on the other hand, has passed 2.
The House is a hot mess. It’s difficult to overstate the circus, unless you’ve been in Austin to witness the clown-show firsthand. Other than the Freedom Caucus members, state representatives are irrationally stressed. This paranoia is driven largely by the fact that no one appears to be in charge. There is no plan, which would normally emanate from the Speaker’s team.
House Speaker Joe Straus has effectively lost control of the chamber.
Last week we saw Rep. Tony Tinderholt call points of order, only to see Speaker Straus hide his right hand in his pocket as it shook uncontrollably, day after day. Joe is scared.
The conservatives disdain Joe, the moderates are mad at him for putting them in this special session conundrum. It’s a lose-lose situation. The democrats are mad because he doesn’t follow the rules and the special session gives them no place to hide their radical and unpopular agenda to create, raise, and increase taxes. Everyone is mad at Joe.
This should be a unique time for the Republican Caucus to shine…but it cannot.
Or, perhaps it will not. Much like the House itself, the Republican Caucus has no real leadership. State Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) has fully embraced Obama’s mantra of “leading from behind.” Caucus members are looking for leadership, but they selected an empty suit for that position. Tan is incapable of leading, except when corporate handouts are at stake—he’s all but proven as much to capitol onlookers.
Last week, without input from the caucus, Tan published talking points for members to use to reassure their constituents. Members were simply embarrassed by these blatantly false talking points. I’ve attached them to this article below.
Tan has chosen to fully embraced Straus’ tactic of blaming the rules, when convenient, while talking out of both sides of his mouth. In one sentence he brags about filing 209 bills, while following up with complaints the special session and calendar don’t give them enough time to act, because the House has so many more members than the Senate.
The truth is simple: Tan and Joe will always come up with ways to “get things done” when asked by the lobby, whether it’s the Texas Medical Association or the Texas Municipal League. When pressed by their taxpaying constituents, they’ll come up with little more than excuses.
Tan has chosen to demonstrate no leadership in regards to advancing popular priorities called for by Republicans. Tan needs to step aside, and let the caucus appoint new leadership.
Tan and Joe share a lot in common. Hopefully they will share a loss in March.