OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Having absconded from Texas for Washington D.C. to break quorum in the Texas House of Representatives, Republican leaders in the state are refusing to sit idly by and are instead meting out punishment for the Democrats who chose to neglect their duties as elected representatives.
On Thursday, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan posted a notice that Democrat speaker pro tempore Joe Moody had been stripped of his title under the rules of the Texas House, details of which were released on social media by Texas Tribune reporter Cassi Pollock, who wrote, “House Speaker [Dade Phelan] has relieved [Joe Moody] from his position as speaker pro tempore.”
— Cassi Pollock (@cassi_pollock) July 15, 2021
“Pursuant to my authority under House Rule 1, Section 10, I have relieved Representative Joe Moody from his position as Speaker Pro Tempore for the 87th Legislature, effective immediately,” Phelan said in the statement.
Moody responded by claiming it did not bother him that the olive branch offered to Texas House Democrats by Republicans in the state legislature had been taken away. He posted a response claiming that the “important titles” in his life would never change despite the loss of his position.
“The most important titles in my life will never change: Dad, Husband, El Pasoan,” he wrote. “Nothing political has ever even cracked the top three, so nothing has changed about who I am or what my values are.”
The most important titles in my life will never change: Dad, Husband, El Pasoan. Nothing political has ever even cracked the top three, so nothing has changed about who I am or what my values are. #txlege https://t.co/RQ8mozCdwT
— Joe Moody (@moodyforelpaso) July 15, 2021
In addition to stripping him of his role in the House leadership, Phelan released a lengthy statement reprimanding his Democrat colleagues whom he says are “stalling a 13th check for retired teachers,” and named each and every single Democrat who fled to Washington D.C. while still being paid tax dollars to do their jobs in Texas.
“Here’s my statement about those who are stalling a 13th check for retired teachers by breaking quorum and a list of those who have not taken steps to return their legislative per diem while they are in Washington,” he wrote on Twitter, stating:
‘While stalling a 13th check for retired teachers, an overwhelming majority of Texas House Democrats remain silent on whether they will return their legislative per diem to the State Treasury. Texas taxpayers demand better, and I demand that Democrats return their legislative per diem and get back to Texas to pass legislation that would provide a 13th check for retired teachers, protect our foster kids, and provide relief from high property taxes.”
He named each of the state representatives who requested that their House floor voting machines be turned off, and have not yet started the process to return their paychecks to the State Treasury:
Alma Allen, Diego Bernal, Rhetta Bowers, John Bucy III, Sheryl Cole, Garnet Coleman, Nicole Collier, Philip Cortez, Jasmine Crockett, Yvonne Davis, Joe Deshotel, Arthur Fierro, Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, Jessica Gonzalez, Mary Gonzalez, R.D. Guerra, Ana Hernandez, Gina Hinojosa, Donna Howard, Celia Israel, Ann Johnson, Jarvis Johnson, Julie Johnson, Ray Lopez, Trey Martinez Fischer, Thresa Meza, Ina Minjarez, Joe Moody, Christina Morales, Penny Morales Shaw, Victoria Neave, Claudia Ordaz Perez, Mary Ann Perez, Ana-Maria Ramos, Richard Pena Raymond, Ron Reynolds, Eddie Rodriguez, Ramon Romero Jr., Toni Rose, Jon Rosenthal, Carl Sherman Sr., James Talarico, Shawn Thierry, Srenfonia Thompson, Chris Turner, Hubert Vo, Armando Walle, Gene Wu, Erin Zweiner.
In a separate statement, Phelan stated that to compel Democrats to return to Texas, he is chartering a plane to be on standby in Washington D.C. on Saturday and calls on them to contact his staff to secure their seat on the plane and return to Austin to do the state’s business.
“The State of Texas is waiting,” he said.