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Texas Speaker calls on state Democrats who fled from duties to forfeit their pay

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Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan is demanding that the Texas House Democrats who fled the state forgo their daily pay.

Legislators in Texas earn a $221 stipend for every day of work, in addition to a $7,200 stipend per year.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Phelan demanded that the Democrats who purposefully flew to Washington, D.C., earlier in the week to prevent the Lone Star State’s GOP-led state House from passing an election reform bill forgo that $221.

“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,” he said.

“Those who are intentionally denying quorum should return their per diem to the State Treasury immediately upon receipt,” he added.

At least one Democrat has seemingly said no.

“We’re doing our jobs. 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,” state Rep. Chris Turner told Fox News.

Conversely, and to her credit, at least one Democrat has said yes.

“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,” a spokesperson for state Rep. Michelle Beckley said via Twitter.

Look:

However, she did double down on the false claim that the election reform bill being pursued by Texas Republicans is an “egregious attack[] on our democracy.”

This is false.

The election reform bill drafted by Texas Republicans, whom Texas voters have granted majority status since 2003, is designed to enhance election security and integrity through common-sense rules like voter identification requirements.

Democrats have portrayed these common-sense rules as “voter suppression” and an “assault on free and fair elections.” President Joe Biden has even linked them to Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, the Civil War, and even the Jan. 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Major corporations and the mainstream establishment press have reflexively echoed the Democrats’ false, defamatory rhetoric to a T.

When Texas Democrats fled the state earlier this week, the media reported on the stunt sympathetically, in stark contrast to how they’d reported it when Oregon Republicans had pulled a similar stunt last year.

Note the contrast below:

But even with this united opposition from major institutions, Texas Republicans have courageously maintained their commitment to making elections more secure and are now fighting back.

For instance, in a statement issued Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott slammed the president and the Democrat Party as a whole for spreading blatant “misinformation” about the state’s legislation.

“You might remember, President Biden called me a Neanderthal for opening Texas 100 percent and no masks. It turned out he was wrong. After that opening, Texas COVID numbers improved substantially. Well, now President Biden is calling Texas names again,” he said.

“This time, he’s chastising us for making it easy to vote but hard to cheat. And once again, President Biden ignores the facts. The fact is that Texas is passing a law that expands — not reduces — the hours of early voting. That’s more than many states, including President Biden’s home state of Delaware, which has zero hours of early voting,” he added.

In fact, the voting laws in Biden’s home state are far more restrictive across the board.

Besides pushing back on the Democrats’ lies, Abbott has also vowed to arrest Texas House Democrats the moment they step foot back into Texas.

Lawmakers who flee their legislative duties can be detained under a legal concept known as “a call of the House,” which authorizes law enforcement to track down errant members, detain them and transport them to the state Capitol for a vote.

Admittedly, it’s not clear how exactly these arrests will play out.

“Details are scarce on exactly what such an arrest would look like or to what lengths law enforcement officers may go to take lawmakers into custody. Texas House Rules don’t provide any guidance on this point,” the Austin American-Statesman notes.

“The rulebook only says that when the House issues a Motion for Call of the House, all absent members may ‘be sent for and arrested, wherever they may be found, by the sergeant-at-arms or an officer appointed by the sergeant-at-arms for that purpose, and their attendance shall be secured and retained,'” the paper adds.

Vivek Saxena

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