Tea Party Republicans Revolt Against House GOP Leadership

The split has already wrecked the chances of more than 100 bills as the legislative session nears its end.


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outside the Texas Capitol

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated in the last paragraph that this will be Joe Straus’ last term as House speaker. A spokesman for the speaker’s office tells us he has made no such announcement. We regret the error.

A split in the Republican ranks could doom hundreds of bills still pending before the Texas Legislature. Tea party members frustrated with House GOP leaders have already brought business in the lower chamber to a halt.

Last night at midnight marked the cutoff for the House to vote on bills originating in the chamber this session. Members of the House Freedom Caucus railed that they were being stifled as the leadership focused on pressing through as many bills as possible. When the deadline passed, the group used a procedural move to kill more than 100 bills scheduled for a vote today.

"What's happened to us has been personal retribution," said State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano), who announced the move. "It's been personal attacks, personal retribution, petty, personal politics. And this caucus has had enough of it."

Brandon Rottinghaus, political science professor at the University of Houston, says the rupture could make it much harder for Republicans to work together. "The person who has to be the great unifier here is [Governor] Greg Abbott," he says. "How Greg Abbott governs and how he chooses to run out the clock on these last pieces of legislation, what he signs and why are going to be pretty telling for what the future of the party will be."

Rottinghaus says the split is only likely to get wider next year.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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