49 Democratic members that left to break quorum are still earning checks, according to Phelan, who characterized their trip as a costly taxpayer burden.
“Texas Democrats currently in Washington continue to collect their legislative per diem of $221 during regular and special sessions, which equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars during the course of this special session,” Phelan stated.
“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. Those who are intentionally denying quorum should return their per diem to the State Treasure immediately upon receipt.”
Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) chose not to collect her per diem and said she would return her earnings from the special session.
“Since Monday, our office has been working to make this happen and ensure that all of the proper paperwork is filed with the House Business Office,” her team announced in a statement.
Including Beckley, 14 Democratic members have fled the House and started the process of returning their per diem to the state treasury, according to Phelan’s list: Reps. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), Liz Campos (D-San Antonio), Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), Alex Dominguez (D-Brownsville), Harold Dutton (D-Houston), Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin), Abel Herrero (D-Robstown), Oscar Longoria (D-Peñitas), Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville), Armando Martinez (D-Weslaco), Sergio Munoz (D-Mission), Lina Ortega (D-El Paso), and Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio).
Not every Democratic member fled. Four Democrats were in the chamber on Tuesday: Reps. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), John Turner (D-Dallas), Eddie Morales, Jr. (D-Eagle Pass), and Tracy King (D-Laredo).
Some members decided to reliniquish their per diem today in response to Phelan’s list. Reps. Philip Cortez (D-San Antonio) and Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston) have both sent letters to the House business office asking to start the process of returning their pay.
The House Business Operation office sends out the per diem at the end of the month. Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie), chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, told reporters that he expects members to decline payment.
58 Democrats reportedly flew out on Monday. There are 67 Democrats and 82 Republicans in the Texas House.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.