Article 10 of the budget includes funding for the Texas Senate, Texas House, the Legislative Budget Board, the Legislative Council, the Legislative Reference Library, and other entities concerning the state’s legislative branch.
The move comes after Democrats walked out of the Texas House as the chamber was considering the Republicans’ major elections bill.
The budget passed the Texas Senate unanimously and the Texas House by a vote of 142 to 6.
“I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch. No pay for those who abandon their responsibilities. Stay tuned,” Abbott wrote on Twitter.
At least one Democratic member slammed Abbott’s announcement.
Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) wrote on social media, “Punishing working class office staff, maintenance, and other support services because he didn’t get every single one of his demands is very on-brand for Texas Republicans.”
The Texan sought to verify whether the veto would apply only to lawmakers’ salaries or the entire legislative branch, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
Abbott has line-item veto authority for the budget, meaning he is able to eliminate funding for portions of the appropriations bill while leaving other portions intact, per Article IV, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution.
The decision calls into question whether the legislature will have funding for a fall special session, which would occur after the biennium begins on September 1. However, a veto of Article 10 for the coming biennium would not affect salaries through the current biennium, which lasts through August 31, 2021.
Abbott has already called for placing the elections bill and bail reform on the agenda for the fall special session, which he is expected to call to redraw legislative districts.
The offices of the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), and the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Dr. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.
This is a developing story.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."