Multiple reliable sources confirming that at least 30 House Republicans are considering voting against the budget reconciliation after provisions to provide legislative oversight of federal relief funds were stripped by the conference committee. The key provision, which was added by state Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) and unanimously approved in the House, would have forced a special session to decide on appropriating the billions of federal relief funds allocated to Texas. Without this provision, Gov. Abbott has sole discretion on the administration of federal funds.
The compromise made behind closed doors involving 5 members of each chamber and the Big Three have led to many House members feeling betrayed by the Speaker and the House negotiators.
To allay the fears of House members, Gov. Abbott promised in a Thursday email he would add allocating the billions in federal relief funds as an item to the already expected fall redistricting special session.
Still, a written promise is not as much of a guarantee of legislative oversight as a rider adopted into the biennial budget would be.
If the 30 House Republicans join with House Democrats, they could force the budget back to conference committee with an instruction that the amendment be added back in, which would delay its final passage, potentially running out the clock, and forcing a summer special session on the budget.
Meanwhile, the House has shut down Friday and Saturday due to separate matters of infighting with the upper chamber over the killing and stalling of House priorities on criminal justice and health care. The loss of these two days in the last 11 days of the session has already killed some Senate bills and is putting others in danger of not passing the Sunday Calendar layout deadline and the Tuesday 2nd reading deadline.