In a not-so-surprising turn of events, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has taken to the public stage to express his frustration and disappointment with House Speaker Dade Phelan.
During a recent event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Lt. Gov. Patrick claimed that Speaker Phelan was the one who first introduced the idea of including vouchers or Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) in House Bill 100, the House’s priority school finance bill that inevitably died.
According to Lt. Gov. Patrick, Speaker Phelan assured him that they could “get it all done” by incorporating vouchers into HB100. It is worth noting that the Senate added a last-minute voucher amendment to HB 100 when it was not there before.
Patrick solely blamed the House for refusing to pass a school choice bill that led to the failure of teacher pay raise and extra funding for public education.
“Let’s be clear… the House killed the teacher pay raise and funding bill because they wouldn’t pass a school choice bill,” he said. However, when asked if he wanted Speaker Phelan to resign, Lt. Gov. Patrick denied any such intention, stating that even though Phelan can be a “challenge,” three Republican leaders should still be able to work together.
“Dade’s a… Dade’s a challenge, but I’m not asking him to be replaced. I’m not asking him to resign,” Patrick continued. “This should be easy. It’s three Republican leaders. I shouldn’t need to take Tylenol three times a day.”
Patrick’s dissatisfaction with the House extends beyond the voucher issue. He voiced his weariness of the dysfunction in the House and criticized the calling of points of order on good bills. He also accused Democrats of having “total control of the House chamber” due to rules that allow stalling tactics like chubbing and POOs (points of order).
It is not unlike Patrick to throw blame around like a child throwing a temper tantrum when something doesn’t go his way. And despite the “setbacks,” the Lt. Gov. remains determined to revisit the idea of linking school choice vouchers to teacher pay raises.
“Let’s try it again” during a future special session, Patrick says.
It remains to be seen how this intra-party infighting will continue to impact future legislative initiatives and the overall direction of education policy in the state.