Democrats block Senate budget, at least temporarily
Democratic senators on Tuesday blocked debate on the Senate’s appropriations
bill, which would slash billions of additional dollars from education and other
critical state services.
All 12 Democratic senators voted against Senate Finance Chairman Steve
Ogden’s motion to suspend the Senate’s regular order of business to bring the
bill up for debate late Tuesday. All 19 Republican senators voted for the motion,
but they were two votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority.
The Democratic victory, however, may be short-lived against a bill that would
result in the loss of thousands of educator jobs.
Republican leaders, in a very rare parliamentary move, may try to bring
the bill up for debate again on Wednesday, when the budget could be
advanced on a simple majority vote. That’s because the budget is a
House bill, and House bills can get priority treatment on Wednesdays.
That procedure is almost never used in the Senate, but the Republican
leadership is determined to get the Senate bill passed, despite the
objections of Democratic senators to the crippling budget cuts.
The House version of the budget would make even deeper cuts.
Texas Faculty Association Executive Director Mary Aldridge Dean said, “The
passage of this bill would place Texas education in a race to the bottom; it will
take years, if not decades to recover from these losses.”