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Texas GOP leadership calls on Speaker Phelan to resign after impeachment fiasco

Phelan condemned for pushing through a rushed impeachment vote of AG Ken Paxton – and for appointing Democrats to chair key committees who blocked conservative bills.

Published: September 24, 2023 11:29pm

(The Center Square) -

In a nearly unanimous vote, the leaders of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) approved a resolution Saturday calling on the speaker of the Texas House, Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, to resign.

At a quarterly meeting held in Corpus Christi, members of the RPT’s Senate Republican Executive Committee (SREC) voted 58-2 to approve a resolution condemning Phelan for pushing through a rushed impeachment vote of Attorney General Ken Paxton – and pressuring members to vote for it – as well as voting for it himself. The resolution also condemns him for appointing Democrats to chair key committees who blocked conservative bills.

The resolution states, “Speaker Dade Phelan voted for the impeachment of Attorney General Warren Kenneth Paxton and through his leadership team pressured other House members to vote for the impeachment as well, and continues to defend this action despite the weaknesses of the case as demonstrated in the Senate trial that resulted in General Paxton’s acquittal.”

It also points to Phelan appointing nine Democrats “to chair important legislative committees, in direct defiance of the wishes of Republican voters” and the RPT’s legislative priorities. Several county GOPs also recently passed resolutions to censure Phelan for the same reasons. Several state representatives who didn’t vote for impeachment have also called on Phelan to resign, citing the same reasons.

The RPT SREC resolution also states that “Phelan ignored or actively undermined several GOP priorities during the regular session, failing to prioritize legislation to secure our borders and elections,” including HB 20, which Phelan listed as a legislation priority but allowed to fail through a procedural objection made by a Democrat, which he approved.

The resolution also states, “new leadership is needed in the House of Representatives for the upcoming special session, and potential subsequent special sessions, to ensure that conservative priorities are achieved and members are no longer pressured to act and vote contrary to the platform, principles, and priorities of the Party they represent and its voters.”

As a result, “the Republican Party of Texas calls on Speaker Dade Phelan to step down from his leadership role as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and to allow a new Speaker to be elected after a caucus vote in accordance with the Republican Party of Texas Platform.”

They also said if Phelan doesn’t step down ahead of the upcoming special session, which is expected to be called by Gov. Greg Abbott in October, Republicans in the Texas House “should vote to vacate the chair and allow for a new Speaker who has pledged to honor and support the priorities and principles of the Republican Party to be elected.”

The two SREC members who voted against the resolution are Bill Fairbrother and Morgan Graham.

Phelan has no plans to resign. He remains resolute in his support for impeaching Paxton, whom he continues to argue is corrupt. He issued a statement after the Senate voted to acquit Paxton, saying the Senate didn’t do its job and the process of Republican senators voting to acquit “appears to have been orchestrated from the start, cheating the people of Texas of justice.”

His attacks of Republican senators continued on Friday, one day ahead of the SREC meeting. In a Beaumont Enterprise op-ed, he claimed they “put politics over principles” and the “House did the right thing.” He also said, “I stand by that vote, and I stand by the belief that Paxton’s conduct is beneath the office he holds.”

Patrick issued a lengthy statement in response, concluding that for “Phelan to cry foul and question the integrity of the Senate jurors and of my office when his rushed, no-facts, no-record process failed to achieve the results he wanted is disgusting and proves he is unworthy of his leadership position.”

Paxton also issued a statement on Saturday, saying, “In May, I called on liberal Speaker Dade Phelan to resign after he was recorded numerous times presiding over the Texas House in a state of apparent debilitating intoxication. Despite this embarrassing conduct, and his continuing erratic behavior, Phelan has refused to resign. He has also wasted millions of tax dollars on a politically motivated sham impeachment, killed a critical border security bill and empowered an Obama lawyer to stop conservative legislation,” he said, referring to the House parliamentarian, appointed by Phelan, who has helped him rule on procedural maneuvers to kill conservative bills.

“As the legislature prepares for an anticipated special session to provide children with more opportunities for quality education, it is critical that Dade Phelan resigns as Speaker or is removed from his leadership position. The people of Texas deserve serious, conservative, and unimpaired leadership,” Paxton said.

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