(The Center Square) – Scrutiny continues with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick describing his frustration with House Speaker Dade Phelan, a fellow Republican, and as Texans statewide continue to demand answers about members reportedly being drunk while conducting official business.
At a Texas Public Policy Foundation event, Patrick said the regular legislative session had been very frustrating, “very hard,” like a “tale of two cities,” referring to how the House and Senate operate. But even more problematic was his interaction with the speaker, he said, lamenting, “It's very hard to work with someone who does not communicate.”
Roughly one week before the end of the regular legislative session, Patrick said he got a text from Phelan asking to talk. He said, “I was shocked by that. … I haven't talked to him in two years … except to say ‘hi' at an event. I happened to be talking to [Attorney General] Ken Paxton before … [the vote on] impeachment about some issue and I mentioned I never hear from the speaker. He said, ‘the speaker's never returned one phone call from me, never had a meeting with me, I haven't talked to him in two years.'
“It's very hard to operate like that. So when he [Phelan] texted me … I said, ‘you bet.'”
“I want to work with the other side,” Patrick continued. “I can't work with the other side if I don't know who I'm working with.”
While several House members would come over to the Senate on their own, he said, “it's crazy that he [Phelan] won't talk to anybody.”
Patrick also said he and the governor had about 12 hours of meetings over two and a half weeks to discuss strengthening the Texas electric grid. They had “great in-depth discussion” with “big generators, new players, all different people that were involved with the grid,” he said. However, “the speaker never came to one meeting;” even though he “hadn't been there,” he still “takes a position on policy,” Patrick said.
“I don't get it,” he continued. “We're willing to work with anyone at any time but it's time to call some of these things out because things have to change.”
The speaker's office did not respond to multiple requests from The Center Square for comment.
After Paxton called on the House General Investigative Committee to investigate Phelan for appearing to be intoxicated on the House floor, the committee announced it was holding a hearing related to an investigation into Paxton it said it began several months earlier. After the hearing, the committee unanimously voted to recommend the House impeach Paxton. It presented 20 articles of impeachment and required the full House to vote on them within 48 hours. The House voted on May 27 to impeach Paxton, a vote he argues is illegal.