It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with Sean Theriault, professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.
On Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stripping State Sen. Kel Seliger of his committee assignments:
[Sen. Seliger] tried to cross Dan Patrick, and Dan Patrick reasserted his control over the Texas Senate. I think he was sending a pretty clear message at the beginning of the legislative session that he shall not be crossed this session.
Dan Patrick was pushing some pretty big agenda items from last session and Seliger got in the way. . . he needed to be a team player and so he was shown the door on that committee.
The danger for Patrick was that if Seliger still held the positions that he did last time. . . there would be no cost to crossing [him]. I think he sent the clear message: don’t mess with him this session. . . he has priorities that he wants accomplished and that he’s not [un]willing to throw some folks under the bus if that’s what he has to do to get those agenda items passed.
On an end to the government shutdown:
We’re finally talking in Washington, D.C. This is something that hadn’t been happening for the last couple of weeks. So both of those bills failed but they both received majority support. Now you have the Democrat leader and the Republican leader in the Senate talking. You have Nancy Pelosi being part of those discussions. . . so I think that we’re inching our way.
The Democrats in the House have finally gotten to the number that President Trump wants and so now it’s going to be a question of whether or not there’s going to be a wall or not. I suspect that we are going to be talking about what the definition of a wall is for the next week or so. I think we’re on the path now to some kind of solution.
We’re finally talking about a similar number. We’re talking about border security. I think we’re going to have a whole lot of conversations about what exactly constitutes a wall and what constitutes border security. And that’s just a vastly different place than where we’ve been the last few weeks where there were no conversations happening whatsoever. So we’re inching our way, I think. The problems with the shutdown are becoming more real, so I think both sides are feeling lots of pressure to wrap this thing up and to get on with the business of the people.