AUSTIN, Texas — As Budget Day begins in the Texas House, Democratic legislators will be advocating for the issues that matter most to Texans. With Texas still grappling with economic uncertainty and ongoing struggles during the pandemic, Democrats are fighting for key funding for Texas communities, from schools to healthcare.
Setting the state budget is one of the most important things legislators do each session, impacting every Texas community. Starting today, Texas Representatives will allocate funding for school districts, healthcare, and public services across the state — services Texas families rely on each day. This year, the stakes are unusually high, as lawmakers will decide how to allocate nearly $38 billion in federal funding for pandemic relief, set to be distributed to communities and organizations across Texas.
Today, House Democrats are fighting for the funding Texans need most, including:
- Getting more Texans healthcare. With budget amendments from Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), Democrats are working to expand Medicaid eligibility — a longtime Democratic priority that would extend health insurance coverage to nearly 1 million currently uninsured Texans. This push is receiving bipartisan support, with Republican legislators joining Democrats to prioritize Texans’ health.
- Getting public schools the funding they need. Texas Republicans — led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — are sitting on $38 billion in federal funding for pandemic relief across Texas — and nearly half of this funding is earmarked for public education. Thanks to a budget amendment from Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), Democrats are fighting to immediately send this money out to support the schools, teachers, and students that need it.
The move comes on the heels of another Democratic win for schools. On Wednesday, thanks to Rep. Chris Turner’s leadership (D-Arlington), the Texas House passed an amendment to House Bill 1525 that protects teachers’ pay, extending the pay raise teachers gained last year. The amendment passed in spite of 45 Republicans who voted to reduce teachers’ paychecks by cutting the raise — even after teachers have worked tirelessly for the last year to keep kids learning, engaged, and healthy during the pandemic.
- Making sure federal funding earmarked for Texas gets where it should. With COVID-19 relief dollars and other federal funding earmarked for Texas, Democrats are working to make sure this money actually gets distributed to Texas communities — rather than being tied up in red tape, or held hostage by Republicans.
- Fighting discrimination. A top priority for Democrats is making sure Republicans don’t legislate hate by sneaking discrimination into the budget through amendments. Today and every day, our Democratic state legislators are fighting to advance racial justice, defend immigrants, protect the rights of LGBTQ+ Texans, and safeguard abortion rights.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“Budget time is when lawmakers put their money where their mouth is — and their decisions impact every Texas community. Today, the Texas House will decide how much money to spend on schools, healthcare, and much more — things Texas families rely on every single day. I’m incredibly proud of our Texas House Democrats, who continue to fight for the change Texans need most.
“Texans have been grappling with the pandemic, and the economic uncertainty it has sparked, for over a year now. Our legislators are pushing to get Texans the support they need as we fight to beat back this pandemic. Democrats are here to protect Texas communities. That’s what our legislators will continue to do — today and every day.”