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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.”

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