Republican Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan stripped Democrat Joe Moody of his title as speaker pro tempore on Thursday, after Moody and other Democratic lawmakers left the state in an effort to block a GOP-led voter suppression bill.
“The most important titles in my life will never change: Dad, Husband, El Pasoan. Nothing political has ever even cracked the top three, so nothing has changed about who I am or what my values are,” Moody tweeted in response to losing his leadership position in the Texas House.
Phelan said in a statement that Texas Democratic House members should “get back to Texas,” demanding they return their “per diem” payments until they do.
Phelan and Moody did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
More than 50 Democratic lawmakers left Texas Monday in an effort to block a vote on GOP-led legislation that would restrict voting rights. The Democrats have been in D.C. urging Congress to take action on voting rights at the federal level. Without a quorum, the Republican-led Texas House can’t move forward with legislation in its special session.
The Texas bills that Democrats are stalling would create harsher voter ID requirements, ban 24-hour and drive-through voting and stop election officials from sending voters unsolicited absentee ballots.
Before Thursday’s stripping of Moody’s title, Moody was reportedly one of Phelan’s top allies in the Democratic party, reports the Texas Tribune. The speaker pro tem position had meant that Moody would perform the duties of the speaker if he was absent.
On Tuesday, after having left the state, Moody said that it was “our duty to fight for the freedom to vote.”
Voter suppression efforts disproportionately disenfranchise Black, Latinx and low-income voters.