The decision of 60 Democrats to walk out of a special session and flee the state could be costing taxpayers a pretty penny.
Between their per diem and salary, they are costing taxpayers $7,230 per legislator per day during the 30-day special session—roughly $43,000 a day—according to Texas Rep. Jared Patterson.
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan is demanding that the fugitive Democrats return their $221/day per diem.
Since their infamous trip to D.C., at least five of the Democrats on the trip have tested positive for COVID-19. These Democrats also met with Kamala Harris, who visited Walter Reed Medical Center on Sunday, prompting speculation that she had been exposed to the virus. However, the White House claims that Harris was not in close contact with the infected Texas lawmakers.
“Based on the timeline of these positive tests, it was determined that the vice president and her staff present at the meeting were not at risk of exposure because they were not in close contact with those who tested positive and therefore do not need to be tested or quarantined,” Harris’s spokeswoman Symone Sanders said in a statement. At the time of the statement, only three had tested positive. However, two more were reported to have tested positive by Sunday evening.
Two more Texas House members in D.C. tested positive today, @TexasHDC says, bringing the total to five. All five are fully vaccinated and showing “no symptoms or only mild symptoms,” per the caucus. #txlege pic.twitter.com/WVKpaavJ6m
— Jasper Scherer (@jaspscherer) July 19, 2021
Harris also tweeted on Sunday that “This Delta variant is no joke. Get vaccinated,” adding to the speculation.
This Delta variant is no joke. Get vaccinated.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) July 18, 2021
It remains to be seen how many will end up testing positive for COVID-19 and whether Kamala Harris was exposed.