Dan Patrick Says Texas Would Rather Lose $5 Billion Than Give in on Trans Bathroom Fight

Less than a week after Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton insinuated themselves into Fort Worth ISD bathrooms, the duo is set for fight with the Obama administration.

Thursday night, the White House announced that any school receiving any federal money must allow transgender students at the school to use restroom facilities consistent with their gender identity. Schools that fail to do so will risk losing their federal funding. The state of Texas' Republican leadership, which has chained itself to the issue, loudly proclaiming at any opportunity that they "weren't going to allow men in women's restrooms," reacted as one might expect.

"I believe that it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools. [Obama] has put a policy in place that will divide the country, not along political lines, but along family values and school districts. He says he's going to withhold funding if schools do not follow the policy," Patrick said. "Well in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States."

Patrick went on to call keeping trans kids out of the bathroom they feel safe using a "come and take it moment," referencing the Texas revolution. If federal funding — about $5 billion a year, most of which goes to free breakfast and free lunch for kids who can't afford it — is pulled, the state will simply come up with it from somewhere else, Patrick said.

"If schools don't knuckle down to force girls showering with boys and force 8-year-old girls to have to deal with boys coming into their bathroom, he is taking money from the poorest of the poor. The president of the United States will be ending the free breakfast and free lunch program," Patrick said.

Paxton made a not-so-thinly veiled threat against the Obama administration.

“Once again, the Obama administration has overstepped its constitutional bounds to meddle in the affairs of state and local government. Today’s announcement seeking to unilaterally redefine and expand federal law must be challenged. If President Obama thinks he can bully Texas schools into allowing men to have open access to girls in bathrooms, he better prepare for yet another legal fight,” he said Friday morning.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, whom Patrick supports, has previously said that he believes people should be able to use whichever bathroom they feel is appropriate. Patrick said Friday that he believes Trump will change his position, and that doing so will help Republicans defeat Hillary Clinton in November.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young