Conservative Texans Love To Fight The Feds Until They Need Them

WASHINGTON ― For Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), suing the federal government is a point of pride.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, Texas sued the administration at least 48 times. Abbott, who served as the state’s attorney general before winning the governorship in 2014, filed 31 of those lawsuits, according to the Texas Tribune. The Lone Star State has fought the federal government on matters ranging from drugs used for executions to climate change regulations. And Texas Republicans have refused to become part of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, turning their backs on billions of federal dollars.

Abbott is so skeptical of federal activities that he deployed the Texas State Guard in 2015 to monitor a U.S. military training exercise in the state. The move was seen as fanning conspiracy theories about the Obama administration, including one that claimed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was creating political prisoner camps in Walmarts.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). (Mike Stone / Reuters)

But since catastrophic Hurricane Harvey hit, Abbott has eagerly accepted the feds’ support. (Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment.)

“We could not be more appreciative of what the federal government has done,” he said on Sunday, noting that FEMA had been “very actively involved and engaged … long before the hurricane even hit the ground.”

More than 12,400 employees from over a dozen federal departments and agencies are working to respond to the storm damage in Texas and Louisiana, according to a FEMA statement on Wednesday, and more than 63,000 individuals and households have been  approved for FEMA assistance.

Conservative Texans don’t see a contradiction between fighting the federal government and accepting its help — after all, they say, they already paid for the U.S. government services, so they might as well use them. But Hurricane Harvey has underscored a basic reality of Texas politics: The feds…

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