AUSTIN, Texas, April 18 (UPI) -- Texas lawmakers voted to cut virtually all of Gov. Rick Perry's office budget over his secessionist talk, but officials say the money will likely be restored.
The House voted Friday to divert 96 percent of the governor's office budget to programs for veterans and the mentally ill, The Dallas Morning News reported Saturday. Lawmakers had previously proposed a two-year budget of almost $24 million for Perry's office.
Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Raymond, a Democrat, said the vote should be seen as a rebuke of Perry, a Republican, for comments Perry made this week about the prospect of Texas seceding from the United States.
"That's the headline: 'Two days after governor says we ought to secede, House zeroes out the governor's budget,'" Raymond said.
Republicans who voted in favor of the cut said they just wanted to keep debate on the matter from running into Saturday, the newspaper said.
"At the end of the day, the governor will be fully funded," House Republican caucus Chairman Larry Taylor said.
A spokeswoman for Perry said the lawmakers in Austin were "just playing silly games."
Perry said this week the federal government had become "oppressive" and Texas could secede if sufficiently provoked. However, legal scholars generally agreed the state has no constitutional option to secede.