Congress

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From Texas Standard.

Last week, the Illinois State Legislature ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, an addition to the U.S. Constitution that would provide protection from discrimination based on sex.

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From Texas Standard.

Young immigrants protected by the DACA program have been in limbo since the Obama-era program was canceled by President Trump last year.  Now we’re hearing rumblings of Republicans, including at least one from Texas, trying a new strategy to get a DACA vote in Congress.

The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

From Texas Standard.

You can squeeze a lot into a spending proposal that’s 2,200 pages long and $1.3 trillion deep. But if you look at the fine print in the spending deal passed by Congress and signed by the president late Friday, you may notice something big in there when it comes to Texas – $1.6 billion in new border security infrastructure.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

After a long night in Congress – propelled by an hours-long objection from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky)– lawmakers passed a budget measure to avert another government shutdown. Texas Sen. John Cornyn called Paul’s blockade “irresponsible.”

Sean Theriault, a professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas, says that Thursday night was typical behavior from Rand Paul, particularly because he’s known as a deficit hawk.

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From Texas Standard.

Unless Congress passes a continuing resolution, this week non-essential federal spending will dry up on Friday at midnight, and the U.S. government will shut down. Disagreements over DACA and other immigration priorities continue to divide the Congress, and the potential shutdown is being used as leverage. But how would a government shutdown affect Texas and Texans, and what essential services are exempted?

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From Texas Standard.

During a White House meeting Tuesday between Democratic and Republican congressional leaders, President Donald Trump strayed from the subject of immigration to the topic of how things get done in Washington and a practice that was banished by Congress in the name of reform.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard.

Across the country right now, more than 700,000 people are looking to Congress for an answer about their futures – and about 124,000 of them live in Texas. We’re talking about Dreamers, the name that refers to young people brought to the U.S. without authorization when they were just kids. Now, the Obama-era executive action protecting them from deportation is set to expire and it’s up to lawmakers in Washington to decide what to do next.

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From Texas Standard.

Republicans are set to pass a once in a generation tax overhaul. That was dramatic, but here’s where it could get really messy: in the run up to Christmas, we could see a government shutdown if both chambers of Congress can’t get it together on a bill to extend federal funding. As of this moment, it’s not just Republicans and Democrats who don’t see eye to eye – it’s the House and Senate, too.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

There’s a whole lot of potential change right now on the Texas political landscape. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has a challenger for his office from fellow Republican Trey Blocker, a longtime lobbyist who will take on the colorful incumbent. It’s the most serious intra-party challenge to a sitting statewide official – at least so far.

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From Texas Standard.

The U.S. House passed its version of a tax bill on Nov. 16, and now the Senate is racing to pass its own version before the end of the year.

As the clock ticks down, what ultimately happens with this tax bill could shape the terms of engagement for the midterm elections in 2018.

A small group of GOP senators may not be on board with the plan yet. John Diamond, director of Rice University’s Center for Public Finance, says that at least one senator is concerned that the tax plan doesn’t help small businesses.

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From Texas Standard.

A new proposal from Republican lawmakers would cut some tax rates and overhaul portions of the U.S. tax code. House Republicans rolled out the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in Washington on Thursday.

Among the most controversial aspects of the GOP tax plan is that it lowers the mortgage interest deduction for homeowners. Current homeowners wouldn’t be affected, but new borrowers would only be able to deduct the first $500,000 – that’s down from the current limit, which is $1 million.

John Diamond, director of Rice University’s Center for Public Finance says that the mortgage deduction change could lower Texas home values by 1-2 percent.

Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune for KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott was in Washington on Tuesday, seeking additional federal funding for Harvey relief and getting an earful from Texas' congressional delegation – a group he called "spineless" a few weeks ago when he felt they weren't working hard enough to bring home the bacon.

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From Texas Standard:

All eyes were on Alabama, Tuesday, as incumbent Luther Strange and conservative firebrand Roy Moore faced off in the state’s Republican senate primary. Moore won, despite the fact that Strange was supported by President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The race will be decided next month, when Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones. And the upset of Strange, who was appointed to the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has many wondering whether other Republican incumbents should be worried. Even in Texas.

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From Texas Standard:

On Wednesday, the House easily approved nearly $8 billion in short-term funds for areas hit by Hurricane Harvey. Meanwhile, members of the Texas congressional delegation from both parties are working together to direct more federal money to the Gulf Coast, and to influence the way they are spent.

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As Americans prepare to celebrate the country's 241st birthday, they believe the overall tone and level of civility between Democrats and Republicans in the nation's capital has gotten worse since the election of President Trump last year, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds. The same survey also shows distrust of many of the nation's fundamental democratic institutions amongst the public.

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez Personally Asks Trump To Visit South Texas

Jun 15, 2017
Photo courtesy Rep. Vicente Gonzalez

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump’s actions and rhetoric regarding immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border have led some South Texas lawmakers to urge him to spend time in the Rio Grande Valley.

Jon Ossoff/Twitter

From Texas Standard:

Tuesday was a late night for political junkies, and residents of Georgia's 6th Congressional District, who were voting to decide on a new member of Congress. CNN called the race just after midnight. There will be a June runoff between Democrat Jon Ossoff – who won just under 50 percent of the vote – and Republican Karen Handel. The special election had pitted Ossoff against 11 Republicans.

Congressman Ted Poe
U.S. House of Representatives/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Congressman Ted Poe (R-Humble) surprised observers last week when he announced he would leave the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers whose opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) put them at odds with President Donald Trump and House leadership.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News.

From Texas Standard:

Groups supporting President Donald Trump’s policies like ‘Great America Alliance’, ‘America First Policies’, and ‘Making America Great’ provide cover for ongoing political fights – from healthcare to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. But there are signs that these groups are willing to go so far in promoting the Trump agenda that they could end up turning their fire on fellow members of the GOP who don't cooperate with their goals.

Congressman Beto O'Rourke's Facebook page

With flights canceled up and down the eastern seaboard Tuesday, two Texas members of Congress went all Thelma and Louise across the state — the start of a cross-country road trip so they could cast votes at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

U.S. Reps. Will Hurd of Helotesa Republican, and Beto O'Rourke of El Paso, a Democrat, faced weather-related flight cancelations, so they opted for a 24-hour drive across Texas and beyond.

Chelsea Beck / NPR

President Trump will address a joint session of Congress for the first time at the Capitol around 8 CT on Tuesday night. The address comes a day after Trump gave an outline of his budget plan for Congress, which would increase defense spending and make cuts to domestic programs.

Qiling Wang for KUT

In 2009, Tea Party protests across the country energized a segment of conservative voters, enabling Republicans to take control of both chambers of Congress.

Inspired by Tea Party tactics, progressive groups today are organizing to put pressure on Republican congressmen in town hall meetings. While the events have been grassroots efforts, many people are organizing under the umbrella of a movement called Indivisible, which, it turns out, has roots in Austin.

Qiling Wang for KUT

During trips to their districts this week, Republican congressmen representing the Austin area will not be holding town halls, even though many constituents have been asking for them.

That hasn’t stopped groups from holding town halls of their own – even if the member of Congress they want to talk to isn’t there.

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Republicans in Washington are planning to make good on promises to roll back federal regulations on everything from mining pollution to consumer protections for credit card holders.

To do it, they are using an obscure legislative tactic that’s been successful only once in history – a tactic has some legal scholars worried.

KUT

Around the country, Republican congressmen are facing angry crowds at town hall meetings – mostly from people defending the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

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From Texas Standard:

Early in the morning on Sunday, June 12 a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 more at an Orlando gay nightclub. The lone shooter used a rifle similar to an AR-15 – a Sig Sauer MCX, which was originally designed for the U.S. Special Operations forces.

The tragic event sparked further outrage over the United States’ current gun control laws, which allow these types of guns to be purchased by the public.

 


KUT News

The automatic federal spending cuts set to take effect tomorrow could have a big impact on Texas. Specifically, cuts to army bases could cost the state’s economy nearly $2.5 billion.

For many people in Killeen, next to Fort Hood, the spending cuts are just abstract numbers. For Cheryl Eliano, president of the Fort Hood branch of the American Federation of Government Employees, they’re all too real.

(Scroll down for updates.)

Responding to those who have questioned his views on Israel, Iran and defense spending, former Sen. Chuck Hagel said Thursday at the opening of a Senate hearing on his nomination to be secretary of defense that:

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With President Obama and some legislators from both parties pushing immigration reform, Texas’s Sen. John Cornyn says he does not support a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s immigration laws.

Instead, he advocates stricter enforcement of existing laws.

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New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows three of the seven congressional districts in Central Texas are less diverse and have higher white population percentages than the entire state, among other characteristics.

The Census Bureau is now releasing demographic breakdowns by individual congressional districts, a first for the department

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