Capital Tonight: More political fallout after abortion bill filibuster

Perry vs. Wendy

Gov. Rick Perry is giving his take on Tuesday’s failed bid to pass three bills before the special session deadline.

Speaking at the National Right to Life convention in Dallas, Perry talked about Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster, which effectively killed abortion restrictions he’d been pushing for. He referred to the night’s events as the “hijacking of the democratic process,” then made a comment about Senator Davis herself that some say went too far.

Going after Dewhurst

Sen. Dan Patrick is looking to move up the political ladder. He announced his bid Thursday as the “authentic conservative” candidate for lieutenant governor. It’s a move that could be seen as part of a bigger backlash against the current lieutenant governor.

After the Filibuster

Plus, immigration reform got a long-awaited vote in Congress, but despite the claims of both U.S. Senators from Texas, some local activists say the border security measures go too far.

Carter says health care could kill House immigration reform efforts

Rep. John Carter says language in a draft version of a House immigration reform bill would set up a “slush fund” to provide undocumented immigrants with health insurance.

Carter says he’s so upset by the language that it might kill bipartisan efforts he’s been involved with for the last several years to overhaul the immigration system.

“It’s a fund that would be paid into to provide them with health care or maybe put them in the Obamacare system,” said Carter.

Earlier this month, disagreements over how to handle health insurance for undocumented immigrants led Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) to quit the House’s so-called gang of eight.

According to a House Democratic staffer familiar with discussions, the bill does not give undocumented immigrants access to subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. It does, however, set up a fund that would take the money generated by the collection of fees and fines from undocumented immigrants and dole it out to help states cover costs associated with health care and education.


Agriculture Commissioner Staples applauds border security legislation

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is supportive of federal border security legislation filed by Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Michael McCaul, today.

Staples has long been outspoken on the immigration issue and was highly critical of the federal govenrment’s border security plan on Capital Tonight, earlier this year.

He released this statement:

“Landowners are suffering under the daily threat from violent drug cartels while President Obama and his administration continue to falsely proclaim the border as safe. Representative Michael McCaul and Senator John Cornyn have taken a strong step in restoring the sovereignty of America with this legislation to enhance border security. No Texan and no American should ever have to accept a dangerously porous border as the status quo. Our nation needs action.” 

Cornyn, McCaul introduce border control legislation

U.S Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Michael McCaul are calling for tougher border control measures before new immigration reform legislation is enacted. The two Texas lawmakers introduced the bill, known as the Border Security Results Act, Tuesday.

Sen. Cornyn says the bill requires the Department of Homeland Security to “create new metrics to define progress based off the number of apprehensions relative to the total number of illegal crossings.”

“Since 2010, the Administration has failed to provide a metric for determining border security, yet they continue to claim that the border is secure,” Cornyn said. “By requiring the Administration to come up with a clear measurement of security, as well as a timeline for development and implementation, we can ensure that our national security policy is based on real results, and not baseless claims.”

The legislation also calls on the DHS to develop a new strategy within four months of the bill’s passage and to gain operational control of the border two years after that.

Rep. McCaul, who is the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, says the federal government needs to change its patrol tactics. “For too long, we have approached border security backwards – by throwing resources at the problem, to plug the holes on our borders without a comprehensive plan to tactically distribute those resources,” he said. “Until Congress mandates the creation of a national strategy, the Administration will continue to say the border is secure while America’s back door remains wide open.”

Capital Tonight: Changing social climate

Social Issues

The United States Supreme Court is addressing same-sex marriage this week, and YNN’s Michael Scotto has the update from Washington, DC.

Also Tuesday, Texas Faith & Family Day was held at the Capitol. Among the topics discussed at the rally were same-sex marriage and pro-life policies.

Education Overhaul

The House passed House Bill 5 Tuesday night with 145 to 2 vote. House Bill 5 adds options for high school students who may not go on to college after graduation. The bill allows students to graduate without taking Algebra II or other advanced math and science classes. It also changes the number of standardized tests from 15 to 5.


Paul Brown sat down with Harold Cook and Ted Delisi to discuss the political climate for changing social issues in Texas. Education was a big topic for the Capital Commentators.
They also discussed the change in support for same-sex marriage.


Paul Brown sat down with immigration lawyer Paul Parsons. They discussed the issues those facing immigration face.

Staples talks border security ahead of book release

WASHINGTON — Border security continues to be a focus for Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in his run for lieutenant governor. Now, he has taken that message straight to Washington, D.C.

Commissioner Staples spoke Monday to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their staffs about the H-2B visa, designed to allow businesses to fill labor shortages. Staples wants reforms in the program, which he says is plagued with “bureaucratic red tape and antiquated quotas, and helps create an insecure border.”

He told the group that the guest worker process is to be blamed for the deaths of 591 individuals, from 2006 to 2011, in Texas counties along the border region.

“These individuals had a desire to better themselves, and in response to an under-populated U.S. labor market, literally risked life and limb to enter the United States,” Staples told the group, according to today’s news release from the Texas Department of Agriculture. “Nearly 600 died on their journey to what they hoped would be a better life.”

Commissioner Staples is about to release a book he wrote, “Broken Borders, Broken Promises: How Porous Borders Are Robbing America’s Future.” The commissioner is expected to appear on Capital Tonight later this week to talk more about his book and border security.

Staples is one of several Republican office holders who have indicated they are running for lieutenant governor, or have at least expressed interest. That list includes Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and State Comptroller Susan Combs. Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has already indicated he plans to run for re-election.

Read Staples’ entire remarks here.

Sen. Cruz concerned with “path to citizenship”

Sen. Ted Cruz issued this statement in response to a bipartisan Senate plan to reform immigration:

“I appreciate the good work that senators in both parties have put into trying to fix our broken immigration system. There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration. However, I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.”


Senators lay out bipartisan immigration reform plan

Sen. John Cornyn weighed in today on a bipartisan Senate plan for immigration reform.

The plan calls for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States, without requiring them to first return to their home country.  It also includes an employment verification system to stop the hiring of undocumented citizens in the future.

This afternoon, Democrats Chuck Schumer, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet and Republicans Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and John McCain laid out the framework for the plan. 

“Any immigration legislation that passes Congress must establish practical, legal channels for workers to enter the United States,” Schumer said during the news conference.  “Whether they’re high-skilled, low-skilled, or agricultural workers so we can free up federal officials to focus on those individuals truly intending to do our nation harm.”

A spokesman for Sen. John Cornyn issued this statement earlier today:


“Immigration reform has always been a top priority for Sen. Cornyn, and he looks forward to reviewing the Senators’ proposal. There are many facets to immigration reform, but one that must be addressed first and foremost is our porous border. Unfortunately President Obama has consistently shown he prefers to use the issue to score political points, and any progress will require his leadership.” 

-Drew Brandewie, Sen. Cornyn Press Secretary