Obama Administration

Perry orders state agencies to use E-Verify

Governor Rick Perry has reversed his stance on E-Verify.

He’s now ordering state agencies to use the system to make sure those applying for state jobs or working for contractors are in the country legally. Four years ago, Perry criticized the federal E-Verify system, saying it “would not make a ‘hill of beans’ difference when it comes to what’s happening in America.”

At a Wednesday news conference, the governor said the system has been improved. Under E-Verify, employers can enter in names and Social Security numbers of new hires. That will let them know whether they are citizens or have proper visas for employment.

At the news conference, Perry also took time to blast President Obama’s executive order on immigration. He says it will trigger a new flood of people illegally entering Texas from Mexico.

Abbott takes legal action against Obama’s immigration order

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced legal action Wednesday challenging President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Southern District of Texas, is part of a 17-state coalition.

Abbott, the governor-elect, issued the following statement:

“The President’s unilateral executive action tramples the U.S. Constitution’s Take Care Clause and federal law. The Constitution’s Take Care Clause limits the President’s power and ensures that he will faithfully execute Congress’s laws – not rewrite them under the guise of ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ The Department of Homeland Security’s directive was issued without following the Administrative Procedure Act’s rulemaking guidelines and is nothing but an unlawfully adopted legislative rule: an executive decree that requires federal agencies to award legal benefits to individuals whose conduct contradicts the priorities of Congress.”

Capital Tonight: Dual Decisions Bring Health Care Law Back into Question

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is once again in the hands of the courts. A federal appeals court dealt a critical blow to a key component of Obamacare Tuesday. Then, just hours later, another panel ruled to keep the law in tact.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we explained how the decisions could put subsidies for health insurance at risk and what that could mean for nearly 600,000 Texans counting on them.

CONGRESSIONAL RESPONSE

The surge of immigrant children continues, while Congressional action is delayed another day.
We spoke to Congressman Roger Williams about whether any legislative answer has a chance of passing.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Plus, Gov. Rick Perry has officially called in the cavalry to help DPS officials at the Texas-Mexico border. Is the move a practical solution or political stunt? Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weighed in on that question and more.

 

 

Watch Obama’s full speech on Syria

President Barack Obama used a prime-time television address to make his case for military action Tuesday night, while staying open to the possibility of diplomacy. In just over 15 minutes, the president explained his thinking on the civil war in Syria and asked for the American public’s support for a targeted strike against chemical weapons facilities. Click the logo below to see the speech in its entirety.

 

Mixed reaction to Holder’s comments on Texas voting laws

Texas political leaders are commenting on remarks made by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder regarding Texas voting laws.

Holder told members of the National Urban League on Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice will ask a federal court to require Texas to ask for permission before changing its election laws. The move follows a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that essentialy eliminated the use of a pre-clerance provision of the Voting Rights Act for states with a history of discrimination.

“Once again, the Obama Administration is demonstrating utter contempt for our country’s system of checks and balances, not to mention the U.S. Constitution,” Republican Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement released in response. “This end-run around the Supreme Court undermines the will of the people of Texas, and casts unfair aspersions on our state’s common-sense efforts to preserve the integrity of our elections process.”

Democratic State Sen. Rodney Ellis of Houston had a different take on Holder’s announcement.

“I applaud Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to join the lawsuit that would require Texas to submit all voting law changes for preclearance for the next decade,” Ellis said in his own statement released to the media.  “Anyone who thinks Texas doesn’t need continued oversight simply hasn’t been paying attention.”

Ellis added that, in his view, Texas has clearly shown a repeated and documented history of discrimination against minority voters, pointing to last year when he said Texas was singled out as the only state to pass redistricting maps which were deliberately discriminatory.

“This is hopefully just the first step,” Ellis said.  “Congress needs to take action [to] revamp the Voting Rights Act to create a formula which takes into account current and historical discrimination and bias while meeting the requirements the Supreme Court has set out.  Otherwise, the voting rights of millions of Americans are in peril.”

Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn was also quick to respond to Holder’s comments.

“By first going around the voters and now the Supreme Court, Attorney General Holder and President Obama’s intentions are readily transparent,” Cornyn said in a released statement. ” This decision has nothing to do with protecting voting rights and everything to do with advancing a partisan political agenda. Texans should not — and will not — stand for the continued bullying of our state by the Obama Administration.”

Rep. Williams slams White House ‘Tourquester’

Some Republican lawmakers are taking issue with the Obama administration’s decision to close the White House doors to visitors. Citing the sequester, the visitors’ office announced yesterday that due to staffing issues tours would be put on hold indefinitely, starting Saturday. The move comes as Congress was unable to compromise on a budget deal and the spring tourism season is about to hit full swing in Washington, D.C.

In an email statement today, U.S. Rep Roger Williams called the closure “deeply troubling and disturbingly ironic.”

Today, U.S. Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25) made the following comments regarding the White House’s decision to cancel all public tours blaming the federal spending cuts, known as the sequester.  Williams said:

“For many Americans a family or school trip to our nation’s Capitol is a once-in-a-lifetime event.  To cancel all public tours, essentially closing the doors of the White House, is wrong.  This is nothing more than a publicity stunt, as it requires minimal federal dollars to allow the public access to the White House.  If the President was serious about cutting spending, he would negotiate in good faith with Congress to find more desirable solutions.

“I want to let those who are planning a trip to Washington, D.C. know that the Capitol will remain open.  My office is happy to continue arranging tours of the Capitol and many other historical landmarks regardless of any reductions in our office budget.”

In addition, Rep. Louie Gohmert, who represents parts of east Texas, is looking to keep the president off the links until the doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. are back open to the public. The Hill is reporting he filed an amendment stating ”None of the funds made available by a division of this act may be used to transport the President to or from a golf course until public tours of the White House tours resume.”