President Obama

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.

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.

 

 

Capital Tonight: Obama, Bush draw parallels between their accomplishments and LBJ’s

The country’s first black president was a featured speaker on the final day of the LBJ Civil Rights Summit. President Barack Obama gave the keynote address at the three-day event, commemorating the signing of the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago.

The President spoke candidly about President Lyndon Johnson’s struggles to create change in the country, and he drew several comparisons between his presidency and the legacy of LBJ.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how President Obama and former President George W. Bush view their time in office in light of LBJ’s accomplishments.

INCOME INEQUALITY

Segregation may be over, but the income gap between whites and nonwhites is still largely in place. We sat down with economist James Galbraith for a discussion on what income inequality looks like today and the steps lawmakers are taking to curb it.

PROGRESS & POLITICS

Voting laws in Texas were on the minds of many this week. Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson joined us to give his take on that issue. And our political strategists, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, debated more of the political issues unique to Texas.

Wendy Davis to meet privately with President Obama

Sen. Wendy Davis will have a chance to speak one-on-one with the president today. Sources close to the campaign tell Capital Tonight Sen. Davis will meet privately with the president while he’s in Austin.

President Barack Obama is in town for the LBJ Library’s Civil Rights Summit, marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. He’s scheduled to arrive at the airport at 10:30 this morning, then head to the University of Texas campus, where the summit is being held.

Sen. Davis has been tapping into the Democratic donor network from all over the country in her bid to be the first Democratic governor elected in Texas since 1991. However, being linked too closely with President Obama in a red state, where he has consistently weak poll numbers since 2009, could hurt her efforts. Her opponent, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, has made suing the Obama administration over federal regulations a key part of his campaign speeches.

The Davis campaign is already connected to the Obama team in one sense: she has a joint fundraising effort with Battleground Texas, a group dedicated to turning Texas blue. The group is made up of several veterans of the president’s 2012 campaign team.

 

Perry blasts Obama over call for Medicaid expansion

Gov. Rick Perry had some harsh words for President Barack Obama Wednesday. Obama traveled to Dallas to promote his landmark health care law and to urge the state to consider expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

According to Obama, doing so would potentially cover more than a million Texans who are currently uninsured.

“One of the things that gets me a little frustrated,” Obama said, “are folks who are complaining about how the website’s not working, and why isn’t Obama fixing it. And yet they’re leaving more than a million people right now without health insurance that they could immediately fix.”

Gov. Perry has maintained that Texas will not expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Instead, he requested a federal block grant that would allow Texas to make changes to the program without having to follow federal guidelines. Gov. Perry did not mince words in his response to the President’s request, saying:

“President Obama deceived the American people by promising that anyone who liked their health care plan could keep it, but millions of Americans are now discovering that simply isn’t true. Now, he’s coming to Texas in a desperate attempt to salvage his ill-conceived and unpopular program from a Titanic fate by preaching expansion of the same Medicaid system he himself admits is broken. In Texas, where Medicaid already consumes a quarter of the state budget, we simply need the flexibility to implement fundamental, state-specific reforms to our Medicaid program, instead of a one-size-fits-all Washington mandate, before it bankrupts our state. Mr. President, Texans aren’t the reason Obamacare is crumbling; Obamacare is the reason Obamacare is crumbling.”

Texas is one of 21 states that declined to expand Medicaid as part of Obamacare. There were several bipartisan attempts last legislative session to come up with a Texas-specific version of expansion. None of those bills gained enough support to move forward.

Abbott responds to Obama visit in new web ad

Attorney General Greg Abbott released a new online ad Wednesday to coincide with President Obama’s visit to Dallas. In his ad, Abbott criticizes the administration over the troubled roll out of the Affordable Care Act and highlights Obama’s losses in the Lone Star State.

In a statement to accompany the ad, Abbott said, “Texans don’t need a half-billion-dollar website to find out that they don’t support ObamaCare, and we are not going to let this abusive, overreaching program sink its teeth too deeply into Texas.”

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured citizens in the country. Obama spoke in Dallas to promote the positive points of the Affordable Care Act and to urge Gov. Rick Perry to expand Medicaid.

Obama administration criticized over surveillance techniques

President Obama is defending his administration’s use of a data collection program, known as PRISM. Leaked NSA documents show that the federal government has been monitoring phone calls made in the United States. The documents show intelligence agencies have also been tracking Internet activity.

News of the program was first reported by the British newspaper, The Guardian. According to the report, PRISM was used to extract audio, video, photos, and emails from some of the biggest Internet companies, including Google and Microsoft.

The Obama administration insists its actions are legal. Officials say the data isn’t reviewed unless investigators have reason to believe it’s tied to terrorism.

“I think it is important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.  You know, we are going to have to make some choices as a society,”  President Obama said Friday.

Word of the NSA surveillance techniques has outraged lawmakers in both parties. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul launched the first strike against the activity Friday. He is proposing a bill that requires a warrant before any government agency can search Americans’ phone records.

Sen. Ted Cruz has also been highly critical of the government’s tactics. Read his full statement, below the jump. More >

Capital Tonight: Budgets, demographics and DC scandals

The state’s top budget writers have been meeting behind closed doors, hammering out the final details on a two-year plan. Tuesday, we got word that lawmakers are tentatively set on $2 billion dollar water plan, but money for transportation and education remain up in the air.

MALC Turns 40

The country’s oldest and largest Latino legislative caucus is turning 40. The Mexican American Legislative Caucus celebrated Wednesday with a free concert at the Capitol, but a birthday wasn’t the only thing members celebrated. A new poll hints that the Latino vote could easily overcome the Republican margin of victory, but not every MALC member sees it that clearly.

IRS Scandal

President Barack Obama has announced that the head of the Internal Revenue Service will be resigning, in the wake of a scandal involving the specific targeting of Tea Party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status.

Sen. John Cornyn appeared on the show to talk about that and more.