Rep. Michael McCaul

Capital Tonight: One-on-one with McCaul on Syria

Congress is getting ready to return to Capitol Hill from summer break, and members have a big decision to make when they get back. President Barack Obama is asking Congress to authorize a military strike on Syria in response to reported chemical weapons attacks on civilians in the country.

Congressman Michael McCaul is among Washington lawmakers who are skeptical of getting involved in the conflict. In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we sat down with the Homeland Security Committee Chairman to talk about his concerns.

STATEWIDE DEBATE

The San Antonio City Council gave the go-ahead to a controversial anti-discrimination measure. The ordinance will expand the city’s current policy to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.

The city hall was packed with equal-rights activists who cheered the 8-3 vote, but the new ordinance has received backlash from some of Texas’ top Republicans.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

The repercussions continue after Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s drunk driving arrest. Now, a grand jury will decide her fate and that of Gov. Rick Perry. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi joined us to weigh in on where things go from here.

McCaul unseated as richest member of Congress

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul is now the second richest member of Congress. According to The Hill newspaper, the Austin Republican is worth about $101 million. Much of McCaul’s money comes from family trusts. His wife is the daughter of Clear Channel Communications founder Lowry Mays. 

For the last two years, McCaul ranked at the very top of the 50 richest members of Congress. According to the paper, McCaul reported the family’s holdings differently last year, which resulted in his drop on the list.

Rep. McCaul was unseated by House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa. Issa, who earned his wealth with the Viper car security system, is worth an estimated $355 million.

 

 

Capital Tonight: Battle lines drawn over redistricting

Battle Lines Drawn

Despite calls for swift action, the special session call for redistricting could drag on.

The House Select Committee on Redistricting took up the issue Friday, a day after Senate lawmakers did the same. Gov. Rick Perry wants the legislature to act quickly to adopt interim court-drawn maps that were used last election, but so far, it looks like lawmakers have different plans.

Call Confusion

While the interim maps are the only issue lawmakers are tasked with dealing with in the special session, even that is causing some confusion. Reeve Hamilton of the Texas Tribune and Ben Philpott with KUT’s Agenda Texas joined us to help sort things out.

One-on-One

Plus, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul joined us in the studio.
Click the image below to hear his thoughts on the progress Washington is making on immigration reform and border security.

Capital Tonight: Boston blasts raise security concerns nationwide

Tragedy & National Security

As more details came to light about the Boston Marathon explosions Monday, politicians in DC and here in Texas made it clear that they would do whatever possible to find those responsible.

“We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this, we will find out why they did this,” President Barack Obama said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

While the president was careful not to refer to the explosions as an act of terrorism, Rep. Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, had no such reservations.

“I called this an act of terrorism the minute I saw it, based on the way it was perpetrated. It has all the hallmarks of the act of terrorism in terms of multiple, simultaneous casualties, spectacular events. So the Boston marathon, as runners are crossing the finish line, has all the hallmarks of an act of terrorism,” McCaul said. 

 

Texas Perspective

Rep. Allen Fletcher spoke to McCaul earlier in the day. He talked about that conversation and gave his perspective as vice-chairman of the Texas House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee. 

 

State Business Continues

Meanwhile, things elsewhere the Capitol continued as usual. Gov. Rick Perry chose tax day to unveil a tax-relief plan for Texas businesses.

Click the YNN logo below to hear more about that story, along with analysis from the Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg.

 
 

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.”

McCaul’s ‘Creating Hope Act’ signed into law



Congressman Michael McCaul is celebrating President Obama’s signing of a law he authored to help sick children.

McCaul co-sponsored the “Creating Hope Act." The law creates federal incentives for pharmaceutical companies that develop drugs to treat rare childhood diseases like sickle cell anemia and cancer.

According to McCaul, the drug industry has stalled its creation of these medicines because other, more widely used drugs are more profitable.

"We do a lot of stuff up here that quite honestly doesn’t mean a whole lot. This is something that I think will make a difference in the lives of children," McCaul said.

McCaul says that since 1980, the Food and Drug Administration has approved only one new drug to treat childhood cancer.

Under the law, companies that develop drugs to treat pediatric illnesses will receive vouchers to help speed up the approval process for their more profitable drugs.

The law will go into effect in 90 days.