Sen.Ted Cruz

Texas senators among ‘no’ votes on budget deal

Texas’ two U.S. Senators were among Republicans who voted “no” on a deal to end the government shutdown and avoid default. The Senate voted 81-18 Wednesday night on a bipartisan bill that reopens the government until Jan. 15 and raises the debt ceiling through Feb. 7.

As expected, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were among lawmakers who opposed the agreement. Speaking on the Senate floor prior to the vote, Sen. Cruz said, “This is a terrible deal today, but it’s a terrible deal for the American people. But at the same time, if the American people continue to rise up, we’re going to turn this around.”

The House is expected to approve the legislation later this evening and President Obama has said he will sign it immediately. The deal will end the 16-day government shutdown.

Capital Tonight: Measuring the Cruz effect

More than 21 hours after it started, Sen. Ted Cruz’s marathon speech against Obamacare came to a close without making any immediate legislative impact.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how the political aftermath is shaping up.


As Sen. Cruz was making his case, the Department of Health and Human Services was handing out some highly anticipated information. The Obama administration released the estimated costs of individual health plans late Tuesday night, and the news seems to be better than expected.


The Texas Democratic Party is still eagerly awaiting the official word from Sen. Wendy Davis on a possible run for governor. We sat down with the party’s chairman, Gilberto Hinojosa, and got his thoughts on what a Davis candidacy means for other potential statewide candidates.

Marathon Cruz speech ends after 21 hours

After speaking for 21 hours and 19 minutes, Sen. Ted Cruz yielded the floor Wednesday, allowing a vote on government funding to go ahead as planned.

Cruz began speaking just before 3 p.m. EDT Tuesday in opposition to the Affordable Care Act. With help from Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Cruz covered everything from constitutional law to “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. But apart from Obamacare, Cruz’s main complaint was with Senate Republicans who refused to follow his lead.

“Anyone who votes to cut off debate on this bill is voting to allow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to fully fund Obamacare,” Cruz said. “That’s a vote that I think is a profound mistake.”

The speech was not technically a filibuster, since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had enough votes to begin debate on a continuing resolution passed by the House. That bill included a provision that would strip funding for Obamacare, which Reid is expected to remove before sending the bill back to the House.



Capital Tonight: Can the Cruz strategy succeed?

Sen. Ted Cruz made good on a promise to stand against the Affordable Care Act Tuesday, beginning a speech on the Senate floor that could stretch until well past midnight. It’s an effort to use a must-pass spending bill to strip funding from the president’s health care law.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the delay tactic and looked at what the long-term repercussions could be with political analysts Harold Cook and Ted Delisi.


New data from the PEW Research Center shows fewer people are living in the U.S. illegally now than in 2007. The downward trend also holds true for five states that have 60 percent or more of the undocumented immigrant population, but not for Texas. We spoke to immigration expert Terri Givens about why Texas might be bucking the national trend.


The 83rd legislative session is behind us, and the Center for Politics and Governance at UT’s LBJ School is taking a closer look and what happened and why. We sat down with the center’s director, Sherri Greenberg, to talk about the forum

Sen. Cruz launches stall tactic over Obamacare

Sen. Ted Cruz  has vowed to speak in opposition to the Affordable Care Act until he can no longer stand.

Cruz began the stalling tactic just before 2 p.m. today, in an attempt to delay a motion by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. At issue is a continuing resolution that House lawmakers passed last week, which would continue to pay for government operations, but only if funding is stripped from Obamacare. Sen. Reid will move to put Obamacare funding back in the bill later this week, so it can make it past the president’s desk and avoid a government shutdown.

Senator Cruz says he’ll fight to keep that from happening, and denies accusations that his strategy is only for personal political gain.

“This fight is not about personalities,” Cruz said.  “Most Americans could not give a flying flip about a bunch of politicians in Washington.  Who cares?  Almost all of us are in cheap suits with bad haircuts.”

Many Republican leaders in the Senate are opposing Cruz’s strategy. They argue there aren’t enough votes in the Senate to stop the bill from passing .

Cruz, Cornyn file Fort Hood shooting legislation

Texas’ two U.S. senators are moving forward with a bill to reclassify the Fort Hood shooting as a terrorist attack. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz introduced the Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act on Capitol Hill Thursday.

The shooting is currently classified as an act of workplace violence. Changing the designation would give the victims and their families the same benefits and honors as victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It would provide life insurance, tax breaks for death in a combat zone and other combat-related pay.

The measure also has sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reps. John Carter and Roger Williams are introducing similar legislation in the lower chamber. Lawmakers say they expect bipartisan support for the bill and hope to have it passed through Congress by the end of the year.

Last month Maj. Nidal Hasan was convicted of killing 13 people and injuring dozens more in the 2009 shooting. He is sitting on death row at Fort Leavenworth.

Cruz bests Perry in new UT / TT 2016 poll

Texans would prefer a Ted Cruz run for President over a repeat of Gov. Perry’s 2012 bid. According to a new University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll, 25 percent of people would vote for Sen. Cruz if the GOP primary was held today. Rand Paul ranked second at 13 percent followed by Marco Rubio with 11 percent. Perry came in fourth, with 10 percent support. It is worth noting that 21 percent of people said they didn’t know yet who their choice would be.

On the plus side for Perry, the same poll also shows he would beat Attorney General Greg Abbott in the gubernatorial primary race. Perry bested Abbott in that poll, Neither Perry nor Abbott has said yet if they plan to run. It seems a primary between the two would be unlikely, however. In January, Gov. Perry told WFAA-TV that if he sought reelection, Abbott would not challenge him. Perry has maintained that he will announce his plans after the legislative session ends. Abbott, it would appear, is waiting for Perry to make his plans public.





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 >

New York Republicans keeping distance from Ted Cruz

Wherever Sen. Ted Cruz goes, it’s a safe bet that controversy will follow.

Case in point: the Senator’s planned speech at a New York State Republican dinner scheduled for tomorrow in Manhattan.

Today, Democrats tried to turn Cruz’s appearance into a talking point against some New York Republicans. Across parts of that state, Cruz is persona non grata due to his efforts earlier this year to block federal aid for Hurricane Sandy victims.

Rep. Peter King, a Republican Congressman from Long Island, said today that he would not attend the dinner, telling BuzzFeed, “I don’t think we should be acknowledging people who are voting against us in our hour of need.”

Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican who represents Sandy-devastated Staten Island, also said that he would not attend, after getting a beating from the Democratic National Committee and The House Majority PAC, a group leading the Democratic Party’s efforts to take back the House of Representatives.

In a statement, Grimm did not take issue with Cruz, but instead the Democrats who criticized him.

“To use an event as tragic as Sandy to try and score a few cheap political points is beyond reprehensible, and I expect more from my NYC colleagues, who quite frankly should know better,” said Grimm.

“I could only hope that that they will put as much effort into Sandy relief as they have launching baseless political attacks. I invite them to join me in my ongoing efforts to return displaced families to their homes and reopen the small businesses that have yet to open their doors – instead of wasting time on partisan nonsense that only divides our country and makes average citizens lose more faith in Congress.”





Texas leaders encourage Obama to follow state business model

Texas’ top Republican officials are weighing in this morning on President Obama’s visit to Central Texas. Their message: President Obama should take a hard look at the Texas economy and use it as a model for the rest of the nation.

President Obama is in Central Texas today to kick off his “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour.” The president will deliver remarks at Manor New Tech High School and Applied Materials. There is also speculation that he will make another private stop in Downtown Austin.

In an op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman, Gov. Rick Perry took the opportunity to tout Texas’ economy and job creation and took some jabs at the president’s policies.

“The secret to our success is actually pretty simple, and I’ve shared the message around the country and around the world,” Perry said. “We keep our taxes low, our regulations reasonable and effective; we’ve implemented lawsuit abuse reforms and cultivated a world-class workforce. Are these decisions always easy? No, but like every American family, we make the tough choices and balance our budget. Hardworking taxpayers should expect no less than a limited and accountable government.”

Senators Ted Cruz and Attorney General Greg Abbott weigh in, after the jump.

More >