US House of Representatives

Texas lawmakers weighing Syria vote

Updated: As Congress prepares to vote to authorize military action in Syria, Capital Tonight is tracking how Texas’ Congressional delegation plans to vote.

Below is our breakdown of where lawmakers stand:

  • Sen. John Cornyn (R) – NO
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R) – NO
  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R) – LEANING AGAINST
  • Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) – UNDECIDED
  • Rep. Lamar Smith (R) – NO
  • Rep. Roger Williams (R) – NO
  • Rep. John Carter (R) – NO
  • Rep. Pete Sessions (R) – AWAITING RESPONSE
  • Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) – LEANING AGAINST
  • Rep. Steve Stockman (R) – NO

Capital Tonight: Turning dollars into water

Lawmakers are getting serious about the state’s water deficit.

By a vote of 144-3, the Texas House voted to use $2 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (known as the Rainy Day Fund) to finance much needed water projects.


Texas experienced the state’s worst draught on record in 2011, and many of the effects are still being felt. In light of those conditions, the state’s Water Development Board has recommended a plan that would cost $53 billion to implement. House Bill 4 would use the $2 billion as a starting point to prioritize infrastructure, reservoir construction and pipeline improvements.

Debating DOMA

The Supreme Court wrapped up arguments Wednesday afternoon on the Defense of Marriage Act, and supporters of overturning the law say they’re hopeful the outcome will be in their favor.

The 1996 Defense Of Marriage Act defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman, and prevents legally married same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

On Wednesday, the four liberal justices and swing-vote Anthony Kennedy appeared to question whether the act is constitutional.


Art of the Amendment

The path from creating a bill to having it become law is a lengthy process, and part of that path includes amendments.

We spoke to two former state lawmakers about that process, and the strategy behind it. 

McCaul questions ICE release of detainees

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul is accusing the Obama administration of using the looming budget cuts as an “excuse” to release detainees.

In a Fox News appearance Thursday, McCaul, the recently-appointed chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said federal officials had been looking into releasing detainees “as far as a year ago.” He did not provide evidence for the claim.

“It’s a dangerous and reckless policy to release potentially violent criminal offenders into the general population,” McCaul said.

Earlier this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced that several hundred immigrants who were being held in jails were released in order to save money.

A spokesman for the president said Wednesday that all those released were “non-criminals” with “low-risk” status.

For his part, McCaul is asking for more information about the detainees. He wrote a letter to ICE director John Morton, asking for an exact total of those released, and their reasons for being detained.

McCaul says he wants a reply by March 6.