Capital Tonight: While Politicians Debate Border Issues, Volunteers Step In

The buzz surrounding President Barack Obama’s Texas trip is getting louder, amid calls for him to see the situation at the border while he’s in the state. After much back and forth, he and Gov. Rick Perry have worked out plans to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Dallas, along with some of the volunteer groups who have been helping Border Patrol handle the influx of undocumented children.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how the Salvation Army and other groups are helping, and why they say the influx of immigrants goes beyond politics. Plus, we spoke to Rep. Dan Flynn about the call for UT Austin President Bill Powers to resign

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi joined us to talk about Perry, the president and the border crisis, along with how the location of hazardous materials in Texas is playing into the governor’s race.

CANDIDATE CONVERSATION

Republican Ken Paxton had to fight his way to the Republican nomination for attorney general. Now, the Democratic candidate for that office is making sure the general election is even tougher. Sam Houston joined us to talk about his run to be the state’s top lawyer.

Gov. Perry Agrees to Meet with President Obama in Dallas

After declining a handshake on the tarmac in Austin, Gov. Rick Perry has agreed to meet with President Barack Obama in Dallas tomorrow, as part of a roundtable discussion on immigration issues.

The back-and-forth over whether the two would meet started last week, when Gov. Perry publicly suggested the president should tour the Texas-Mexico border and see for himself the more than 52,000 unaccompanied immigrant children who have been detained by the U.S. Border Patrol since October. White House spokesman Josh Ernest officially declined that offer from Washington, saying “the president is very aware of the situation that exists on the southwest border.”

On Monday, Gov. Perry declined a previous offer to greet Obama at the airport when he arrives in Austin for a fundraising trip. Instead, the governor suggested a “substantive meeting” on immigration. Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett responded by inviting Perry to a Wednesday border meeting with faith leaders and local officials in Dallas

Gov. Perry’s team accepted the offer and sent out a response framing it as a concession by the president:

“Governor Perry is pleased that President Obama has accepted his invitation to discuss the humanitarian and national security crises along our southern border, and he looks forward to meeting with the president tomorrow.”

President Obama has called the situation at the border a “humanitarian crisis.” The White House has warned that most of the children arriving at the border will be deported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cleveland Picked over Dallas for 2016 GOP Convention

It appears the 2016 Republican National Convention will take place in Cleveland. According to the Associated Press, a Republican National Committee panel is recommending Cleveland. The full 168-member RNC is expected to ratify the choice next month.

Finances were a key part of the decision-making process. The previous two GOP conventions have been extremely expensive for the party during election years. GOP Chairman Reince Priebus insisted the host city not leave the party picking up the tab, estimated at about $60 million.

Of course, Ohio has been a swing state in recent years, while Texas has been a solid “red” state for the past two decades.

Democrats have not yet decided where their 2016 convention will be held.

Capital Tonight: What’s Next for UT President Powers?

The fate of University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers is back in the spotlight. The UT System Chancellor and the Board of Regents are set to meet this week and discuss how to handle Powers’ refusal to resign by year’s end.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how Powers and his supporters are responding.

BORDER DEBATE

Meanwhile, the political rhetoric on the border keeps getting hotter, with Republicans and Democrats criticizing the president’s response. We checked in on the latest on that story, plus state Rep. Tony Dale joined us in-studio for an update on the state’s response.

 

ON THE AGENDA

The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to give his take on the day’s political news.

Pew Poll: 1 in 10 Americans Don’t Care about Politics

A new poll on national politics shows 1 in 10 Americans couldn’t care less about national politics.

The numbers come from the Washington-based Pew Research Center. According to their 2014 Political Polarization and Typology Survey, around 10 percent of Americans are what they call “bystanders” in the political system.

Those are people who haven’t registered to vote and mostly ignore government and public affairs. Bystanders are also overwhelmingly likely to have never contributed to a political campaign. The Pew study shows 38 percent of them are under 30 and nearly a third are Hispanic. But the biggest deciding factor seems to be education. The poll shows 67 percent of the politically disengaged didn’t pursue a degree beyond high school.

The Pew study is part of a bigger report on the nation’s political attitudes. It also includes a quiz to find out where you fit in on the political spectrum, which you can take here.

 

Capital Tonight: Washington Comes to Texas for Border Hearing

Border issues have been dominating the conversation in Washington lately, so on Friday, Washington came to the border. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas led a meeting of the House Homeland Security Committee in McAllen, where many of the 52,000 undocumented children have been detained since the beginning of this year.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we heard the latest in the debate over how to respond to the problem and who foots the bill.

BORDER POLITICS

There are plenty of questions about what caused the border crisis, but perhaps the biggest one is whether an immigration reform bill would have made a difference. Scott Braddock of the Quorum Report joined us to give his perspective.

CONVENTION FACT-CHECK

And the state Democratic convention brought out some bold claims from both Republicans and Democrats. Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us to sort rhetoric from reality.

Abbott Threatens to Sue Feds over Illegal Immigration

Attorney General Greg Abbott says he’s planning to file a new lawsuit against the federal government over its handling of the border.

Abbott revealed his plans in an interview with Brietbart Texas, a conservative news website. His office later confirmed it with Capital Tonight. This isn’t the first time the state has threatened to sue the federal government over illegal immigration. In the 1990s, the state filed and lost a lawsuit to recover money spent on education, medical and jail costs stemming from immigrants.

This time, it appears the lawsuit would deal specifically with costs of the latest immigrant influx.  In a statement, the AG’s office said:

The State of Texas is exploring any and all options, including litigation, to address the crisis our federal government has created by not living up to their Constitutional responsibility.  If the federal government is unwilling to secure the border, the State of Texas will be forced to resort to litigation to recoup the costs incurred to respond to this crisis.

Jerry Strickland with the AG’s office said Attorney General Abbott is still waiting to hear back about a request for more federal funding for last month’s surge of state law enforcement at the border.

Capital Tonight: Non-Governmental Groups Describe Efforts to Aid Immigrant Kids

The conventions are over, and now the candidates for governor are back on the campaign trail. For the Wendy Davis team, that means going after Attorney General Greg Abbott for his handling of a legal decision on dangerous chemicals. Meanwhile, Abbott’s campaign is choosing to put Davis’ supporters on the spot. 
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the newest chapter in the fight for the state’s top political spot.

POLITICAL ANALYSIS

Harvey Kronberg joined us to give his take on the day’s political news, including a new report from The Dallas Morning News on donations from the head of Koch Industries’ fertilizer division to Attorney General Abbott.

BORDER REPORT

While federal and state officials flock to the border demanding answers, humanitarian groups are figuring out how they can help. We spoke to Bee Moorhead from the Texas Interfaith Center about how religious leaders are working together. Plus, Austin attorney Jay Brim talked about the effort to pull together unpaid legal help for the kids involved.

Capital Tonight: Lawmakers Get Details on DPS Border Surge

Three weeks after state leaders approved an additional $1.3 million a week in state funding to boost patrols along the border, lawmakers are hearing from the Department of Public Safety on exactly how the money is being spent.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard from DPS Director Steve McCraw about how his agency is helping out at the border while federal officials deal with an influx of more than 50,000 immigrants.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi weighed in on how federal and state officials are handling the wave of immigrants and whether immigration reform has a chance of passing next year.

EXPENSE REPORT

Plus, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs joined us to explain a new study looking into how much Texas school districts are spending on construction.

Capital Tonight: Congressman Doggett on Hobby Lobby Ruling, Immigration

In a major blow to part of the president’s signature health care law, Supreme Court justices ruled 5-4 that family-owned corporations with religious objections to contraceptives can refuse to pay for them under the Affordable Care Act.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard responses from both sides of the debate over religious freedom and women’s health. Plus, Congressman Lloyd Doggett talked about the influx of immigrant children, including the executive action announced by President Barack Obama from the White House.

ON THE AGENDA

The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg is back in Austin after covering his twelfth Texas Democratic Convention. We heard his thoughts on how the party is portraying itself this time around.

NEW JOB DESCRIPTION

The federal guidelines for veterans employment are changing — a move that has some state officials speaking out. Shawn Deabay of the Texas Veterans Commission explained how the new rules could affect his efforts to help veterans here in Texas.