Politics

Michael Stravato

Nghi Ho and Al Hoang, the Republicans who are vying to unseat Rep. Hubert Vo, are talking about the usual issues, like abortion. They are also talking about some unlikely topics, like the Communist government in Vietnam, the birthplace of all three candidates running in the southwest Harris County district, which includes most of Alief.

“It shows that a place like Alief has come a long way from what it was when it was first established as a fairly Anglo suburb of Houston,” said Mustafa Tameez, a political consultant for Vo’s first race.

Barbara Bush, 88, is in a hospital in Houston with a respiratory-related issue, according to her husband's office.

She was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on Monday, a statement from the office of former President George H.W. Bush reads.

The statement says the former first lady "is in great spirits."

Being an incumbent ain't what it used to be.

Texan John Cornyn is the No. 2 man in Senate GOP leadership and by most measures holds high conservative ratings — according to National Journal's rankings, he was the second most conservative senator in the last Congress.

The essence of the budget deal reached by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is better understood by looking at what's missing, rather than what's included in it.

A batch of internal documents recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures.

Any day now, the New Mexico Supreme Court may grant same-sex couples the right to get married.

At this point, such a ruling may not seem like such a big deal. Prior to last year's elections, gays and lesbians had a civil right to marry in only six states. Now, they have it in 16.

"This year represented the true tipping point," says Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History. "We've reached a moment in history where it's very difficult, if not impossible, to go back."

(We added to the top of this post at 2:08 p.m. ET.)

There was high drama Thursday on the floor of the Senate as Democrats significantly changed the way business in the chamber is done.

In what Republicans cast as a "power grab" but Democrats defended as a way to break gridlock, the Senate's rules were changed to make it much more difficult for a minority of the members to hold up action on key presidential nominees.

What's so great about the U.S. Constitution anyway? Could Washington govern better if it weren't slavishly devoted to a deeply flawed document over 200-years-old?

These are some of the questions that Sanford Levinson asks in "Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Government." The book comes out this month in paperback.

Levinson, a distinguished member of the UT Law faculty, spoke with KUT's David Brown about what can be done to better governing.

The Senate has approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which gives workplace protections to workers and job applicants who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The bill would apply to any private employer that has more than 15 employees; it includes an exemption for religious groups.

The measure adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of characteristics that cannot be discriminated against in the workplace passed by a vote of 64-32 — a slightly stronger showing than an earlier vote to move forward on the legislation, which passed 61-30.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Attorney General Greg Abbott, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for Texas governor, holds a single-digit lead over the likely Democratic nominee, state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

In a head-to-head race, Abbott got 40 percent of registered voters to Davis’ 34 percent, with 25 percent of the voters undecided. In a three-way general election, he would get 40 percent, Davis would get 35 percent and Libertarian Kathie Glass would get 5 percent.

“What you’ve got is a race in which, for the first time in a long time, the Democrat is as well-known as the Republican at the outset of the race,” said poll co-director Daron Shaw, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.

A Republican Bexar County judge who narrowly won his election in 2010 announced today that he will run next year as a Democrat. 

In a written statement, Judge Carlo Key of San Antonio, who is running for re-election to County Court Position 11 in San Antonio, cited ideological extremism as the reason for his departure from the Republican Party of Texas. 

After successfully staring down congressional Republicans in the shutdown-debt ceiling fight, President Obama pivoted to immigration in a move with almost no downside.

That makes it perfect as the next vehicle for him to use to cause the GOP major indigestion.

Before being re-elected last year, President Obama said he hoped the Republican "fever" of opposition to him would break during his second term. But if the just-completed standoff is any indication, that temperature is still spiking.

Bringing to an end an episode that once again exposed Washington gridlock at its worst, the House approved a Senate deal that will end a 16-day federal government shutdown and avert the first government default in U.S. history.

The 285-144 vote came at the eleventh hour, after weeks of partisan bickering and a very public airing of deep divisions within the Republican party. President Obama signed the bill into law after midnight Thursday.

In the mid-1970’s, Eugene Robinson began his career in journalism. He joined The Washington Post in the '80's, covering domestic and foreign affairs before moving on to a managing editor post.

More recently, Robinson's become known nationally as a Pulitzer prize-winning columnist and contributor to MSNBC. Prior to his appearance at the University of Texas to deliver this year's Mary Alice Davis Distinguished Lecture in Journalism, Robinson stopped by the KUT studios to talk about the current political climate and how the politics of Texas – and healthcare – factor into it. 

Todd Wiseman / Randall Chancellor / Jason Petersen / Stephen Payne

More than 30 Texas legislators are hoping to cash in on the big Longhorn-Sooner rivalry game this weekend in Dallas, but they're not relying on bookies or their betting prowess.

The annual SBC Red River Rivalry football game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma University is increasingly becoming a fundraising hotspot for lawmakers in both parties, who can rely on plenty of deep-pocketed donors to be in Dallas for the game-day festivities. While most of the legislators holding fundraisers represent districts in the Dallas area, recently more lawmakers from across the state, like state Reps. Ken King, R-Canadian, andTodd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, are going to Dallas hoping to score big financially at the Cotton Bowl.

The latest House GOP gambit in the fiscal fight is ... wait for it ... a supercommittee.

But Republicans aren't calling it a supercommittee since that's the term for the failed panel that brought us the the sequester.

The second week of the shutdown is, so far, looking a lot like Week 1. Even so, here are a few data points that might be worth your attention:

U.S. civilian defense workers heading back to work on Monday

As The Two-Way's Bill Chappell reported earlier, the Department of Defense is ordering most of its furloughed civilian employees — amounting to about 400,000 workers — back to work.

The Treasury Department is issuing a warning of dire economic consequences that could rival the Great Recession if Congress is unable to agree on raising the debt ceiling and the nation defaults on its obligations.

Update At 3:50 p.m. EDT.

President Obama on Friday praised the Senate for passing a spending bill to keep the federal government operating and called House GOP efforts to tie approving the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act "political grandstanding."

He said that despite Republican hopes that Obamacare will be repealed, "That's not going to happen," accusing Republicans of threatening to "blow up the entire economy."

No one has the right to precipitate such a crisis, he said, "just because there are a couple of laws you don't like."

During the fifth hour of his televised marathon speech protesting Obamacare, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz caught the attention of Dr. Seuss fans everywhere by pulling out a copy of Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor to read as a bedtime story to his children.

Pages