Politics

Government Shutdown
2:29 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

As It Happened: The Fight Over The Debt Ceiling, Shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the Senate floor after agreeing to the framework of a deal to avoid default and reopen the government, on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 9:23 pm

Update at 10:18 p.m.: House Approves Bill:

The crisis is over. With about two hours before the country reached the debt ceiling, the House has approved the bill and it is now it's way to the White House. We've posted separately on that development and we are putting this live blog to bed.

Our Original Post Continues:

Read more
Politics
1:52 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Government Shutdown Freezes UT Research Projects in Antarctica

An Antarctic researcher inspects a block of frozen ground (permafrost) that has tumbled down into the Garwood River, where it will melt rapidly. Because of the shutdown, researchers haven’t been able to complete the third and final year of their study.
Joseph Levy/University of Texas

Science is another casualty of the federal government shutdown. But for Antarctic scientists the effects will linger even after the Congressional impasse is resolved.

University of Texas research associate and Antarctic geologist Joseph Levy was supposed to get on a plane Thursday headed south for the third and final year of a study about ancient ice.

But last week he was told to cancel his plans because of a lack of funding, and he says the government shutdown could jeopardize time sensitive scientific research.

Read more
Agenda Texas
10:17 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Texans Could Vote to Help Cut Veterans' Property Taxes

Voters could give property tax breaks to soldiers and their families on November 5th.
Photo by KUT News

When Texans go to the polls beginning Monday, they’ll have the chance to vote on nine constitutional propositions. Two of them would cut property taxes for disabled veterans or their surviving spouse. 

Both propositions have their origins in an oversight and look to tweak current laws to give returning Texas veterans and their families property tax breaks.

Read more
Agenda Texas
8:00 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Expanding Reverse Mortgages on November Ballot

Proposition 5 would let Sr's purchase homes with a reverse mortgage.
Ben Philpott

Texans head to the polls later this month to vote on constitutional amendment propositions. Though water funding is receiving the most attention, there are 8 others to consider, including one that expands the use of what’s called a reverse mortgage in Texas.

A reverse mortgage is a financial tool that allows senior citizens to receive equity payments each month while staying in their home. The reverse mortgage is paid back, with interest, only after the house is sold when the owner either moves out or dies.

Read more
Government Shutdown
10:52 am
Thu October 10, 2013

After White House Meeting, Both Sides Agree To Keep Talking

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 6:48 pm

This post was last updated at 7:19 p.m. ET.

After an hour-long meeting with President Obama, Republicans said they have agreed to keep talking, in hopes of bridging a gulf that has already led to a government shutdown and is threatening the first default in U.S. history.

Read more
2014 Governor's Race
4:30 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Could A Democrat Become Governor In Texas?

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democratic candidate for governor, speaks at a rally in Haltom City on Oct. 3.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 7:44 pm

In 2014, Texas voters might just see something they haven't experienced in two decades — a competitive race for governor.

Current Republican Gov. Rick Perry isn't running for re-election, so it's an open race, with new faces and new optimism for Texas Democrats.

Earlier this year, the Democrats were once again facing the prospect of scrambling to find someone to run as their candidate. Then, on June 25, state Sen. Wendy Davis came to the Capitol in Austin wearing running shoes and ready to block a restrictive abortion bill.

Read more
Politics
3:06 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Columnist Eugene Robinson Talks Texas, Obamacare, and the Era of Gridlock

Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson.

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. 

Read more
Commissoners Court
8:53 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Despite Perry Veto, Travis County Bills State for Public Integrity Work

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg in 2008.
KUT News

Travis County is going to bill the State of Texas for some work done on the Public Integrity Unit. Travis County commissioners approved the plan Tuesday.

The Public Integrity Unit deals with white-collar crimes from across the state. It had been paid for with state funds, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed that money when Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated.

Read more
Government Shutdown
3:17 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

House GOP's Latest Idea: A Fiscal Supercommittee, Sort Of

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) at the hearing where he discussed his bill to create a bipartisan committee to tackle fiscal issues.
C-SPAN screen shot

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 3:56 pm

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.

Read more
Government Shutdown
4:45 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Which Texas Congress Members Are Taking a Salary During the Shutdown?

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio), is donating his salary to charity during the shutdown.
KUT News

It’s week two of the government shutdown. And while thousands of government workers have been furloughed, members of congress continue to collect their pay.

Some congress members recognize the bad optics of the situation. As reported by the Washington Post, more than a hundred congressmen are refusing their salaries, or donating their salaries to charity, for the duration of the shutdown. Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas) has even filed a bill, the Shutdown Member of Congress Pay Act of 2013, that would suspend members' salary during the shutdown. 

Read more
Government Shutdown
8:23 am
Mon October 7, 2013

No End In Sight: Shutdown Showdown Enters Week 2

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn speaks on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday. Cornyn said the partial federal government shutdown cannot end unless President Obama sits down with congressional Republicans.
Chris Usher AP

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 11:26 am

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.

Read more
2014 Governor's Race
5:28 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Wendy Davis Announces Run For Governor

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Update: Our reporting partners at the Texas Tribune have a recap of Davis' announcement:  

Davis promised to be an advocate for those who feel they no longer have a voice in the halls of the Texas Capitol, to fight for more education dollars and to take on Republicans leaders who she said are listening to their campaign contributors instead of average Texans.

 "In Austin today, our current leadership thinks promises are just something you make to the people who write big checks," she said, according to remarks distributed before she delivered them. "But the promise I’m talking about is bigger than that. It’s the promise of a better tomorrow for everyone. Texas deserves a leader who will protect this promise. Texas deserves a leader who will keep it."

It’s a long campaign ahead. Republican opponent Greg Abbott has a head-start in fundraising; the Davis campaign is said to need to raise about $40 million to be competitive.

Read more
Politics
3:28 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Only Days Left for Texans to Register to Vote This November

Melinda Avey is a Geographic Information System coordinator for Travis County. She was helping people register to vote on the UT campus on Oct. 3, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

The last chance to register to vote in the Nov. 5 election is Monday. And there’s another wrinkle for some: This is the first statewide election that requires voters to show photo ID. 

If you don’t have one of six approved government-issued photo IDs to bring with you to vote on Nov. 5, you can get an election ID certificate. I spoke to Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant at a Fiesta supermarket in South Austin, where he was getting the word out near a table set up by Department of Public Safety staff.

Read more
Economy
12:32 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Treasury: New Debt Ceiling Fight Could Derail Economy

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew leaves the Capitol after a visit on Thursday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 2:30 pm

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.

Read more
2014 Governor's Race
6:29 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Greg Abbott Leads Wendy Davis By 8 Points In Statewide Poll

Texas Tribune

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 12:17 pm

A new statewide poll released Wednesday shows Republican Greg Abbott with an eight-point lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the Texas governor’s race.

The poll, conducted by the Texas Lyceum, shows Abbott, the Texas Attorney General, leading with 29 percent. Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat, has 21 percent.

But most registered voters don’t know who will get their vote – 50 percent are undecided.

Read more
Government Shutdown
9:12 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Shutdown Solution? None To Be Seen Yet, But Sides Will Talk

The Lincoln Memorial is officially closed. National parks and monuments are among the parts of the federal government affected by the shutdown.
Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 5:16 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Mara Liasson on the government shutdown

(We most recently updated this post at 8:31 p.m. ET.)

We said it Tuesday: "No end in sight."

The story's the same a day later.

Pardon us for being repetitive, but there's no end in sight to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Read more
Government Shutdown
4:49 am
Tue October 1, 2013

No End In Sight As Government Shutdown Nears First Full Day

Members of the U.S. Park Service place barricades around the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. A partial shutdown of the federal government has led to the closing of national parks.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:08 pm

Update at 8:18 p.m. ET. Impasse:

As first day of a federal government shutdown came to a close, Congress was not any closer to a resolution.

Case in point: Republicans in the House proposed three bills that would have reopened national parks, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and kept the D.C. government afloat. But all three bills didn't even make it out of the House.

Read more
Government Shutdown
12:38 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Shutdown Begins After Congress Fails In Spending Compromise

Members of the House of Representatives enter the U.S. Capitol on Monday. Congress failed to reach a budget agreement by the midnight deadline triggering a partial shutdown of the government.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 9:04 am

House Republicans and Senate Democrats could not reach agreement by the midnight deadline on a spending bill to keep the government operating, triggering an immediate shutdown of nonessential services and the furlough of nonessential personnel potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers.

Updated at 1:40 a.m. ET, House Speaker Boehner's Comments:

Read more
Affordable Care Act
4:32 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Texas 'Obamacare' Navigators Testify Against Extra Training Requirements

From left to right: Sam Brown, Kursten Berry and Demetrio Selman are navigators who have been trained by Houston nonprofit Change Happens.
KUT News

The Affordable Care Act’s federal health insurance marketplace opens in Texas tomorrow. Workers known as navigators will help Texans sign up for health insurance. But these navigators are at the center of a political debate in Texas. 

Gov. Rick Perry recently directed the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to come up with more training and regulations for navigators. He based his directive on a new law authored by Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, called Senate Bill 1795. 

Read more
Government Shutdown
2:04 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

The Looming Shutdown: Senate Rejects Second House Measure

Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, arrives for a Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol on Friday in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 10:56 pm

Not even an hour after the House voted in favor of a bill that would avert a shutdown of the federal government, but also delay a key part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the Senate rejected it with a vote of 54-46.

With less than an hour before the government runs out of authority to spend money, the ball is now back in the court of Speaker John Boehner in the House.

Read more

Pages