Political news

Chris Maddaloni/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas teamed up Tuesday to push new curbs on Syrian refugees entering the United States, with Cruz unveiling a new bill that would let states "opt out" of accepting some refugees. 

"America is a charitable nation, but we cannot allow charity for some to compromise the safety for all," Abbott said during a news conference with Cruz in Washington, D.C. "That is what has happened by the way that the federal government has interpreted and applied the Refugee Act that already exists."

Image via Flickr/Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard: 

During President Obama's Oval Office speech on Sunday evening, he laid out two gun control measures he wanted Congress to act on, one of them dealt with the nation's no-fly list.

"To begin with, Congress would have to make sure no one who's on a no-fly list would be able to buy a gun," Obama said in his televised address. "What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security."

But many, including the ACLU, have concerns about tying the no-fly list to a database for firearm purchases.


Image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Sunday, December 6 – a day before the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack – is no date that will live in infamy. But it may be remembered by historians as the date the 44th U.S. President tried to allay the growing fears of a nation and talk tough against terror.

KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has taken his first-ever lead in an early state poll, surging past billionaire Donald Trump to the no. 1 spot in Iowa. 

In a Monmouth University poll released Monday, the Texas senator leads Trump 24 percent to 19 percent among likely caucus-goers. His support in the survey has spiked 14 percentage points since October. 

Photo by flickr.com/photos/theeerin/

This week on the The Ticket 2016: It's the season of the brown envelope. What's in these anonymous packages dropped on a journalist's desk? Pictures, audio, documents…all aimed at discrediting a political candidate. The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott dive into the world of opposition research to break down how these attacks are created and distributed. Plus, we'll have analysis on Chris Christie's recent resurgence in the 2016 race from New Jersey Public Radio's Matt Katz.

Pu Ying-Huang/KUT News

Update 12:30 p.m. Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today that the state was withdrawing its request for a Temporary Restraining Order blocking the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state. Paxton cites the federal government's "provid[ing] additional requested information" about the group of refugees scheduled to arrive in Texas in the coming week as the reason for the withdrawal. The state is still seeking an injunction against the federal government, requiring it to comply with its "statutory duty to consult with Texas in advance of resettling refugees." That's according to the statement Paxton released on his website.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

From the Texas Tribune: Texas has gone to federal court in its efforts to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, filing suit against the federal government and a refugee resettlement nonprofit.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Attorney General Ken Paxton claims the federal government and the International Rescue Committee — one of about 20 private nonprofits that have a state contract to resettle refugees in Texas — are violating federal law by moving forward with the planned resettlement of two Syrian families. One such family is expected to arrive in Texas as soon as Friday.

Texas Tribune, NASA

From the Texas Tribune: While Gov. Greg Abbott hasn't outright called for repeal of the United States' decades-old trade embargo with Cuba, he made clear to Cubans Tuesday that Texas is ready to jump at the business opportunity if it happens. 

Though he said an "honest debate" about abortion in the United States is valid, President Obama, following the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, again called for action on guns.

In his first news conference since Friday's deadly shootings at that Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Obama said Tuesday that Congress, states and local governments will have to act in order to prevent "people who are deranged or have violent tendencies" from getting weapons that can inflect mass casualties.

KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: Ted Cruz on Monday offered a spirited defense of Republicans on women's health issues, accusing Democrats of creating a phony "war on women" based on claims that his party wants to restrict access to birth control.

"The last I checked, we don't have a rubber shortage in America," the GOP presidential candidate said during a town hall here, responding to a question about the availability of contraception to women who want it.


Cecile Richards is walking a fine line: She paints the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as one of many attacks linked to "hateful rhetoric."

She doesn't specifically say that rhetoric motivated the attack Friday in Colorado Springs.

The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America spoke with NPR on Monday morning about the attack that left three people dead: a mother of two children, an Iraq war veteran, a police officer.

The annual presidential turkey pardoning event at the White House, which took place again today, is a peculiar one. Presiding over his sixth one last year, even President Obama seemed confused by it all.

"It is a little puzzling that I do this every year," Obama said, "but I will say that I enjoy it, because with all the tough stuff that swirls around in this office, it's nice once in a while to just say, 'Happy Thanksgiving.' "

Planned Parenthood Sues Texas Over Medicaid Removal

Nov 23, 2015
Tamir Khalifa/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Planned Parenthood’s Texas affiliates on Monday filed a federal lawsuit to keep state health officials from booting them from the state’s Medicaid program.

Following Texas’ announcement in October that it would stop funding any care for poor women at Planned Parenthood clinics — a response to what state officials called “acts of misconduct” revealed in undercover anti-abortion videos — the women’s health organization is asking the courts for a reprieve. 

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for the Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune — A few hundred demonstrators, carrying placards and chanting slogans, rallied outside the Texas Governor’s Mansion Sunday to protest Gov. Greg Abbott’s attempts to block refugees fleeing civil war in Syria from settling in Texas. 

Under the watchful eye of dozens of police, the protesters gathered to criticize what they described as xenophobic and misinformed policies aimed at the war refugees.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The legal case against Rick Perry was back in court Wednesday. The hearing before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals could decide what, if any, charges remain against the former Texas governor.

Gage Skidmore/Texas Tribune

State officials including Governor Greg Abbott continue to push the federal government to stop allowing Syrian refugees in to the country. Some are also trying to figure out how Texas can keep those refugees out of the state.

Image via Flickr/IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the Texas Health & Human Services Commission's Refugee Resettlement Program to not help place Syrian refugees in the state. No one is questioning his ability to block that state program from working with Syrian refugees. But does his power extend to the non-profits that are using federal money to help resettle refugees in Texas?

Screenshot via Fox Business Network

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is promising to eliminate five federal agencies if elected President. That’s a pledge he made in Tuesday night's debate. Shrinking government by closing agencies has been a common refrain among Republican candidates, but in reality, it's really not that easy.

University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll

From Texas Tribune: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and businessman Donald Trump are in a dead heat for the Republican presidential nomination in Texas, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

With four months to go before the March 1 primary, each had the support of 27 percent of likely Republican voters. Surgeon Ben Carson and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida were well back of the leaders at 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

(Updated at 11:32 a.m. ET.)

A federal appeals court in New Orleans dealt President Obama a big blow on Monday when it ruled that Obama had overstepped his legal authority in attempting to shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation.

The Obama administration has vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.