Politics

Politics
4:59 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Black, Latino Groups: It's Our Turn, Mr. President

The National Urban League's Marc Morial (center) joins other civic leaders speaking outside the White House after they met with President Obama last month.
Toby Jorrin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 2:14 pm

After African-American and Latino voters turned out in record numbers to reelect President Obama, leaders for both groups are turning up the pressure on him to return the favor.

They say that minorities, who put aside their disappointments with Obama's first term to support him again, now expect the president to spend his political capital on policies that will help their communities begin to recover from the recession. In the post-election euphoria, some leaders claim, certain voters are saying, "It's our turn."

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LGBT
2:35 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Supreme Court Will Review Two Gay Marriage Cases In 2013

Same-sex marriage proponent Kat McGuckin of Oaklyn, N.J., holds a gay marriage pride flag in front of the Supreme Court Nov. 30, 2012. The court says it will review two cases related to same-sex marriage in 2013.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 7:05 pm

The Supreme Court has decided to take up cases involving California's Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, and a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The justices' rulings on the cases are likely to be announced next June, after arguments are heard in the spring. Advocates on both sides of the issue were welcoming the news.

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Politics
12:41 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Texas Rep. Gohmert Sole Vote to Keep 'Lunatic' in Federal Law

Rep. Gohmert defended the word "lunatic" on the House floor.
gohmert.house.gov

Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to modernize archaic legal language by striking the term “lunatic” from federal law. The measure passed resoundingly, with only one vote against: conservative East Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert.

Former Austin scribe Jennifer Bendery writes for Huffington Post that while Gohmert’s office didn’t expand upon the representative’s vote, his words in the House chamber provided some context:

"To keep spending and not pay the price, that is immoral," Gohmert said. "That's why we shouldn't eliminate the word 'lunatic.' It really has application around this town. … We want to eliminate the word 'lunatic' from the federal code?" Gohmert asked. "That's lunacy."

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Immigration
3:02 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

George W. Bush: 'Benevolent Spirit' Can Guide Debate

Former President George W. Bush speaks at the "topping out" ceremony at the construction site of the George Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University on October 3, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

DALLAS — During his opening remarks Tuesday at a daylong conference on immigration and the economy, former President George W. Bush urged the nation’s leaders to debate immigration reform with compassion and kindness.

In a brief appearance at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Bush did not advocate for a specific solution. But his statements indicated he supports policies similar to those he championed during his presidency, when immigration reform was last debated in Congress.

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Politics
8:33 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Obama Starts His Second Term by Bringing Tougher Talk

President Obama speaks at the National Defense University in Washington on Monday. Since his re-election four weeks ago, Obama is showing signs of a new, more aggressive leadership style.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 11:37 am

Throughout his first term, some of President Obama's critics said he wasn't a tough enough negotiator. They felt he caved to Republicans too early, too often. Since his re-election, Obama has subtly changed his approach. He's bringing a more aggressive style — but some critics say it's not the best way to find common ground.

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Politics
4:00 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

In Judicial Picks, Perry Reaches Past Executive Branch

Gov. Rick Perry (left) and Jeffrey Boyd (right)
Abilene Christian University

Jeffrey Boyd will become the newest Texas Supreme Court justice, an appointment that scrunches the foreheads of Rick Perry critics who think it odd that the governor would name his chief of staff to the state’s highest civil court.

It’s the latest brick in a wall Perry has been building for a dozen years — a period that has seen him appoint 224 Texans to state district and appeals court judgeships.

His hold on the executive branch is well documented and regularly noted; Perry has been in office long enough to twice go through the entire cycle of six-year executive appointments.

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Politics
10:56 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Pick A Number: Let's Play 'Cap Those Deductions'

In the presidential debate on Oct. 16, Mitt Romney presented a hypothetical way to cap deductions and raise revenue.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 7:35 am

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says it's up to congressional Republicans to take the next step in budget talks to avoid the pending automatic spending cuts and tax increases at the end of the year.

Appearing on the Sunday talk shows, Geithner said there's "no path to an agreement" until Republicans are willing to accept higher tax rates on the rich.

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Health
9:55 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Texas Democrats See Path to Medicaid Expansion

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Despite Gov. Rick Perry’s firm opposition to a key tenet of federal health reform — expanding the state’s Medicaid program for those with low incomes — Texas Democrats remain optimistic that the 2013 legislative session can yield a deal that brings in billions in additional federal dollars.

It will be a tough sell: No Republican lawmakers have gone on record supporting the Medicaid expansion, which would add an estimated 1.8 million Texans onto the joint state-federal health plan by 2022.

But state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said fiscal conservatives have an incentive to reach an agreement “because the alternative is going to cost us much more economically and dig a much deeper hole in our budget.”

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Politics
1:51 pm
Sun December 2, 2012

No Deal on Fiscal Cliff Without Tax Increase on Rich, Geithner Says

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, seen here on NBC's Meet the Press on July 10, 2011, took to the Sunday talk shows to make the administration's case on the negotiations over the "fiscal cliff."
William B. Plowman AP

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 1:50 pm

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner took to the Sunday talk shows to push the Obama administration's plan to avert the "fiscal cliff," saying that while he was optimistic about a deal with Republicans, there would be no agreement without an increase in tax rates for the top 2 percent of income earners.

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Politics
1:41 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Obama Back In Campaign Mode; This Time, It's Taxes

President Obama looks over a roller coaster with K'Nex inventor and Chairman Joel Glickman (left) and President and CEO Michael Araten on Friday during a tour of the company in Hatfield, Pa.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 3:07 pm

President Obama is hoping the same campaign tools that helped him win re-election will also deliver a policy win in the fight over federal taxes.

The president wants Congress to extend Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans, while allowing taxes to go up for the wealthiest 2 percent. His aides are using email, social media and beyond-the-Beltway campaign appearances in hopes of putting pressure on Republican lawmakers.

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Politics
4:23 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Dewhurst Says Education Funding May Get A Boost But Provides Few Details

Courtney Collins

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 11:38 am

With less than six weeks until the Texas legislature convenes, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says that he wants to improve the state’s education system -- and that there may be additional money for public education.

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Immigration
12:39 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

An Overture To Latinos, GOP-Controlled House Passes Immigration Bill

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), speaks at the Conservative Political Action conference in February.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 12:44 pm

One of the big questions that arose out of the November general election is how Republicans would pivot to close the astonishing gap in the Latino vote.

Hispanics voted for President Obama instead of Gov. Mitt Romney by a 71-to-27 percent margin. That kind of lopsided result immeditately changed the minds of many Republicans on immigration reform.

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Politics
2:31 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Ambassador Susan Rice is Financially Tied to Keystone XL Pipeline Company

Susan E. Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, attends a U.N. Security Council meeting in August.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 5:47 pm

The United States' ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has been the subject of much criticism from the GOP.

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Politics
1:45 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Ethics Commission Backs Off Investigative Power Plan

Texas Capitol's dome.
Muliadi Soenaryo via Texas Tribune

The Texas Ethics Commission backed away Thursday from a controversial proposal to take certain investigative authority away from the Travis County district attorney’s office, but the agency approved two recommendations aimed at enhancing criminal inquiries of state elected officials.

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2012 Presidential Election
1:28 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Romney To Have Lunch With Obama At The White House Thursday

President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney the last time they got together, at their Oct. 22 presidential debate in Boca Raton, Fla.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 9:55 am

The 2012 presidential contenders will break bread at the White House on Thursday.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney "will have a private lunch at the White House with President Obama in the Private Dining Room," the White House says in a statement sent to reporters. "It will be the first opportunity they have had to visit since the election. There will be no press coverage of the meeting."

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Politics
5:19 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

McCaul to Be Named Chair of Homeland Security Committee

U.S. Rep Michael McCaul (R-Austin)
Ed Schipul Texas Tribune

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, will be named the chairman of the powerful House Committee on Homeland Security later today, Republican sources have confirmed. 

McCaul, who currently chairs the subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management and is also a member of the subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, will replace Congressman Peter King, R-New York, who announced just days ago that he was leaving the post. King has chaired the committee since 2005, the same year the U.S. House granted the committee permanent status. It was created in 2002.

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Politics
3:29 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

In Second Term, Obama Works to Keep Grass Roots From Drying Up

A campaign volunteer wears a button as President Obama speaks at a campaign event in Maumee, Ohio. Now that the election is over, the Obama team is trying to keep supporters engaged in the president's second term.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 4:55 pm

On Wednesday, President Obama will meet with middle-class Americans who will be affected by a tax increase if the country goes over the fiscal cliff. The White House put out a call for their stories last week.

That dialogue with the American people is part of a broader White House effort to keep campaign supporters engaged during Obama's second term. It's a big change from the first term — and it's not an easy undertaking.

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Mexico
10:35 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Peña Nieto's Visit Likely to Focus on Trade, Economy

President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto is meeting with President Barack Obama.
image courtesy Texas Tribune

Mexico’s commitment to security and its strong symbiotic economic ties with the United States will probably be key talking points when the country's next leader visits the White House on Tuesday, according to a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto will meet with President Obama and congressional leaders to discuss the countries’ futures amid a sluggish economy and concerns over transnational violence. Peña Nieto, who won Mexico’s presidential election in July, will take the oath of office Saturday. His victory brings a return to power for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which was in charge for more than 70 years last century. The conservative National Action Party, or PAN, had been in power the last 12 years.

Antonio Garza, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 2002 to 2009 and is now counsel in the Mexico City office of White & Case, said Peña Nieto should stress Mexico’s place in the world as an emerging market.

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Politics
8:01 am
Tue November 27, 2012

GOP Pushback On No-Tax Norquist: Less Than Meets The Eye

Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, speaks on Nov. 5, 2011, in Washington, D.C.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 9:00 am

A handful of congressional Republicans after finishing their Thanksgiving dinners decided to give anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist the brushoff, saying they wouldn't abide by his "no new taxes" pledge as they work on a budget deal.

Breathless coverage ensued.

"Move over, Grover?" read one headline.

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Politics
10:09 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Texas Democrats Gained, if Only a Little, in 2012

Travis County Democratic Party volunteers make calls to voters on Election Day from the coordinated campaign headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Tamir Kalifa via Texas Tribune

Have another look at those election results, you blue bashers. Republicans kept the state reliably red, but theirs was not the party recording gains on Election Day in Texas.

Democrats still do not have any statewide officeholders — and their numbers in those races were dismal. But they held their ground in the state Senate, gained seven seats in the Texas House, split the four new seats in Congress and wrested another one away from the red team. The rebound from the disastrous 2010 election was not dramatic, but a gain is a gain.

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