Politics

Politics
5:10 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Water Plan Will Get Funded, but How Much Is Unclear

Ninety percent of Texas is in a drought as of this week.
U.S. Drought Monitor

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says there’s no choice about funding the state’s water plan, but he’s less specific on how much to spend. Yesterday State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Abilene, supported a proposal to spend $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund.

Today, Dewhurst told KUT News’ political reporting partner the Texas Tribune that he doesn’t know how much to invest.

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Guns
2:48 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Democrats Unveil Bill To Ban Assault-Style Weapons

Semi-automatic assault-style rifles on display at a gun show in Chantilly, Va., in 2009.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:16 am

As they said they would following the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Democrats today unveiled legislation that would ban assault-style weapons.

The lead lawmaker, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, has summed up the legislation's key points this way:

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Politics
1:32 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

United Nations Launches Investigation Into U.S. Drone Program

President Obama's use of drones, and his direct involvement in who they target, has both U.S. and international communities questioning the administration's secret drone policy.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:43 pm

The United Nations' special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism launched an investigation Thursday into the United States' targeted killing program.

Ben Emmerson, from Britain, will lead the inquiry, which will focus on the civilian effect of the program as well, as the legal framework governing drone attacks.

Reuters explains:

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Politics
12:33 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Will Marijuana Laws in Other States Prompt Change in Texas?

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune / Mateusz Atroszko, Texas Tribune

A veteran lawmaker hopes actions taken by state legislatures in Washington and Colorado will pave the way for Texas policymakers to consider a bill that hasn’t been heard in committee in nearly a decade.

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Politics
7:10 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Combat? Reaction Of Many Women In Military Is 'Been There, Done That'

Hospital Corpsman Shannon Crowley, with a Marine Corps. Female Engagement Team, in Musa Qala, Afghanistan, in November 2010.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:44 pm

  • Tom Bowman reporting for the NPR Newscast
  • From 'Morning Edition': The news on women in combat

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET: Saying that American men and women are "fighting and dying together and the time has come for our policies to recognize that reality," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed Thursday afternoon that the Pentagon's rule banning women from combat positions is being rescinded.

Panetta said that as the Pentagon works through how to implement the change, the goal will be to "eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service."

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Politics
5:05 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Education Budget-Building Begins

Budget hearings continue today at the Capitol.
Lizzie Chen, KUT News

When the House and Senate filed base budgets last week, advocates for programs that were cut in 2011, including public education, were upset the budgets didn’t restore funding. Lawmakers countered that the budget was expected to grow.

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Politics
4:28 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Luck of the Draw: Watson, Campbell Among Senators Required to Run Again in 2014

State Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) pulls a number that determines whether she serves a two or four-year term.
Ben Philpott, KUT News

Legislative redistricting meant all Texas senators had to run for office in 2012. But since the Senate has staggered four-year terms, it had to pick about half of its members to run again two years from now.

Five senators now represent some part of Travis and Williamson counties. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, and Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, each got four-year terms. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, and Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, got two-year terms.

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Politics
11:55 am
Wed January 23, 2013

House Passes GOP's Debt-Ceiling Plan; Senate Democrats Offer Their Support

The House of Representatives (Jan. 3 file photo).
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 1:01 pm

Update at 1:25 p.m. ET: By a vote of 285-144, the House just passed a Republican plan that postpones for three months the federal government's next bump up against the so-called debt ceiling.

As we said earlier, the measure would head off another big battle over raising the government's borrowing authority — such as the one in 2011 that almost led to a government shutdown.

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Politics
11:16 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Beyonce-gate: National Anthem May Have Been Both Live & Taped

Pat Benic DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 10:47 am

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Politics
8:14 am
Wed January 23, 2013

As Hillary Clinton Testifies, How Will Libya Shape Her Legacy?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 2:34 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Michele Kelemen reports

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET. Clinton Testifies Before House Committee:

One of the defining moments of Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state was her strong advocacy for U.S. military intervention that helped oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

But as she prepared to step down from the post, she faced a grilling from Republicans in both the House and the Senate over what went wrong in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, when four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

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Guns
3:39 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Amid Bills and Debate, Another Campus Shooting

Some argue that allowing guns would improve campus safety
Texas Tribune

News of multiple gunshot victims at the North Houston campus of Lone Star College on Tuesday will likely weigh heavily on the minds of Texas lawmakers as they prepare to consider multiple bills relating to campus safety.

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Politics
10:19 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Inauguration Wrap-Up: Bring on the Weirdness

President Obama was sworn in Monday amidst a flurry of activity
flickr.com/jeffreylowy/

Inauguration day is a day of pomp and circumstance. It’s when the president assumes the position of Commander-in-Chief to resounding applause and throngs of admirers. For some presidents it’s a breeze. Yet, even on his second go of an inauguration, President Barack Obama still managed to draw a frenzy of action, insanity, and triviality to accompany his second Oath of Office.

Obama’s speech clocked-in at just over 2,400 words, which was almost equal to his 2008 word count (but nowhere near as brief as George Washington’s second inauguration at 135-words). But for Obama's second inauguration, the weirdness ran long.

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2013 Presidential inauguration
4:55 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

First Family Stays the Course on Inaugural Fashion

First lady Michelle Obama arrives at the Senate carriage entrance for the presidential inauguration ceremonies at the U.S Capitol.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 12:24 pm

Update at 9:05 p.m. ET Michelle Obama's Dress

NBC News is reporting that the first lady is wearing a custom Jason Wu ruby-colored chiffon and velvet gown, Jimmy Choo shoes and a ring by Kimberly McDonald to the Commander in Chief Ball. The White House said that the outfit and accompanying accessories will go to the National Archives at the end of the inaugural events.

Our original post:

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Politics
2:35 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

In Address, Obama Begins Setting Second Term Agenda

President Obama gives his inaugural address after taking the oath of office Monday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 7:59 pm

President Obama began his second term with an unapologetically liberal inaugural address, calling on Americans to work together to preserve entitlements, address climate change and extend civil rights.

"Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play," the president said. "Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune."

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Politics
6:17 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Join Us For Coverage Of Inauguration Day; Here's The Schedule

Souvenirs are available in Washington, D.C., as the city celebrates the inauguration.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 9:32 am

Good morning.

Though he and the vice president have already taken their oaths of office, President Obama is due this noon to stand outside the Capitol for his ceremonial swearing in and then to deliver his second inaugural address.

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