I know, I’m as shocked as you are.
For nearly two decades, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison delivered thousands of federal projects to Texas that added billions of dollars to the state’s economy.
The leader of a bipartisan approach known as “Team Texas,” Hutchison worked with Democrats and Republicans to send federal dollars to Texas, even if it occasionally got her in trouble with spending hawks in her party.
Now, in Hutchison’s absence, Texans in Washington are struggling to come up with a unified strategy to return Texas taxpayers’ dollars to the Lone Star State.
“On appropriations, she was just relentless,” said Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston. “We’re certainly going to miss her. We haven’t seen the full impact of Sen. Hutchison’s departure.”
Complicating matters for Texas is that Hutchison, a specialist in back-room negotiations and bipartisan relationship-building, was replaced by Ted Cruz, a hard-charging partisan who has focused primarily on high-profile national issues such as guns, abortion and health care.
He also has vowed to balance the federal budget by cutting government spending, even in his home state.
“The departure of Sen. Hutchison, the ascendancy of Cruz as a national leader and the current budget crunch all combine to form a perfect storm that will result in less money coming back to Texas for the foreseeable future,” said Matt Mackowiak, a Republican political strategist and former aide to Hutchison.
Members of the congressional delegation, business leaders and Texas academics say the most endangered projects include federal spending on education, health care and transportation, in which the end of earmarks has shifted decision-making power over spending to officials of the Obama administration.
“Texas conservatives, in both the House and Senate, seem not to realize that you cannot both be the core of the opposition to administration programs and the frequent beneficiary of administration largesse,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.
In other news, water is wet, the sun rises in the east, and hitting yourself on the head with a hammer causes headaches. Ted Cruz is doing what he said he would do. If we don’t like it, it’s on us to do something about it in 2018. I don’t think there’s anything more I can add to this.