Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face isn’t a matter of principle

It’s just stupid and self-destructive. Lots of conservative lawmakers hate Obamacare. Rep. Louie Gohmert is putting his money where his mouth is. The Tyler Republican gave up his health insurance for 2014, asserting that the president’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, has made coverage too expensive. “Other people are going to see […]

VRA 2.0

Texas Redistricting: [Thursday] morning, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) introduced proposed amendments to the Voting Rights Act that would rework the section 5 coverage formula invalidated by the Supreme Court in Shelby Co. v. Holder. The text of the bill – styled the Voting Rights Amendment Act […]

Who are these people on our ballot?

The filing deadline is long past, and campaigning for the primary and general election is well underway. Democrats in Harris County have a fairly full complement of legislative candidates this fall, some of whom are better known than others. I thought I’d take a moment to look over the primary ballot list and see what […]

What can we do to get the Universities Line going?

This story is about the opening of the North Line, but it’s also about where Metro goes from here. The opening of the lines won’t spell the end of the construction. To complete the final mile of the East Line, Metro must build an underpass at Harrisburg and 66th Street at the Houston Belt & […]

The 12-candidate pileup in CD36

Steve Stockman’s last-minute switch to the Senate race left a void in CD36 on the Republican side that is being filled by a dozen Stockman wannabes. The Republican primary ballot for the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman was set Monday evening — a week later than expected — with five additional candidates signing […]

More primary thoughts

I wonder if Big John Cornyn will come to rue this interview. BDS: At the kickoff for your reelection campaign in November, Governor Perry said that you are “the epitome of what I look for in a U.S. senator.” He has certainly been embraced by members of the tea party. But in your speech you […]

Final filings: We have a statewide Democrat

Boy, I didn’t see this coming. Longtime Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Lawrence “Larry” Meyers announced Monday that he is leaving the Republican Party to run as a Democrat for the Texas Supreme Court. Meyers, of Fort Worth, filed Monday on the last day of filing to seek Place 6 on the Supreme Court, […]

Filing deadline today

Before I get into the details of who has or hasn’t filed for what, I have a bone to pick with this AP story. Perhaps what the candidate filings reveal most is the relative strength and depth of the political parties in Texas. Four top Republicans are in a fierce battle for lieutenant governor, three […]

It’s still Gene Green’s world

I have three things to say about this story about Rep. Gene Green. The affable, low-key former printer’s apprentice is a legend across his gritty, blue-collar domain along the 54-mile Houston Ship Channel, where he represents the most heavily Hispanic congressional district in the nation that has not elected a Hispanic to Congress. By virtue […]

And then there were three Democrats running for the Senate

This one has run for something before and spent a bunch of money doing it, though he was not very successful at it. Democratic dental center mogul David Alameel has confirmed he will run for the seat held by Texas’ senior senator, joining at least six other hopefuls from both major parties. Alameel said he […]

Fjetland files for Senate

Texas Democrats will have a contested primary for the right to run against Sen. John Cornyn next year. Michael Fjetland, a previous GOP House candidate, has filed as a Democrat to run for the Senate seat held by Texas Sen. John Cornyn. Fjetland, 63, of Houston, said he is not satisfied with the work the […]

Son Of Ortiz/Farenthold?

Maybe. A grudge match could be brewing in South Texas. On Tuesday, the Democrats’ top congressional strategist hinted that he’s been trying to recruit someone to challenge two-term Rep. Blake Farenthold, a tea party Republican from Corpus Christi. Turns out, that person is Solomon Ortiz Jr., a former state representative and son of the longtime […]

Tactics are nice, but turnout is key

The main thing I learned in this story about Wendy Davis’ national connections is that at least one person in the state gets what she will really need to win. “I’m going back home to Texas and walking door to door,” said Brian Stansbury, a lawyer from Texas who has lived in Washington for more […]

Steve Brown confirms he’s in for RRC

It’s official. Late Thursday, Steve Brown, the former chairman of the Fort Bend County Democrats, announced his candidacy to join the three-member Railroad Commission, the powerful agency that regulates the oil and gas industry, pipelines and natural gas utilities. He is vying for the seat now held by Barry Smitherman, who is running for Texas […]

Another way the Affordable Care Act will benefit Texans

Thousands of people in the high-risk pool will get better coverage at lower prices, thanks to Obamacare. At year’s end, Texas will shut down its high-risk insurance pool for some of the state’s sickest residents, pushing participants to find private coverage in the federal health insurance marketplace created under the federal Affordable Care Act. And […]

Steve Stockman does something I support

I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, has recently backed a bill to require federal officials to comply with state marijuana laws, which was introduced in April and has since garnered support from Congressmen on both sides of the aisle. The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013, introduced […]

Redistricting trial set for July

The San Antonio federal court has set a date in July of 2014 to resolve the litigation relating to the 2011 and 2013 redistrictings. A federal three-judge panel in San Antonio on Friday issued a schedule for the case, mostly granting state attorneys’ wishes to have the claims regarding 2011 and 2013 redistricting maps argued in one […]

Endorsement watch: Pennington

The Chron endorses CM Oliver Pennington for a third term. For the past four years, District G has been ably represented by attorney Oliver Pennington. We recommend a vote for Pennington to continue his service at city hall. Pennington, a retired Fulbright & Jaworski partner and 40-year District G resident, brings decades of invaluable experience […]

Why the Affordable Care Act will make a real difference to many people

This is what it’s all about. The following was written by a good friend of mine, who has been eagerly awaiting October 1 and the opening of the insurance exchanges. I asked him to write about his experience with getting insurance via the exchange. This is his first installment: I am in my late 40′s, […]

Court rules DOJ can intervene in 2011 redistricting case

Texas Redistricting: The San Antonio court entered an order [Tuesday] allowing the Justice Department into the Texas redistricting case as an intervenor. In somewhat of a surprise, however, the decision was 2-1, with Circuit Judge Jerry Smith dissenting. The court majority – consisting of Judge Orlando Garcia and Judge Xavier Rodriguez – ruled that the […]

The tab for the redistricting fight

The bill is coming due. Civil rights groups are now contending that since the 2011 maps were never used and ultimately were altered by a court that they are entitled to be reimbursed for money spent fighting [Attorney General Greg] Abbott in the case. They’ve asked a federal judge to make the state pay $6.2 […]

DeLay gets off

Bummer. Former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay’s political money laundering conviction was overturned by the state’s 3rd Court of Appeals on Thursday. “Based on the totality of the evidence, we conclude that the evidence presented does not support a conclusion that DeLay committed the crimes that were charged,” the judges ruled. “The fundamental problem with the […]

The obstacles to enrollment

The Affordable Care Act could have a big effect in Houston if the people who would benefit by it can be informed about it and assisted as needed. Houston, with an estimated 800,000 uninsured residents, ranks among the nation’s largest cities with the highest number of working poor residents – many of whom could be […]

More views of Abbott’s Section 3 brief

Texas Redistricting: Claim: It’s Just Partisan Politics Attorney General Abbott’s second claim is in many ways even more fundamental because it gets to the heart of what the Voting Rights Act is supposed to do. That claim asserts that: [R]edistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the […]

Metro gets more money

Good news. Congress has appropriated $189 million for two of our light-rail lines – the North/Red Line extension and the Southeast/Purple Line. Each line will receive $94.5 million. The funds are part of the $900 million Full Funding Grant Agreements signed by federal officials in November 2011. METRO Board Chairman Gilbert Garcia called this appropriation vital. “This […]

Texas really needs Obamacare

We’ve always known that Texas would be a huge beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act because of our huge volume of uninsured people, but this quantifies it in a way that really brings it home. Texas is home to more than two-thirds of the nation’s 30 counties most in need of expanded health insurance coverage, […]

SJL for DHS?

That sound you heard Monday was a bunch of heads exploding. Conservative bloggers went wild Monday when they got wind of the Congressional Black Caucus’ suggestion that President Obama pick Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston for the post of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Rich Cooper, avid blogger for Security Debrief, responded […]

More leftover campaign cash

The Chron writes about a subject I’ve covered before. Former Rep. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs of Houston used leftover campaign funds to buy a life membership in the National Rifle Association. Former Rep. Martin Frost of Dallas paid a $6,000 Federal Election Commission fine. Former Rep. Tom DeLay of Sugar Land hired a media consultant. And former […]

Redistricting plaintiffs go for Section 3

It’s a brand new world out there. Minority-rights groups are charting “new territory” in the fight against Texas’ redistricting plan, using a provision of the Voting Rights Act that cites discriminatory intent as part of an effort to maintain federal oversight of the state’s congressional maps. The NAACP and the League of United Latin American […]

Redistricting tango continues in San Antonio

More to the point, the redistricting litigation continues, at least for the time being. A panel of federal judges denied the state’s request to dismiss the case, though they left open the possibility that they could do that later. And they asked lawyers to file briefs on what should happen next. Attorneys for parties objecting […]

The 2011 maps are officially dead

Rick Perry has signed the redistricting bills, thus making the 2012 interim maps the official state-sanctioned maps and thus dropping any further pursuit of the maps drawn by the 2011 Lege. On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry signed all three redistricting bills that lawmakers sent to him. With his signature, Perry set the district boundaries for […]

Last redistricting bill passes Senate, House debates abortion bills

It was destiny. The Texas Senate on Sunday wrapped up final redistricting loose ends by concurring with changes made by the House to political boundaries for the lower chamber. In an 18-11 vote, the Senate signed off on a series of small tweaks to the House maps — changes that swap a couple of precincts […]

House passes redistricting and abortion bills

Texas Redistricting: The House has passed SB 3, the redistricting bill for the state house map, on third and final reading. There was one last floor amendment today offered by State Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas), which moved Rose’s mother and a few other hundred voters into her district from HD 109 where they had been […]

House passes redistricting bills

They accepted a couple of amendments but otherwise the process wasn’t much different from the Senate or the House committee. A daylong debate on redistricting maps in the Texas House drew frustration from Democrats and growing concern from Republicans on Thursday as House leaders agreed to some amendments to one of the maps. Gov. Rick […]