Quorum Report News Clips

March 26, 2017: All Newsclips

Early Morning - March 26, 2017

State Stories

San Antonio Express News - March 25, 2017

Nursing homes joust over fee proposal: ‘Granny tax’ or funding lifeline?

Nursing homes that are stretched thin as they care for Medicaid residents are asking lawmakers to approve a fee on their facilities that would allow Texas to get hundreds of millions of matching federal dollars to boost their low reimbursements. But the idea has generated a backlash from nursing homes that serve private-pay patients and object to paying the proposed assessment, which they call a “granny tax.” Their private-pay patients are outside Medicaid, and the homes aren’t confident of promises that they’ll be otherwise repaid for their share of the fees that would trigger more Medicaid dollars. “I have no guarantee under this legislation that once I pay this tax that we will be reimbursed,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Chip Utterback, president and CEO of the not-for-profit Blue Skies of Texas in San Antonio, whose residents are mainly military retirees and are private-pay.

Houston Chronicle - March 25, 2017

18 Texas sheriffs step up to replace Harris County in Trump's deportation push

Ed Gonzalez, Harris County's newly-elected sheriff, has ended a special enforcement partnership with federal immigration officials, but at least 18 other mostly rural and suburban Texas sheriffs have now proposed to help the Trump administration aggressively deport immigrants in the country illegally. Gonzalez announced last month that he no longer would fund a team of 10 specially trained deputies at a cost of about $675,000 a year who worked at the Harris County Jail helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement identify detainees who might be subject to deportation. He said he will continue cooperating with federal immigration authorities and maintain an office and ICE computers for its continued use. But even as he ended the contract program known as "Secure Communities," sheriffs in Galveston, Brazoria, Tarrant, Waller and other counties have expressed interest in the same type of enforcement partnership under section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that Harris County had relinquished.

Houston Chronicle - March 25, 2017

Hackers increase attacks on energy sector computers

Reports released this past week by U.S. security officials and private cybersecurity researchers suggest hacking of energy facility computers is on the rise, and happens far more often than the public assumes. The Department of Homeland Security said it received reports of 59 cyber incidents at energy facilities last year, up nearly a third from the year before. The agency responsible for protecting the nation from cybercrime said it worked to mitigate 290 incidents last year across more than a dozen industries that rely on computer controls to run industrial sites, including manufacturing sites, power generation facilities, refineries, chemical plants and nuclear facilities.

Houston Chronicle - March 24, 2017

HC: Our children -- The Legislature most address real issues affecting young Texans and not waste time.

What happens to a society that ignores its obligation to nurture and educate its children? A recent Brookings Institution study suggests that those same children run the risk of growing up to be a lost generation - a generation without skills, without hope, without a bright future. Conducted by Princeton professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton, the study found a shocking rise in the proportion of working-class white Americans dying in middle age. White men with less than a high school degree, with few skills and even fewer job opportunities, are succumbing to deaths by drugs, alcohol and suicide. The authors call this disturbing phenomenon "deaths of despair." At first glance it may seem something of a stretch to link so-called deaths of despair to the choices Texas lawmakers are making as the legislative session approaches its home stretch, and yet the Lone Star State is home to a number of disturbing characteristics we ignore at our peril.

Houston Chronicle - March 25, 2017

Cervantes: Texas Legislature off to a slow start

Last week, the Texas Legislature passed the halfway mark of its 85th session, leaving two months to get bills through both chambers and to the governor's desk before they leave Austin. At the start of the session, in January, Gov. Greg Abbott listed four emergency items — ethics reform, a Child Protective Services overhaul, preparing Texas for a Constitutional convention, and banning so-called "sanctuary cities" — which lawmakers could consider in an expedited manner. The Senate since has passed bills dealing with all of Abbott's requests, but the House has gotten off to a slower start. To date, House lawmakers have passed two measures aimed at reforming CPS, while the other items remain in committees.

Houston Chronicle - March 24, 2017

Falkenberg: At some public bathrooms, no debate, no signs, no worries

Just before sunset on a recent Sunday, a family friend and I finished drinks and tacos at an open-air Heights lounge called Eight Row Flint. After we said our goodbyes, I ducked into the restroom before heading home. Inside, a man and a woman stood next to each other at the sinks. Three white doors, none of them marked, led to the toilets. Then a waitress popped her head in to hand me a $20 bill my friend had forgotten to give me for Girl Scout cookies. He assumed he couldn't deliver it himself. The novelty of the situation required discussion. I rushed out to fetch John. "Come back," I called. "I want to show you something." He complied with some hesitancy, and seconds later, we stood there, side by side, male and female, and the world did not end.

Dallas Morning News - March 24, 2017

A&M student backed by Rick Perry claims he may have lost election because he's 'heterosexual, white, Christian'

Days after former Gov. Rick Perry questioned the outcome of his alma mater's election for student body president, the losing student said he's considering suing, claiming he might have lost because he's a "heterosexual, white Christian male." Robert McIntosh, the son of prominent Dallas-based GOP fundraiser Alison McIntosh, won the most votes in Texas A&M University's recent election for student body president. But he was disqualified after the student court ruled that he had not filed the proper paperwork for donated glow sticks used in a campaign video. So the victory went to Bobby Brooks, who became the traditionally conservative university's first openly gay student body president.

Dallas Morning News - March 24, 2017

New details emerge from rape survey of UT students

The University of Texas has released what officials are calling "the nation's most comprehensive study on sexual assaults ever conducted in higher education," a systemwide survey of 28,000 students' experiences with stalking, harassment and sexual violence. "We're not going to run from this. We're not going to hide from this. We're going to take it head on, and we are going to address all of these issues," UT System Chancellor William McRaven said Friday after the Dallas Regional Chamber's 2017 State of Higher Education luncheon. "We want to drive to zero. And I've had folks say, 'You're not going to get to zero.'

Dallas Morning News - March 24, 2017

Ragland: Rape at UT is just a mirror of society's silence about sexual violence

Once you get over the shocking revelation that 15 percent of University of Texas female undergrads say they've been raped, permit yourself to ask an unpleasant, yet unavoidable question: Why am I surprised? The rape culture that has evolved at one of the nation's largest institutions of higher education is, for better or worse, a microcosm of the sexual violence that's permeating society at large. Roughly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. has been raped, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. What more evidence do we need that this epidemic extends far beyond celebrated athletes and hedonistic frat houses?

Dallas Morning News - March 24, 2017

Lawmakers coming up woefully short on pre-K funding

Gov. Greg Abbott deserves credit for making early-childhood education a priority in the last session, where he pushed lawmakers to add $118 million in grants to improve pre-K. He asked lawmakers this year to approve $236 million for the next two years. The Senate's budget never came close to that amount. But even that small sum for a grant was zeroed out entirely in the financial package sent to the Senate floor. Instead, SB1 provides $65 million over two years for pre-K public-private partnerships, with few details on how they would work. The House plan relegates the $235 million over two years to a "wish list" that might be considered later. That's not good enough. The stakes are too high.

Texas Tribune - March 24, 2017

Stockman says he'll be vindicated as lawyers brush off "deep state" blame

Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, said Friday he will be vindicated in the conspiracy case against him, while his lawyers brushed off the suggestion a "deep state" shadow government was behind his arrest. "We're not here to prove conspiracy theories," Shaun Clarke, a lawyer for Stockman, told reporters. "We're here to vindicate an innocent man, Steve Stockman, and that's what we're going to do." After an initial court appearance a week ago, Stockman had reportedly blamed his arrest on the "deep state," a term used to describe political enemies in the federal bureaucracy that has gained prominence under President Donald Trump.

Texas Tribune - March 25, 2017

U.S. Reps. Hurd, Castro rally for bipartisanship on the border

In sweltering heat, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd and the mayors of the border towns of Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña held hands — presumably sweaty ones — with residents from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border on Saturday. It was a gesture they hoped would represent the unity and interdependency between their cities. About 150 people joined Hurd and the mayors in a “bilingual, binational, bipartisan” rally at the International Bridge, which connects both towns, in an event during which the Helotes Republican reaffirmed his position against President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Texas Tribune - March 24, 2017

Liquor regulators acknowledge Rangers haven't cleared them

After state liquor regulators got hit with a complaint last year that it violated its own rules when it served alcohol without a permit at a state convention, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said it conducted a thorough investigation, determined no permits were needed and then forwarded its findings to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers, in turn, decided no further action was warranted, TABC officials claimed. That story fell apart on Friday. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission now acknowledges the Rangers never got the investigative report, and the Ranger who interacted with the agency called the agency’s assertion a “mistake.”

Texas Tribune - March 26, 2017

At feisty town hall, Culberson stays course on Obamacare repeal

A day after House Republicans' efforts to repeal Obamacare collapsed, U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, did not back away from the GOP's years-long push to scrap the law. "The only way to fix it is to replace it," Culberson said before a rowdy town hall audience of several hundred people, some of them chanting "Fix it!" In an interview before the town hall, Culberson confirmed that he would have voted yes on the American Health Care Act, which House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled from the floor Friday when it became clear there was not enough support for it. Culberson said the legislation would have "repealed about 70 percent of Obamacare, and that's good enough for me."

Texas Tribune - March 24, 2017

State lawmakers concerned over TABC expenditures, antiquated alcohol laws

After learning of lavish out-of-state trips by high-ranking officials at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, two state lawmakers expressed concern about the expenditures and said they looked forward to questioning the state’s liquor regulators. The comments came in the wake of Friday’s Texas Tribune report about numerous taxpayer-funded junkets agency honchos took to resorts as far away as Honolulu to attend meetings of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators. And before their 2015 jaunt to San Diego, top agency officials helped create a boozy graphic — during work hours — depicting the trip.

Austin American-Statesman - March 24, 2017

First Reading: `When Trump says something, I believe him.’ On telephone town hall, Congressman John Carter is all in with Trump.

U.S. Rep. John Carter, the rock-ribbed Round Rock Republican, had an hour-long telephone town hall Wednesday night from his Capitol office. I listened on my lap top. Telephone town halls are very convenient for members of Congress. In the midst of all that’s going on in Washington, members can reach thousands of constituents by conference call and answer a handful of questions without ever leaving their office. Better yet, they canscreen the questions, and avoid a messy, boisterous scene, like that which confronted his Texas colleague Pete Sessions Saturday and headlines like this in the Texas Tribune: U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions faces rowdy town hall. Addressing over 2,000 people, Sessions was frequently drowned out by boos and angry outbursts from the audience. Many of his answers were not entirely audible due to the crowd’s reaction as he began to speak.

Austin American-Statesman - March 25, 2017

Straus says tapping Rainy Day fund more responsible than Senate plan

House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, said Friday that modestly tapping the state’s Rainy Day Fund is a far more fiscally responsible path than what he considers an irresponsible budget gimmick the Texas Senate is using to balance its budget. Straus, speaking with University of Texas lecturer James Henson, said that the Senate plan to defer making a $2.5 billion payment for transportation funding into a later fiscal year is what former U.S. Sen. Majority Leader Howard Baker would have called a “riverboat gamble.” “You have to come back and make up that money,” he said, and there is no guarantee the economy in two years will be strong enough to make that a comfortable prospect.

Austin American-Statesman - March 25, 2017

Timmerman: Full reservoirs and more good news from the LCRA

Last year Mother Nature brought abundant rains to Central Texas, refilling the Travis and Buchanan water supply reservoirs on the Colorado River. As chair of the LCRA Board of Directors, I am grateful to the talented men and women of LCRA who successfully managed the water supply for over 1 million Texans through the drought and the flooding rains that followed. I’m proud to say the full reservoirs are just one of many good news stories LCRA is able to share today. Following several years of work with many stakeholders, we obtained state approval in November 2015 for a new water management plan that allows LCRA to more quickly adapt its operations as water supply conditions change. That adaptability is key in the lower Colorado River basin, where we’ve been known to experience droughts and floods in the same year.

Austin American-Statesman - March 25, 2017

Straus calls bathroom bill ‘contrived’ answer to ‘manufactured’ problem

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said that Senate Bill 6, the transgender bathroom bill, is a “contrived” answer to a “manufactured” problem that could, for no good purpose, undermine Texas’ extraordinary success as a magnet for job creators. The speaker said he sees “no fervor” in the House to bring the legislation to the floor. “I‘m not saying that it wouldn’t pass if it were pushed on them, the members,” Straus, a Republican, said in a live-streamed interview Friday with Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas. Henson noted that the bill, championed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, isn’t a priority for Straus. “I’ve gone further than saying it’s not a priority,” Straus said. “I oppose it.”

Austin American-Statesman - March 24, 2017

Appeals court upholds Texas cigarette tax

Dismissing a lawsuit filed by small tobacco companies, an Austin-based appeals court ruled Friday that state regulators could impose a special tax on cigarette makers that weren’t part of a multibillion-dollar settlement reached with Big Tobacco in the late 1990s. The ruling by the 3rd Court of Appeals upheld a 2013 state law that placed a 55-cent-per-pack fee on cigarettes not manufactured by the large companies that settled lawsuits filed by Texas and other states over allegations of deceptive advertising and marketing to children. Under the settlement, the six Big Tobacco companies pay Texas about $500 million per year, and lawmakers levied the tax to recover smoking-related health care costs from other manufacturers.

Austin American-Statesman - March 25, 2017

Phillips: Abbott’s Texas stomps local governments

Welcome to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Texas, where the state bullies local governments to bend to its will and strangles efforts of local people to govern themselves. That sounds surreal — but it is not a stretch if Abbott gets his way. The Texas Tribune reported last week that Abbott is proposing a “rifle-shot” law to pre-empt regulations of cities and counties that run counter to the GOP’s agenda for Texas. Such an approach would wreck the current democratic process in which the Legislature publicly debates local ordinances before either validating them or striking them down. Here is what Abbott told the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute, an Austin-based think tank, during a Q&A session at the group’s meeting in Corpus Christi:

Austin American-Statesman - March 23, 2017

Walsh, Haurwitz: Is the Texas Senate balancing its budget on the back of higher ed?

Facing a tight budget outlook and unwilling to raise taxes or tap a multibillion-dollar rainy day fund, state Senate Republicans looking for areas to make big cuts have hit a wall in almost every major spending category. Most health care funding is tied up in federal mandates. Significant cuts to K-12 education funding would be politically untenable. The Department of Public Safety is bolstered by the GOP dedication to border security spending. The state’s public colleges and universities, however, appear to be an easier target.

Ft. Worth Star-Telegram - March 25, 2017

Kennedy: Texas’ ‘bathroom bill’ is just Dan Patrick’s newest show

Dan Patrick warned us. More than 30 years ago, when he quit as a showboat Houston TV sports anchor, he told Texas Monthly he left to make more money and “I see no reason why I couldn’t be president.” At that point, he was known mainly for a five-year stint on Houston’s worst-rated TV newscast, where he ripped his shirt off on-air, let cheerleaders paint his chest, and reported in silly hats or holding animal mascots. In 1984, he quit after new owners told him not to make fun of stars Michael Jackson and Boy George, or their makeup. When Patrick left, he ran Houston newspaper ads saying that while others “have forgotten the public, I have not.” But he told Texas Monthly his viewers were “very unsophisticated, unpolished.”

Ft. Worth Star-Telegram - March 24, 2017

FWST: Abbott would toss out local laws, impose state control

With local control under fire from the Texas Legislature on issues ranging from ride-sharing to home-sharing to bathroom-sharing, maybe what Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday should not have come as a surprise. But it did. During a question-and-answer session at a conservative forum in Corpus Christi, Abbott said lawmakers should quit messing around with this issue-by-issue, law-by-law approach and just pass a bill that says the state will overrule local officials whenever it wants. In his words, first reported by The Texas Tribune: “As opposed to the state having to take multiple rifle-shot approaches at overriding local regulations, I think a broad-based law by the state of Texas that says across the board, the state is going to pre-empt local regulations, is a superior approach.” It takes awhile for that to sink in.

KERA - March 24, 2017

Prayer Rooms Are Just One Way Public Schools Accommodate Students And Religious Freedom

A classroom used as a prayer room at Liberty High School in Frisco got the attention of the Texas attorney general’s office last week. The office sent a letter raising constitutional concerns about the room. The Frisco superintendent called the letter a "publicity stunt" and said the prayer room has been in use for several years without complaints. Prayer rooms are just one way public schools in Frisco and across Texas accommodate students and religion. Tim Boyer was so unhappy about the prayer room at Liberty High that he went to this week’s Frisco school board meeting and spoke his mind.

Rio Grande Guardian - March 23, 2017

Terry Canales: South Texas is not a War Zone, it’s a Trade Zone

State Rep. Terry Canales has explained why he is introducing a House Concurrent Resolution celebrating international trade on March 30, Rio Grande International Trade Day at the state Capitol. The Edinburg legislator says he is not sure enough legislators understand the significance trade with Mexico has on the Texas economy. He said he will work to get legislators from across the state to sign on as a co-sponsor of his Resolution. “Unfortunately, the way South Texas has been painted is a mis-characterization of who we are. We have done our best to try to educate the Legislature that South Texas is not a war zone, it is a trade zone. And that international trade is the driving economic force of the region,” Canales said.

City Stories

Austin American-Statesman - March 25, 2017

Hundreds rally at Capitol for public education

Hundreds gathered at the Capitol on Saturday morning to rally for Texas public schools. The rally, organized by the nonpartisan coalition Save Texas Schools and the advocacy group Austin Voices For Education and Youth, called for more money from the Legislature for public schools in Texas. Speakers included state Sen. Kirk Watson and state Rep. Gina Hinojosa, both Austin Democrats. “The Texas school finance system is broken, but our schools are not broken,” said Watson, the former Austin mayor who represents parts of Travis County. “Imagine what teachers and school officials could do for our kids if we actually provided our schools with the resources they need to help students thrive in the 21st century.”

Austin American-Statesman - March 24, 2017

Austin job growth eased in 2016, but just to a more sustainable sprint

The latest revisions to last year’s workforce data confirmed that Austin-area employers added jobs at a much faster rate than initially reported — but also that its growth eased from the sizzling pace of the prior four years and has remained on that more modest trajectory through the start of 2017. The number of jobs in the Austin metro area rose 3.3 percent in 2016, according to revised data released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. That was a tick higher than the initial revision released two weeks ago, and far higher than the preliminary 1.9 percent growth rate reported back in January. The new data show Central Texas employers continued to add jobs fast enough to easily absorb the region’s population growth, and payrolls continued to expand far faster than in most U.S. metro areas.

National Stories

Associated Press - March 25, 2017

Pence says Trump will keep promise of overhauling Affordable Care Act

Vice President Mike Pence said that President Donald Trump intends to keep his promise to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, pledging that the legislation’s collapse Friday was a setback that “won’t last very long.” “President Trump is never going to stop fighting to keep his promises to the American people,” Pence said during an appearance in Scott Depot, West Virginia, where he blamed Democrats and “a handful of Republicans” for standing in the president’s way. House Republican leaders pulled the bill Friday that they had unveiled just 18 days earlier after it became clear that there was not enough buy-in from both conservative and moderate lawmakers in the party.

This article appeared in the San Antonio Express News

Washington Post - March 26, 2017

New research finds the U.S. may not need a wall to keep immigrants out

The White House is already moving forward with its plan to construct a massive wall along the southern border of the country. But new research suggests the influx of low-skilled immigrants is already dropping, as forces that are far more powerful than a wall act to keep immigrants out. In a new paper, economists at the University of California at San Diego argue one of the main factors boosting immigration to the United States from Latin America in recent decades — a growing supply of workers in Latin American countries — has already dried up. The paper looks at changes in economic conditions, border enforcement and demographics in the United States and Latin America to try to isolate the factors that encourage people to migrate. It finds a strong relationship between the number of people born in Latin American and Caribbean countries and the percent change in immigrants to the United States between 1980 and 2015.

Chatanooga Times Free Press - March 22, 2017

Tennessee transgender bathroom bill fails in Senate panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A bill to require students at public schools and colleges in Tennessee to use restrooms and locker rooms matching the gender listed their birth certificates failed in a Senate committee on Wednesday without debate. Sen. Mae Beavers, a Mt. Juliet Republican who announced this week that she is exploring a bid for governor in 2018, failed to a receive a motion from any member of the Senate Education Committee. The lack of a motion effectively kills the bill. events away from North Carolina, and businesses such as PayPal decided not to expand in the state. In November, Republican Pat McCrory, who signed and defended the bill, became the only incumbent governor to lose in the general election.

Associated Press - March 26, 2017

New anxieties as Trump says Obamacare will 'explode'

Americans who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act are feeling some relief at the failure of Republican efforts to repeal it, but they face new anxieties with President Donald Trump tweeting that "ObamaCare will explode." Premiums have risen and major insurers have backed out of the state markets where people can buy insurance online under Obama's signature health care law. But people who say it saved their lives or helped them start a business want lawmakers to fix these problems, not encourage them. "It does need its fixes, I totally see that," said Inge Hafkemeyer, 57, who credits the law's subsidies for containing her costs as her home-based event-planning business took off in Mission, Kansas, a Kansas City suburb. "But if your roof leaks, you don't burn down the house to fix it."

This article appeared in the San Antonio Express News

The Hill - March 26, 2017

Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health bill

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) quickly declared victory on Friday, praising conservatives for "standing up against ObamaCare Lite." “I applaud House conservatives for keeping their word to the American people,” Paul said in a statement. Republican leaders pulled their bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare on Friday afternoon, acknowledging that it was headed toward defeat. Paul — who has been a top antagonist of the House bill — added that "I look forward to passing full repeal of ObamaCare in the very near future.”

Politico - March 26, 2017

Poll: Majority of Americans want independent commission to investigate Trump-Russia ties

Most Americans do not support President Donald Trump’s proposed spending cuts, and a majority think that an independent commission should investigate possible links between Trump campaign members and the Russian government, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Friday. According to the poll, which surveyed 1,056 voters nationwide from March 16-21, 66 percent of respondents said they wanted an independent commission to investigate the links between Trump campaign advisers and the Russian government, compared to 29 percent who did not think so. Sixty-five percent of respondents think alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is either “very important” or “somewhat important,” and 63 percent said they were “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about Trump’s relationship with Russia.

Politico - March 26, 2017

Ryan wounded by health care fiasco

The painful public collapse Friday of Paul Ryan's biggest endeavor as House speaker — legislation to unwind the Democratic health care law he and his party spent years castigating as a disaster — dealt a serious blow to the Wisconsin Republican. But as embarrassing a setback as this was — Obamacare is here to stay "for the foreseeable future," Ryan conceded — he isn't going anywhere. No one is prepared to challenge Ryan for his job, said GOP lawmakers from across the Republican Conference. While some right-wing media and outside groups are agitating to replace the speaker, and his antagonists on the White House staff needle him anonymously in the press, there is no way he will be ousted.

New York Times - March 24, 2017

Who Stopped the Republican Health Bill?

33 Republicans who would not budge from their decisions to vote “no” on the health care bill were key to causing its collapse. They can be divided into three broad categories: They were united in their resistance to the bill, but actually came from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. The Times identified the 33 in a survey of representatives conducted in the days leading up to the scheduled vote. 15 were hard-line conservatives who wanted a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They are all members of the House Freedom Caucus, who are among the most conservative members of the House.

Houston Chronicle - March 24, 2017

Casey: The unintended consequences of political rhetoric

When Hawaii and Maryland federal judges last week blocked President Donald Trump's second attempt at a travel ban affecting many visitors from Middle East nations, the president called it an act of "unprecedented judicial overreach." It wasn't. In fact, the Hawaii decision was based partly on a Texas judge's ruling just two years ago. And it was a ruling that Trump - if he was aware of it - would have celebrated. The earlier ruling was issued by Brownsville U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen. It dealt with, of all things, a president's power when it comes to immigration. Barack Obama had issued a presidential order allowing a three-year reprieve and work permits for more than 4 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens, if they had committed no crimes.

Washington Post - March 26, 2017

O'Brien: Why Republicans were in such a hurry on health care

Why were Republicans rushing to vote on a health-care plan that they'd barely finished drafting, that budget scorekeepers hadn't had a chance to fully evaluate, and that, insofar as people did know about it, was widely despised? In part, it's because their plan was so unpopular and because it got more unpopular the more people learned about it. But it's also because only by rushing to reshape a full sixth of the American economy without knowing exactly how they would be reshaping it would Republicans be able to use health care to pave the way for the rest of their agenda, including tax reform. In other words, the GOP didn't want to let a detail like tens of millions of people losing their health insurance get in the way of two tax cuts for the rich.

Politico - March 25, 2017

Inside the GOP’s Health Care Debacle

Donald Trump had heard enough about policy and process. It was Thursday afternoon and members of the House Freedom Caucus were peppering the president with wonkish concerns about the American Health Care Act—the language that would leave Obamacare’s “essential health benefits” in place, the community rating provision that limited what insurers could charge certain patients, and whether the next two steps of Speaker Paul Ryan’s master plan were even feasible—when Trump decided to cut them off. "Forget about the little shit," Trump said, according to multiple sources in the room. "Let's focus on the big picture here."

Washington Post - March 25, 2017

A new dynamic may be emerging in the House: A right and left flank within the GOP willing to buck leadership

President Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan made it a binary choice: You’re either for their health-care legislation or you’re for “Obamacare.” From Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) to Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), spanning the party’s ideological spectrum, the answer came back Friday: No, it’s much more complex. It was filled with several different options and possible routes ahead, and dozens of Republicans agreed with their sentiment. That left Republicans well short of the votes they needed to fulfill a seven-year promise to destroy the 2010 Affordable Care Act once they were fully in charge, delivering a stinging defeat to both Ryan and Trump.

Dallas Morning News - March 24, 2017

Gillman: Lessons for and about Trump in health care debacle

There's an old saying attributed to Dick Armey, the former House majority leader from Denton, that bad policy makes bad politics. The GOP bill made barely a dent in the deficit — $150 billion over a decade — even as it shifted costs dramatically from the very wealthy to the very poor, and threatened to leave tens of millions without coverage. This is not what Republicans had promised. Even if they were right that millions of those with insurance under Obamacare lack "meaningful" coverage because of high deductibles or slim pickings on doctors, the raw numbers sounded bad. Very bad.

Austin American-Statesman - March 24, 2017

Abbott, Trump, laud new Texas jobs — but plan was announced last year

Flanked by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and top executives of Charter Communications, President Donald Trump on Friday lauded and took some credit for the broadband company’s plans to hire about 20,000 U.S. workers — including 600 for a bilingual call center in McAllen — although much of the expansion had been announced before his election. “We’re embracing a new economic model — the American model,” Trump said during the White House meeting. “You are going to see thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs and companies and everything coming back into our country.” The president said Charter has now joined many other companies “that have recently announced billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs coming into the United States following my election victory.” Abbott also gave Trump credit on Friday.

New York Times - March 25, 2017

Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War

President Trump ignites a lot of fights, but the biggest defeat in his short time in the White House was the result of a long-running Republican civil war that had already humbled a generation of party leaders before him. A precedent-flouting president who believes that Washington’s usual rules and consequences of politics do not apply to him, Mr. Trump now finds himself shackled by them. In stopping the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Party’s professed priority for the last seven years, the rebellious far right wing of his party out-rebelled Mr. Trump, and won a major victory on Friday over the party establishment that he now leads.