The Brief: Top Texas News for May 2, 2011

The Big Conversation:

The news Sunday night of Osama bin Laden's killing drew jubilation and solemn reflection nationwide, and at home here in Texas.

Speculation of bin Laden's death erupted on the web at around 8:45 p.m. Central last night after the White House announced that the president would be addressing the nation. (Here's how the announcement leaked out.) Celebratory crowds gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and at Ground Zero as the president announced the development, declaring that "justice has been done." (For today's front pages from the state and across the nation, check out Newseum.)

In Texas, as the Houston Chronicle's Texas on the Potomac tracked, lawmakers rejoiced, praising both President Barack Obama, as well as the efforts of former President George W. Bush, for the breakthrough.

"[Our] mission has now been accomplished through the patience and steadfast determination of our military, our intelligence officials, and the united leadership of Presidents Bush and Obama," U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said in a statement. "Now we must continue to dismantle this and other terrorist networks that attempt to destroy freedom and human rights throughout the world."

Sen. John Cornyn struck a similar bipartisan tone. "In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush promised a fearful, grieving nation that those individuals responsible for this atrocity would be brought to justice," he said. "Now, nearly a decade after those horrific attacks, President Obama informs us that justice has finally been served."

After receiving a phone call from Obama last night with the news, Bush — who in 2001 said he wanted bin Laden "dead or alive" — said in a statement: "This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”

Culled:

  • Entangled in a fight that has turned the House and Senate against each other, state Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said Friday that he hoped to muster the votes to get the budget bill to the Senate floor today. Later on Friday, the Senate, which has steadfastly opposed the sweeping budget cuts approved in a House bill early last month, approved a "non-tax revenue" bill that that would free up $4.3 billion in spending over the next two years. For some perspective on the increasingly convoluted cross-fire between the two chambers, check out our own Ross Ramsey's overview of the fight. 
  • The House on Friday tentatively approved a bill that would keep the Texas Department of Transportation alive until at least 2015. A similar Sunset bill — named for the advisory commission that inspects agencies for inefficiencies — sent lawmakers into a special session in 2009.

Must-Read:

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