The Brief: Top Texas News for April 22, 2013

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz outlines his objections to Medicaid expansion in Texas at a Capitol press conference on April 1, 2013.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz outlines his objections to Medicaid expansion in Texas at a Capitol press conference on April 1, 2013.

The Big Conversation

Immigration reform is threatening to turn the amity between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio into a rivalry.

The two U.S. senators — both Tea Party-backed freshman Republicans of Cuban descent often mentioned as 2016 presidential contenders — have taken on high-profile roles in their party, and have also come to each other's defense recently after facing attacks from Democrats.

But as Politico reports, the immigration debate has exposed a divide between the two senators that could widen in the coming weeks.

Rubio, of Florida, has informally led a bipartisan group of eight senators who last week introduced a sweeping overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. But Cruz has repeatedly voiced concerns over the pathway to citizenship included in the bill.

A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill today may offer an indication of how forcefully Cruz, one of the committee's members, plans to oppose the legislation, which he has also said should prioritize border security.

"Every leading GOP 2016-er is supporting comprehensive immigration reform," a Texas Republican who is aligned with Cruz and asked not to be named told Politico. "The worst secret in D.C. is Cruz is going to run for president, and he’s going to lean in hard against immigration to separate himself from all other 2016-ers."

Cruz recently praised the legislation for containing "good, positive steps" but added, "If the objective is to pass a bill, you don’t hold the positive areas of agreement hostage to areas of sharp disagreements."

Cruz's Texas colleague in the Senate, John Cornyn, will also be closely watched during the debate. Cornyn, who serves with Cruz on the judiciary committee, recently said he was "encouraged" by the bipartisan bill but expressed concerns about border security. Asked about the bill's pathway to citizenship, Cornyn told Politico: "I’m not sure you can generalize. Most of them are citizens. I think they’d like to see some resolution of the immigration issue."

Culled

•    As heart-wrenching week ends, Texas town where plant exploded prays, plans — and waits (The Associated Press): "Nearly 70 federal and state investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire that set off the explosion. … Authorities say there are no signs of criminal intent. Robert Champion, the special agent in charge for the Dallas office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said experts plan to enter the crater in the next few days and start digging in search of an explanation."

•    Rewinding History, Bush Museum Lets You Decide (The New York Times): "More than four years after leaving office, former President George W. Bush has a question for America: So what would you have done? In a new brick-and-limestone museum, visitors to an interactive theater will be presented with the stark choices that confronted the nation’s 43rd president: invade Iraq or leave Saddam Hussein in power? Deploy federal troops after Hurricane Katrina or rely on local forces? Bail out Wall Street or let the banks fail?"

•    Many DAs, judges, lawmakers stay in office after DWIs (Austin American-Statesman): "Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who pleaded guilty to DWI on Friday and was sentenced to 45 days in jail, has insisted she has no intention of quitting. Friends and colleagues say part of the reason is personal. A driven career prosecutor who ascended to the top job in 2008 after working three decades behind the scenes, her county work has been her life."

Quote of the Day: "I told him, 'People are going to automatically not vote for you because of your name. On the other hand, people will listen to you because of your name, so I wouldn’t even worry about that. Just go out there and tell people what’s in your heart.'" — George W. Bush to Parade on the advice he gave to his nephew, George P. Bush, who is running for Texas land commissioner

Must-Read

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