The Brief: Texas Political News for Sept. 24, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking at the 2013 Young Americans for Liberty National Convention at George Mason University in Arlington, Va., on July 31, 2013.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking at the 2013 Young Americans for Liberty National Convention at George Mason University in Arlington, Va., on July 31, 2013.

The Big Conversation

The spotlight stayed on Ted Cruz as the fight over defunding Obamacare hit the Senate floor on Monday.

Texas' junior U.S. senator pushed ahead with his effort to block funding for the president's health care law, setting up a fight that puts the federal government at risk of shutting down next week.

Cruz on Monday clashed with House Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who shot down each of Cruz's early procedural attempts at preventing the Senate from advancing any government spending bill that funds Obamacare, as Politico reports.

"We’re not going to bow to Tea Party anarchists who deny the mere fact that Obamacare is the law," Reid said early in the day, adding, "The simple fact remains: Obamacare is the law of the land and will remain the law of the land as long as Barack Obama is president of the United States and as long as I’m Senate majority leader."

To no avail, Cruz requested that the Senate, without debate, approve a House bill that strips funding for Obamacare. Later, he laid the blame for a potential government shutdown on Reid, who plans to remove the defunding provision before sending the bill back to the House.

"Five minutes ago the Senate could have prevented a government shutdown," Cruz said. "He is willing to risk a government shutdown. He is willing to force even a government shutdown in order to ensure that Obamacare is funded."

But Cruz's plan — to block the bill to prevent Reid from stripping the Obamacare provision — suffered another blow on Monday as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, Cruz's Texas colleague, said they would oppose the move.

"I intend to support the House bill that defunds Obamacare and will vote against a bill that funds it," Cornyn tweeted on Monday.

How hard Cruz will ultimately push against the bill remains unclear, but his first attempt at a filibuster could come Wednesday, when the first test vote on the bill in the Senate is scheduled.

Culled

•    Exclusive poll: Parker leads Hall in Houston mayoral race (KHOU): "Annise Parker seems headed for a runoff in her campaign to keep her job, but she commands more than twice as many supporters as her leading challenger in a newly released poll commissioned by KHOU 11 News and KUHF–Houston Public Radio. Still, just six weeks before Election Day, roughly half of all surveyed voters either didn’t know or wouldn’t say how they’re going to vote. Parker leads the pack of candidates at 34 percent, with former city attorney Ben Hall at 14 percent. About 48 percent of voters are classified as undecided, indicating the incumbent mayor will have to fight to keep the post to which she was narrowly re-elected two years ago."

•    Nancy Pelosi plans to introduce immigration reform bill (Politico): "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is spearheading a plan to advance comprehensive immigration reform in the chamber. The California Democrat’s strategy includes introducing legislation combining the comprehensive bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in May with a bipartisan border-security bill from the House Homeland Security Committee, according to sources familiar with the plans."

•    Study: Undocumented Immigration May Be Rising in Texas (The Texas Tribune): "While several other states have seen recent decreases in the number of undocumented immigrants residing within their borders, figures for Texas have remained the same or have possibly increased, a new report says."

•    GOP leader wants widow to succeed Anderson as DA (Houston Chronicle): "Devon Anderson, the widow of recently deceased Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson, is the local GOP leadership's choice to replace her late husband, the head of the party said Monday. 'The person who would be the best to fill Mike's shoes, and they're big shoes to fill, would be his wife,' said Jared Woodfill, chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. 'I'm hopeful that the governor will appoint her to carry on Mike's legacy. She's very, very qualified for the position.'"

Quote to Note: "Stopping bad things is a significant public service." — Ted Cruz in an interview with GQ

Must-Read

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