• Sen. Ted Cruz embraces House 6-week debt ceiling plan (The Dallas Morning News): "The latest gambit from House Republicans would lift the federal debt ceiling for six-weeks without ending the government shutdown. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz calls it a good idea because in his view, that would refocus debate on the future of Obamacare – a target that may be slipping away. … 'My understanding is that this is being driven by House conservatives who are quite reasonably saying, listen, let’s focus on Obamacare, on winning the fight on Obamacare, on helping remedy the enormous harms Obamacare is inflicting on millions of Americans, and let’s push the debt ceiling a little further down the road so that it doesn’t distract us from the fight we’re right in the middle of now,' the senator told Lubbock conservative radio host Chad Hasty on KFYO."
• Republicans hold fundraiser for Women’s Health Program (Houston Chronicle): "While the Texas-OU football game has traditionally been a big venue for politicians raising campaign funds, this year, two Republicans are planning a party that will benefit 'outreach' for the 'Texas Women’s Health Program.'"
• Americans Down on D.C. Leaders Since Shutdown Began (Gallup): "Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, although not one of the Republican Party leaders, has been a central figure in the recent budget debate, given his more than 20-hour filibuster of the Senate continuing resolution bill. He is now much better known — 62% of Americans have an opinion of him now, compared with 42% in June. But his higher profile has put him in a much less positive light among Americans, with his net favorable rating down 16 points, from a +6 net favorable (24% favorable, 18% unfavorable) in June to -10 (26% favorable, 36% unfavorable) today."
• Abbott promises to keep Texas economy exceptional (The Associated Press): "Attorney General Greg Abbott said Thursday that Texas' booming economy is the nation's strongest and he promised it will remain that way if he's elected governor. Addressing the Texas Association of Realtors, the Republican said the state has led America in job growth over the past 10 years, since the end of the national recession or any way 'you slice and dice the numbers.' 'The truth is, Texas is exceptional,' Abbott told a crowd of several hundred adoring Texans inside an Austin hotel ballroom. 'I'm running for governor to keep it that way.'"
• U.S. levies $118,300 in fines in Texas fertilizer plant blast (Reuters): "The U.S. government will fine a Texas fertilizer plant $118,300 for 24 health and safety violations in connection with an April explosion that leveled parts of a small town and killed 14 people, according to an OSHA citation and a U.S. senator."
• DNC makes Spanish calls on shutdown (Politico): "The Democratic National Committee is launching Spanish-language online ads and robocalls targeting Republicans on the government shutdown, it announced Thursday. … The Spanish-language calls and Twitter, Facebook and Google ads launching Thursday will target Latino voters in Florida, Texas, Nevada and Arizona."
New in The Texas Tribune
• Mexican Exiles Speak Out Against Claims They're Gaming Asylum System: "As lawmakers in Washington call for a review of how asylum law pertains to Mexicans seeking protection, one Mexican exile is embarking on his own public relations campaign."
• Researchers: Politics Obscure the Results of New Fracking Study: "University of Texas scientists who led a study of methane gas emissions say both sides of the fracking debate are misinterpreting the results — and that their goal was simply to measure the gas, not to draw sweeping conclusions about the industry."
• Guest Column, by David Simpson: Beware the "Ministry of Truth": "The battle between top legislators and a regent at the University of Texas System might look like a sideshow, but the consequences to open government — not to mention the waste of money — are more serious."
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