The Brief: House GOP Faces Divide on Immigration

The Rally for Immigration Reform on Congress Avenue near the Texas Capitol on Feb. 22, 2013.
The Rally for Immigration Reform on Congress Avenue near the Texas Capitol on Feb. 22, 2013.

The Big Conversation

The House Republican leadership on Thursday released a one-page blueprint for immigration reform. But with its call to legalize 11 million undocumented workers, the immediate question was whether the plan would fly within the party.

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker reported that "a closed-door discussion on immigration at the retreat was described by a House member as 'very passionate,' with a 'sizable bloc' opposing the leadership’s position." Also, many Republicans said they didn't trust President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats as negotiating partners on the issue.

The Texas Tribune's Julián Aguilar reported that the leadership's plan does "not include a pathway to citizenship for a majority of the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants residing in the country. Instead, the party suggests a path to legal status for those who pay fines and pass background checks." Frank Sharry of the pro-reform group America's Voice told Aguilar that his group planned in the future to call for a citizenship option for most undocumented immigrants.

For his part, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, blasted the House plan during a Bloomberg News breakfast on Thursday, equating it to amnesty.

The Day Ahead

•    Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will speak Friday morning at the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Mid-Winter Conference in north Austin.

•    Senate District 10 candidate Konni Burton will host a fundraiser Friday night in Fort Worth with Rafael Cruz as the keynote speaker.

•    The Texas Medical Association holds its Winter Conference in Austin this weekend. On Friday night, the TMA will host a forum for the GOP comptroller candidates — Glenn Hegar, Harvey Hilderbran, Debra Medina and Raul Torres. On Saturday, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and HHS Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek will address the conference.

•    Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott will keynote on Saturday the Rockwall County GOP's Reagan Dinner.

Today in the Trib

Republicans Worried About March, but Not November: "Republicans running for lieutenant governor demonstrated in their debate Monday that they are concerned about their March primary, not about how their positions might sound in November."

Fire Department Is Bolstered as Boom Presents Hazards: "As oil booms in La Salle County, so have 911 calls. In response, officials have unleashed a plan to professionalize the county's firefighting forces." (w/ video)

Women Underrepresented in Texas Legislature: "Texas ranks 33rd for its percentage of women legislators. The number of women in the upper chamber is unlikely to increase, even as two of the seven in the Senate — Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte — pursue statewide office."

News App: Expanding the Ethics Explorer: "We've expanded the elected officials in our Ethics Explorer to include the nine judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the 15 members of the State Board of Education. We've also updated our existing analysis on members of the Legislature to include bills authored and sponsored during the 83rd legislative session."

Today in Texas Weekly

The TW Hot List of legislative races to watch has been updated to elevate the threat level in Bennett Ratliff's HD-115, and we have a recap of the HD-50 special runoff election. Take advantage of the last couple of days in the free preview period to check out our regular Newsreel, Inside Intelligence, Political People and Their Moves and The Week in the Rearview Mirror features.

Must-Read

PolitiFact: Wendy Davis never gave up parental role, though she agreed to daughter primarily living with father in family's home, Austin American-Statesman

Wendy Davis and the Hallelujah Choir, Huffington Post

Floyd: GOP lieutenant governor debate: Is it real, or is it crazy talk?, The Dallas Morning News

Falkenberg: Lt. Gov. candidates are in the wrong century, Houston Chronicle

Katrina Pierson posts anemic fund-raising against Rep. Pete Sessions, The Dallas Morning News

Expert: Property-wealthy school districts skirting state law, Houston Chronicle

Texas State Board of Education gives high school students new math options beyond algebra 2, Austin American-Statesman

Quote to Note

"I think it would be a mistake if House Republicans were to support amnesty for those here illegally."

— U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, throwing cold water on the new immigration blueprint unveiled Thursday by the House Republican leadership

News From Home

Only a couple more days in the free preview of Texas Weekly. Enjoy it while you can, but don’t wait to sign up! It all ends Feb. 1.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, candidate for lieutenant governor, at the Austin Club, 2/6

•    Sen. Kel Seliger and Reps. John Smithee and Four Price at West Texas A&M in Canyon, 2/7

•    Reps. Joe Deshotel and Allan Ritter at Lamar University in Beaumont, 2/19

•    Texas Tribune Festival On the Road at The University of Texas El Paso for a daylong symposium on demographic change, 2/27

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

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