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The Brief: November 23, 2009

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said she wanted to keep fighting the “government takeover of healthcare” — and now she’ll get her chance.

THE BIG CONVERSATION

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said she wanted to keep fighting the “government takeover of healthcare” — and now she’ll get her chance.

On Saturday, the Senate’s version of the healthcare bill was cleared for debate by a 60-39 vote.  That debate is expected to start on Nov. 30.

Sunday, Hutchison was on NBC’s “Meet The Press” calling the bill “a disaster for our country.”

It should be noted that riding in the same bandwagon as Hutchison is the Texas Medical Association, the largest state medical society.  TMA President William H. Fleming III said that while the Senate proposal “makes some great strides” for patients, in its current form it is “simply bad medicine.”

In return, state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, called TMA a “rogue medical organization.”  As reported by John Reynolds of Quorum Report, Coleman said, “It’s been clear to me that the TMA has opposed health reform since Day 1. Their opposition to the Senate bill confirms that.”

Hutchison didn’t just make news on the healthcare issue on "MTP."  She said she thought U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, was right to ask U.S.  Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner if he would step down from his post.  Going a step further, when asked by host David Gregory if Geithner should in fact lose his job, Hutchison said, “Then, we shouldn’t keep our jobs, either. The president, the Congress and Mr. Geithner are all responsible for going in the wrong direction. This stimulus package is wrong. The healthcare bill is wrong.”

Go. Rick Perry’s campaign jumped on the comment. “Senator Hutchison finally admitted that she is part of the problem with the out-of-control spending in Washington,” said Perry spokesman Mark Miner.

Hutchison — who says she plans on leaving her job in the near-ish future —continued her campaign against healthcare on “The Today Show” this morning.

CULLED:

At least two Texans know where they will be on Jan. 14. Both Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison have accepted an invitation by KERA-TV in Dallas to an hourlong televised debate.  It will include an audience and questions from journalists and will be distributed to all TV and radio stations in the state. It’s not a sure thing, though.  Hutchison said in her written acceptance that if a healthcare vote in Washington came on the 14th she might request an alternative date.

• State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, knows a wall when she runs up against one.  With U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison deciding to keep her day job until at least March, Shapiro will file for re-election. Another Senate hopeful, Houston Mayor Bill White, is term limited and doesn't have that option.  At an Austin event co-hosted by The Texas Tribune, he remained steadfast in his message that he is running for Hutchison's seat as soon as it becomes available.

• It seems there will be some forgiving and forgetting today as Gov. Rick Perry attends a Faith and Freedom Luncheon in Dallas put on, in part, by the Heritage Alliance — a group that made in the neighborhood of 25,000 robo-calls in 2007 opposing to Perry’s executive order mandating HPV vaccines for young girls.

Rick Perry once ate three 72 oz. steaks in one hour. He spent the first 45 minutes slaughtering cows indiscriminately.” — anonymous Twitter account @rickperryfacts

MUST READ:

 • Texans had input in House health debateAustin American-Statesman

TxDOT has new plan to fund toll roadsThe Dallas Morning News

Dallas Republican not afraid to talk tax hikeHouston Chronicle

Rockport to challenge Texas Open Meetings ActCorpus Christi Caller-Times

• Investment firm ousted over education board gift disclosuresAustin American-Statesman

• Economic stimulus: Fort Bliss, El Paso schools get big chunk of federal moneyEl Paso Times

• Kay Bailey Hutchison: Stop playing politics with national security — The Dallas Morning News

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