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The Evening Brief: Nov. 30, 2012

Your evening reading: Cornyn calls White House proposal to unilaterally raise debt ceiling "crazy"; congressional Republicans clashing over approach to immigration reform; education commissioner to delay 15 percent rule

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•   Cornyn labels 'outrageous' Obama's 'crazy idea' to unilaterally raise debt ceiling (Houston Chronicle): "John Cornyn is known for being a politician who carefully chooses his words. He is, by choice, deliberate and judicious. Today, he was just plain mad. In an interview on Fox News, the San Antonio Republican condemned a proposal floated by the White House to unilaterally raise the nation’s debt ceiling if Congress fails to act before the spring 2013 deadline. 'It’s profoundly irresponsible,' Cornyn said. 'So that’s a crazy idea and I’m amazed that [Treasury] Secretary [Tim] Geithner had the courage to float that yesterday."

•   Immigration unity hits Hill reality (Politico): "About that GOP epiphany on immigration after the election, there’s one small problem that could scuttle a deal: Republicans in Congress can’t even agree on what to do. Some want piecemeal reform, picking off the most popular planks and leaving the tough stuff — like whether to give millions of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship — for later. Others side with Democrats in saying only a comprehensive deal will get at the problem."

•   House passes bill to increase visas for highly educated immigrants (Houston Chronicle): "A bill to increase the number of visas available to highly educated immigrants and allow their families to stay in the United States while their visas are processed won House approval today by a vote of 245-139."

•   Order Lets Boy Scouts Keep New Abuse Files Private (The Associated Press): "The Boy Scouts of America will not immediately have to turn over 27 years of so-called 'perversion files' the group keeps on sexual abuse complaints against adults involved in the organization, a Texas appeal court has ruled."

•   Heresy in Texas! The era of big oil is almost over (The Dallas Morning News): "It sounds like heresy but there’s a discouraging word coming out of energy-rich Texas: the days of booming oil production are almost over. A group of scientists, scholars and energy activists is meeting this week at the University of Texas to discuss what they see as an impending global decline in oil production."

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   TEA Chief Will Defer 15 Percent Rule: "Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams announced Friday that he would defer a rule that requires state end-of-course exams count for 15 percent of high school students' final grades."

•   Tolling Texans: Toll Projects Proliferate as State Coffers Fall Short: "Amid a lack of public financing to meet the state's transportation needs, Texas officials are increasingly looking to toll projects, some boosted by investments by private firms."

•   80-Year-Old WGU Texas Grad Keeps His Promise: "Robert Titus had told his mom that he would get a college degree. But service in the U.S. Navy and a long sales career derailed that pledge for years. But Titus, 80, is now the proud owner of a degree from WGU Texas, an online university."

•   For Freshman Legislators, Washington is No Texas: "Freshman legislators are getting their first look at Washington and Austin, and the differences are as clear as red and blue. The new members of Congress from Texas weren’t exactly showered with greetings from their new workmates. Maybe it’s a difference in how lawmakers shop for allies and for votes in the nation’s capital."

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