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The Evening Brief: Sept. 4, 2013

Your evening reading: U.S. not "al-Qaida's air force," Cruz says; GOP congressman slams Cruz over remarks; split decisions on veteran partner benefits put Texas in spotlight

U.S. 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.


•    Ted Cruz: U.S. not 'Al Qaeda’s air force' (Politico): "Sen. Ted Cruz called President Barack Obama’s efforts to authorize military intervention in Syria a public relations move, saying the U.S. military shouldn’t be 'Al Qaeda’s air force.' The Texas Republican said Tuesday on TheBlaze that while he’s glad the president listened to calls from him and others to bring the issue to Congress, America shouldn’t get involved and risk helping terrorists in the rebel forces."

•    Republican congressman chides Cruz for Syria rhetoric (NBC News): "A first-term Republican congressman forcefully condemned a comment by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R, likening military intervention in Syria to acting as 'al Qaeda's air force.' Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., on Wednesday offered some of the most forceful Republican backing of President Barack Obama's desire for congressional approval for military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. But the congressman — a member of the Air Force national guard — saved his sharpest language for Cruz, a fellow Republican. … 'I believe that is a cheap line by some people to garner headlines and not a serious discussion of what's going on in Syria,' the Illinois Republican said."

•    Pauken again calls for series of debates with Abbott (Longview News-Journal): "Greg Abbott's release of his tax returns was a welcome step toward transparency, Tom Pauken said today, but the Texas gubernatorial front-runner could do more. 'It would be more meaningful to Texans if he would be open to a one-on-one discussion about our ideas on public policy,' Pauken said, renewing his call for a series of debates."

•    At labor breakfast, Democrats continue to urge Texas Sen. Wendy Davis to run for governor (The Dallas Morning News): "At the local AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast Monday, state Sen. Royce West had a final request for outgoing financial secretary Jim McCasland. 'We need you to help Wendy Davis become governor of the state of Texas,' West, D-Dallas, told the labor leader, which prompted the hundreds of Democrats in attendance to roar with approval. Minutes later, U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson had the prospect of a Davis campaign for governor on her mind. 'I don’t know what Wendy Davis will do,' the Dallas Democrat said. 'We need a full ticket, somebody in every slot. It should be a diverse ticket and appeal to every part of the state.'"

New in The Texas Tribune

•    In D.C. and Texas, Divergent Decisions on Veteran Partner Benefits: "Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that the Obama administration won't enforce a law banning same-sex spouses of veterans from receiving military benefits follows Tuesday's very different verdict from the Texas National Guard."

•    Amid Funding Shortfall, Three Counties Allowed to Raise Vehicle Fees: "While Texas lawmakers this year failed to find the billions of dollars needed to address a transportation funding shortfall, Bexar, El Paso and Webb counties managed to win special approval to raise their vehicle registration fees."

•    State's High Court to Examine Smuggling Case: "The Texas Supreme Court could rule this month in a case that that is likely to weigh in on the rights of private-property owners whose lands are traversed by undocumented immigrants."

•    Testing Voter ID in Little Elections, Waiting for a Big Vote to Come Along: "The effects of requiring voter ID probably won't be evident until March or later, opponents say. Local elections in Galveston and the Rio Grande Valley might offer clues, but the true test, they say, will be in a major statewide election."

•    Combs' Legacy Not a Presence in Comptroller's Race: "The Republicans running for comptroller aren't talking about the current officeholder at all: Susan Combs is off the ballot and out of the field of play, for now."

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