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The Evening Brief: Oct. 16, 2013

Your evening reading: Cruz backs down but won't admit defeat; Hutchison criticizes Republicans who "hijacked" budget debate; Cruz and Cornyn meet with Texas Democrats

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., on March 16, 2013.


•    Ted Cruz stands down (Politico): "Sen. Ted Cruz’s attempts to dismantle Obamacare in the government funding fight went down on Wednesday — but he defended his crusade until the very end. In a lengthy statement before reporters following a Senate Republican meeting, Cruz (R-Texas) announced that he wouldn’t block consideration of the agreement between top Senate leaders that would end the federal government shutdown and raise the debt limit. … 'No one should be surprised that this is the response of the Washington establishment,' Cruz said shortly after leaving a party meeting where leaders announced the fiscal deal. 'The American people rose up and spoke with an overwhelming voice and at least at this stage Washington isn’t listening to them.'"

•    At 11th Hour, G.O.P. Blinks in Standoff (The New York Times): "Congressional Republican leaders conceded defeat Wednesday in their budget fight with President Obama over the new health care law, agreeing to support a reopening of the government and a lifting of the nation’s borrowing authority in exchange for future budget negotiations. Speaker John A. Boehner, the leader of conservative House Republicans whose push to strip money for the health law led to the shuttering of much of the government on Oct. 1, said that the House would not block a bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate that yielded virtually no concessions to the Republicans."

•    Kay Bailey Hutchison blasts GOP 'outliers' who 'hijacked' debt, deficit debate (The Dallas Morning News): "On Tuesday former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison never mentioned her successor – Ted Cruz – by name, but she blasted his attempts to derail the U.S. government by attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 'I think that most Republicans wanted to negotiate on the issue of spending and the debt and the deficit,' she said during a brief interview at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, where we ran into the former senator having lunch. 'I think a few people threw in an issue that you could not win. It was absolutely clear you could not win it. And as I’ve said, I was voting on Christmas Eve two years ago against that bill. I did everything I could, and so did all the Republicans in Congress — every single one.'"

•    Editorial: Why we miss Kay Bailey Hutchison (Houston Chronicle): "Does anyone else miss Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison? We're not sure how much difference one person could make in the toxic, chaotic, hyperpartisan atmosphere in Washington, but if we could choose just one it would be Hutchison, whose years of service in the Senate were marked by two things sorely lacking in her successor, Ted Cruz."

•    Secret meeting: Sens. Cornyn and Cruz huddle with Texas Democrats (The Dallas Morning News): "Texas’ Republican senators met unannounced Wednesday afternoon with Texas Democrats in Congress, the first such meeting all year. 'In this climate, I think we climbed a steep mountain today,' said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, chairwoman of the Texas Democratic delegation. 'We were breaking the ice.'"

•    Texas Toll Road Rating Cut by Moody’s Due to Default Risk (Bloomberg): "Moody’s Investors Service downgraded about $1.1 billion of debt for the operator of State Highway 130, a toll road near Austin, Texas, saying 'the project will have insufficient cash to meet its debt service payments due in June.'"

New in The Texas Tribune

•    Report: 1 Million Texans Lack Insurance Options: "Because Texas chose not to expand Medicaid, 1 million poor, uninsured adults won't have access to insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report released Wednesday."

•    Reused Wastewater Key to Trinity River's Survival: "By virtue of its proximity to three major Texas cities, nearly half of the state’s population relies on the Trinity River for some of its water needs. A wastewater reuse program in Dallas has helped maintain the river's flow during the ongoing drought, but future development plans along the river continue to spur debate."

•    Polling Center: Deflecting Immigration Questions: "Uncomfortable questions about in-state tuition might prompt candidates like Greg Abbott to reach into Rick Perry's bag of tricks for an issue that addresses immigration issues without inflaming the wrong voters."

•    Reverse Mortgage Plan's Fate is in Voters' Hands: "Currently the only state that doesn’t allow seniors to use reverse mortgages for purchasing homes, Texas could switch course if voters approve a constitutional amendment in the Nov. 5 election."

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