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The Brief: Dec. 12, 2013

Bill Powers' future as University of Texas at Austin president could be put to a vote at a Thursday meeting of the UT System's Board of Regents.

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa shakes hands with visitors at a Senate reception on Mar. 5, 2013.

The Big Conversation

Bill Powers' future as University of Texas at Austin president could be put to a vote at a Thursday meeting of the UT System's Board of Regents. 

Speculation is running rampant ahead of the board's meeting. The Texas Tribune's Reeve Hamilton reports multiple sources as saying "termination of the president would be an unlikely outcome of Thursday's discussion.

"The board's chairman, Paul Foster, has signaled a desire to move beyond the controversy that has plagued the board for nearly three years. And the board's newest members, prior to their confirmation by the state Senate, pledged not to seek to oust Powers, who recently took over as chair of the Association of American Universities."

The San Antonio Express-News' Peggy Fikac, meanwhile, reports, "Three of the nine regents were confirmed this year by the Texas Senate — two new members and Chairman Paul Foster of El Paso, who was reappointed. They have said they wouldn't vote to fire Powers unless it was recommended by Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa. Powers also has had support from two additional regents.

"The system's spokeswoman said she didn't have information to provide on the substance Cigarroa's recommendation regarding Powers, which the board's agenda said will be discussed Thursday in executive session, outside the public eye."


•    Abbott Keeps Mum on Vouchers and Education Funding (The Texas Tribune): "Texas gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott held back from taking a position on private school vouchers or state education funding during a Wednesday appearance at a San Antonio charter school."

•    UT regents to discuss Powers' job (San Antonio Express-News): "University of Texas at Austin faculty, alumni and prominent lawmakers are rallying in support of President Bill Powers, whose employment is up for discussion in a private session Thursday by regents — including those with whom he long has tangled."

•    Gohmert says no endorsement in Stockman’s Senate bid (The Daily Caller): "Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert does not plan to endorse anyone in the Texas Senate Republican primary between Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Steve Stockman. ... 'I didn’t know he was gonna run, and I have not — I didn’t endorse him,' Gohmert told The Daily Caller when asked what he thought of Stockman’s Senate bid."

•    Cornyn says Stockman no more threat than boat dealer, other unknown rivals (The Dallas Morning News): "Sen. John Cornyn is shrugging off Rep. Steve Stockman as just another face in the crowd. The congressman hasn’t made much impression on him in their last year serving together in the Texas delegation and, in Cornyn’s telling, there’s no reason to see him as any more formidable than the half-dozen others in the March 4 primary."

•    CBO: 'Doc fix' patch to cost about $8.7 billion (The Hill): "A proposed patch sparing Medicare physicians a 24 percent pay cut next year would cost about $8.7 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. The House measure would provide doctors with a 0.5 percent payment update through March 2014 while allowing Congress several months to overhaul Medicare's flawed physician payment system."

Quote to Note: “While Mr. Stockman is a fascinating person, there’s no guarantee that he’s actually going to be competitive in the primary, so I’m going to be paying equal attention to all my primary opponents.” — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, demonstrating that he's not rattled by the entry of the Tea Party congressman in the Senate primary contest.


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Health care Politics David Dewhurst Greg Abbott John Cornyn Louie Gohmert Wendy Davis