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The Brief: Feb. 9, 2015

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz talked presidential politics and foreign policy in a pair of appearances on Sunday morning talk shows.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during the 2014 RedState Gathering at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in Fort Worth on Aug. 8, 2014.

The Big Conversation

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz talked presidential politics and foreign policy in a pair of appearances on Sunday morning talk shows.

First, the politics. On CNN, the Texas Republican said he was "very, very seriously" considering a 2016 run for the presidency. He was also asked about comments made last week by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to The Texas Tribune and The Washington Post that compared Cruz's level of experience as an officeholder to that of Barack Obama when he was elected president.

Cruz responded by throwing back a compliment.

“Listen, I like Rick Perry,” Cruz said. “He was a good governor in the state of Texas. He’s a friend of mine. People occasionally throw rocks in politics. That’s his choice. I’m going to say I think he did a good and effective job as governor of our state.”

Talking to ABC, Cruz was not as deferential to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, dinging him on Common Core and immigration.

Cruz called in to the morning shows from Munich, where he was part of a congressional delegation attending an international security conference. While he said he was urging Obama to arm Kurds in the fight against ISIL, he also said he was against sending U.S. troops back to the region.

“American boots on the ground should always be the last step, and we need to exercise other steps before that.”

The Day Ahead

•    The House and Senate convene at 2 p.m.

•    House Appropriations meets at 10 a.m. to hear a presentation from the comptroller's office on the biennial revenue estimate and to hear an overview of House budget recommendations, general revenue dedicated accounts and the strategic fiscal review (E1.030); House Human Services meets at 3 p.m or on adjournment to hear from HHSC acting deputy inspector general Quinton Arnold (E2.030)

•    Senate Finance meets at 11 a.m. to begin hearing the education portion of the budget (E1.036)

•    Early voting begins in runoff special elections for Senate District 26, House District 13, House District 17 and House District 123.

Trib Must-Reads

Analysis: A Very Public Learning Experience for Patrick, by Ross Ramsey

Medical Marijuana Advocates: Proposal Doesn't Go Far Enough, by Eva Hershaw

GOP Taxonomy: The Flat Taxers and the Fair Taxers, by Aman Batheja


Big contracts, big data, big dollars and a big mess, Austin American-Statesman

State law allows for lobbying deep in the shadows of Texas, The Dallas Morning News

Texas bill would give representation to fetus if woman is brain-dead, The Dallas Morning News

More rules sought for property tax lending as some fear losing homes, Houston Chronicle

The Debt Trap: Payday loans on the rise in Texas, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Fikac: State buildings, patched with toilet paper, fend off rodents, San Antonio Express-News

Dallas company seeks to store nation's spent nuclear fuel at West Texas site, The Associated Press

Effort to regulate Hays wells proving difficult, Austin American-Statesman

Gallego indicating he may run again for seat he lost, San Antonio Express-News

Insured, but Not Covered, The New York Times

Quote to Note

“There’s definitely a message being sent. When you exclude funding for an agency, that’s about as loud and clear a signal as you could ask for.”

— Political consultant Bill Miller on legislative efforts to defund or dissolve the Racing Commission in response to that agency's decision to allow historical racing

Today in TribTalk

In "Selma," a missing message of hope, by Luci Baines Johnson

When grand jury duty calls, by Ellen Sweets

News From Home

As we follow bills on public ed during the 84th legislative session, we'll keep you updated on legislation addressing school choice and vouchers. Stay caught up with our 84th Lege page, and subscribe to our Trib+Edu newsletter for more education news.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    Houston & the Legislature: Previewing the 84th Session on Feb. 12 at the Wortham Center in Houston

•    A Conversation With State Rep. John Otto, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, on Feb. 12 at the Austin Club

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro on Feb. 19 at The Austin Club

•    Immigration: The Next Five Years on Feb. 27 at at the University of Texas at Brownsville

•    A Conversation With State Sen. Kel Seliger and State Rep. John Zerwas on March 5 at the Austin Club

•    Meet the Mayors: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price on March 12 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Health care Politics Dan Patrick Rick Perry Ted Cruz