The Brief: An Unexpected Cost of the Border Surge Appears

The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety tells lawmakers Tuesday that increased staffing along the borders has come at the expense of other parts of the state.

Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw testifies on staffing levels DPS border security effort, July 19, 2016.

The Big Conversation

The Texas Department of Public Safety is upping staffing for security along the border at the expense of other parts of the state, according to testimony agency director Steve McCraw delivered to the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.

As the Tribune’s Julián Aguilar writes, “the agency was getting closer to its goal of hiring 250 troopers for permanent placement on the border” but “because the agency cannot place rookie agents on the border alone for six months, and because it has to make up for statewide attrition, it will continue rotating officers from across the state for temporary stints in the area.”

Asked by state Rep. Helen Giddings, D-Dallas, whether any parts of the state lack adequate protection from law enforcement, McCraw confirmed that there is an impact” but noted that lawmakers had given his agency very direct guidance in terms of prioritization” for security.

Giddings suggested after the hearing that voters might have trouble supporting the spike in border spending if it comes with a decrease in police protection for them back home. The Associated Press noted that McCraw is under pressure to defend the expenditure as worthwhile and reported that he is now offering lawmakers benchmarks for 'substantial control' that he said will mean a county is secure,” though “none are there yet.

Trib Must Reads

On Trump, Texas GOP Leaders Give Cruz His Space, by Patrick Svitek — Top Texas Republicans have spent the past two days preaching unity at every turn, urging their ranks to unify behind Donald Trump. On Wednesday, their most elusive recruit will take center stage: Ted Cruz.

Analysis: For Some Texas Republicans, Useful Distractions Back Home, by Ross Ramsey — Republicans who want to stay out of the national conversation about the presidential race — the speaker of the Texas House, to name one — there are a handful of races at home that offer plausible excuses.

Despite All Eyes on His Twin, Joaquin Castro Not Sitting Idle, by Abby Livingston — While the political world waits to see if Hillary Clinton selects U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro as her running mate, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro could remain a force in Congress regardless of the outcome.

Speaker Joe Straus Still No Fan of Donald Trump, by Patrick Svitek — Faced Tuesday morning with questions about Donald Trump, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus declined to offer any support for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Some Texas Delegates Still Wary of Backing Trump (Video), by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn — Day two of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland brought some internal debate among the Texas delegates, particularly among those still holding out hope that someone other than Donald Trump will be their party’s presidential nominee.

Patrick Backs Call for Probe of Black Lives Matter, by Patrick Svitek — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Tuesday he supports having the U.S. attorney general investigate the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to bring attention to police shootings of African Americans.

White House Won't Punish Julián Castro, by Abby Livingston — U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro looks to be off the hook with the White House after the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that Castro violated federal law.

Cowboys Star Dez Bryant Sues State Sen. Royce West, by Aneri Pattani — Less than a month after state Sen. Royce West sued Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant for allegedly trashing the lawmaker's rental home, the football player is striking back with his own lawsuit.

Cornyn: Melania Trump Plagiarism Charges a "Trivial Matter," by Patrick Svitek — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Tuesday morning that the plagiarism charges against Melania Trump are a "trivial matter" and predicted they would not harm her husband's standing with voters.

In Talking GOP Unity, Paul Ryan Turns to Texas Football, by Abby Livingston — U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan surprisingly drew some boos Tuesday morning during remarks to Texas Republicans —  but it was all in good fun.

Elsewhere

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

For the first time in 40 years, Texas Republicans didn’t pick a winnerAustin American-Statesman

Despite high-profile role, Dan Patrick says he doesn't aspire to higher office, The Dallas Morning News

Will Hurd and Pete Gallego differ on approach to violence in cities, San Antonio Express-News

In win for Texas, court blocks EPA 'regional haze' rules, The Associated Press

State Sen. Royce West writes an open letter on race: 'Questions from a Black Man,' The Dallas Morning News

Federal board declines to oversee Houston-Dallas bullet train projectHouston Chronicle

Grobe: No culture of bad behavior at Baylor, San Antonio Express-News

Quote to Note

When one of the teams advances, to a big bowl game? Or a national championship? Don't you root for the Aggies if you are a Longhorn?” 

— U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, trying to draw a comparison between Texas college football rivalries and Republican party unity

Today in TribTalk

Protecting Texans from Zika requires action, not gamesmanship, by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn — Senate Democrats want to talk about the dangers of a massive health threat heading our way but refuse to pass compromise legislation that would protect us against it.

Texas teachers must address police shootings head-on, by David DeMatthews — I ask social studies teachers to consider Texas curriculum in a way that allows students to understand the flaws in our democracy, political and economic system — and law enforcement policies and practices.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   Life on the Border: Rhetoric or Reality? on Aug. 4 at The Centennial Club in McAllen

•   The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center