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The Brief: Abbott and Cruz eye term limits on Congress

With an ally in the White House, Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz are suggesting the timing is right to pass term limits on Congress.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) speak at a press conference in the Capitol about Sen. Cruz’s Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act of 2015 (S. 2302), in Washington, D.C., Dec. 8, 2015.


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What you need to know

With an ally in the White House, Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz are suggesting the timing is right to pass term limits on Congress.

  • In an op-ed, Cruz proposed a constitutional amendment limiting service to three terms in the House and two in the Senate. Along with his coauthor, Cruz wrote in December that the amendment would "put an end to the cronyism that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions."
  • But many are skeptical Congress will impose term limits on itself. "Do I think the 535 members of Congress are going to vote for [the constitutional amendment]? Not a snowball’s chance," said Tamara Colbert, the co-director of Texas’ Convention of States Project.
  • Abbott wants to circumvent Congress by assembling a convention of states to amend the Constitution. One of the nine amendments Abbott proposed last year would impose term limits on Congress, though at least 34 other states would have to agree to the convention for it to even take place.
  • Last week, Abbott declared a convention-of-states resolution one of his four emergency items. It takes 34 states to convene a constitutional convention and 38 states to pass a constitutional amendment. "This isn’t a problem caused by one president," Abbott said. "And it won’t be solved by one president. It must be fixed by the people themselves." 

Other stories we're watching today:

News from home

On Feb. 13, we launch Sold Out, a multi-part investigation into Texas' child sex-trafficking pipeline. Sign up to receive email alerts for this investigation and other special projects from The Texas Tribune.

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

Business group says bathroom law could lose Texas $8.5 billion in GDP, up to 185,000 jobs, Politifact Texas

U.S. judge temporarily blocks Trump's travel ban nationwideThe Associated Press

Expect more conflict between cities and states, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Texas film incentive program at risk of being abolishedKXAN-TV (NBC)

'We need more bodies on the table' and other tales from surgery - in kickback scheme uncovered by Dallas feds, The Dallas Morning News ($)

Dallas and Houston both have pension problems, but Houston is actually solving theirsThe Dallas Morning News ($)

Teachers accused of impropriety often move to other schoolsAustin American-Statesman ($)

Alamo plan facing state scrutiny, San Antonio Express-News ($)

Colleges discover the rural studentThe New York Times ($)

For your calendar

On Tuesday, Feb. 7: Join us online or in person to meet several new legislators, Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, Rep. Justin Holland, R-Rockwall, and Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas.

For a complete list of upcoming events, visit our site

Quote to note

"A strong Israeli economy backed by a thriving Texas market provides Palestinians the potential for greater self-sufficiency through gains in financial independence and economic solvency."

— David Grantham, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis about the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Sanya Mansoor. If you have feedback or questions, please email We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

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