Congress

 Illustration by Marjorie Cotera/Todd Wiseman

The Bellwether

As U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, goes, so go the Democrats? In a hyper-partisan year, with control of the U.S. House up for grabs, all eyes are on Congressional District 17, the most Republican district in America held by a Democrat. Pundits think Edwards may finally get beat: Were he to survive, a D.C. analyst says, it would be "one of the greatest Houdini acts ever seen in Texas politics." But the 10-term incumbent has seen awful political environments before. “The Washington Generals have a better record against Harlem Globetrotters than the [National Republican Congressional Committee] does in predicting my defeat," he says.

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The Sting of the Killer Bees

The rules of the Texas Senate are designed to create an orderly process that respects the rights of individual members. They have lasted this long because they do the job well and consider the need for compromise in the legislative operation. Trampling the rights of the minority is never a good idea — and yet it has happened over and over again. An excerpt from the forthcoming How Things Really Work: Lessons from a Life in Politics.

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 Illustration by Todd Wiseman

Dick Armey: The TT Interview

The former University of North Texas economics professor, U.S. House majority leader and hired-gun Washington lobbyist, now the head of the conservative activist group Freedom Works and the co-author of the new book Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, on what the Tea Party is and isn't, why a GOP majority in Congress isn't enough, where George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush went wrong, what Rick Perry did right and why Barack Obama won't be re-elected in 2012.

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Tom DeLay's Negative Numbers

During a break in Wednesday's pretrial hearing, former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, and his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, discuss a poll that shows a significant portion of potential jurors in Travis County already believe he's guilty. They're using the numbers to argue for a change of venue in the state's money laundering case against DeLay.

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Food Fight

Last week, Republicans loudly complained about a just-approved bill that would send $830 million in federal education funds to Texas with strings attached. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, Democrats have their own reason to balk.

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 Jacob Villanueva

Every Doggett Has His Day

The U.S. House has passed a bill on Tuesday that is expected to send about $800 million to bolster the state’s education budget. But thanks to an amendment added by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, the funding comes with Texas-specific strings attached. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune has this report.

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 United States Congress

TribBlog: Nothing to See Here

Federal and military officials say Texans needn't worry about 17 Afghan military trainees who disappeared from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Many of the Afghans, who were studying English, have been located — and they say none of them pose the national security threat U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and other lawmakers fear.

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HuTube: Texas Congressman Warns of Terrorist Babies

U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, isn't the only Texas congressman making headlines in Washington. Citing a "retired F.B.I. agent" as his source, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, said on the floor of Congress last week that terror cells are plotting to breed future terrorists inside the United States.

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 Jacob Villanueva

Data App: Hey, Big Spenders

It's not only rich people and lobbyists and interest group activists who make political contributions. Texas congressional candidates gave at least $1.3 million to other campaigns and causes over the last 15 months, according to itemized records of campaign expenditures released for the first time by the Federal Election Commission. Topping the list of big spenders in the Texas delegation were U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, who contributed at least $240,000 — the highest dollar amount — and Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, who gave more than 60 contributions — the highest number. Search our database to see who gave what to whom.

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