Must Read Texas – October 22, 2013

Office of Sen. Cruz Releases Memo about Gains from Defund;
State Rep. Carter Drops RRC Bid; Powers Chron op ed;
NYT on Texas A&M Starting Campus in Israel
Good evening from Austin.

Just so you know.
I started today’s brief at 7:30am.
I am just now finished.

It’s been a crazy day.
Sorry for the lateness of the email.

Here’s the (short) brief:


From the Office of Senator Ted Cruz

Since many establishment politicians and members of the pundit class continue to second-guess efforts to defund Obamacare, we offer our take.

The defund plan produced tangible results that create both immediate and long-term benefits for the country and the conservative cause. First, it intensified the nation’s focus on Obamacare. Second, it energized Americans by showing there are people in Washington willing to take real action to stop Obamacare. Third, it exposed, for all to see, the Democrats’ refusal to compromise out of blind devotion to their extreme liberal agenda. Lastly, it proved the need for Republicans to unite and stand firm together in their resolve to defeat Obamacare.

Please read below for more details on these four points.

1) The defund Obamacare plan dramatically intensified the nation’s focus on the law’s failures. The effort must continue because every day we learn more about how Obamacare is hurting more American families and our economy. 
    > Obamacare’s failures become clearer each day.  President Obama promised Americans that their premiums would go down, taxes would stay low, millions of jobs would be created, and if they liked their healthcare plans, they could keep them.  Instead, premiums are rising, taxes are higher, the economy is sputtering, and people are losing their plans.
      – “Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies. The main reason insurers offer is that the policies fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1.”—“Thousands get health insurance cancellation notices,” NBC News, October 19, 2013.
      – When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”Letter from union leaders James P. Hoffa, Joseph, Joseph Hansen and D. Taylor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2013.
– Many liberals and members of the media recognize Obamacare is incapable of operating in its current form and are calling for a delay or other changes.
o See Exhibit A: Liberals and members of the media calling for delay
    > The primary goal of the defund plan – to provide meaningful relief for the millions of Americans being harmed by Obamacare – was not accomplished by this “deal.”  The final deal contained a no-strings-attached debt ceiling increase that immediately plunged the country past the $17 trillion debt threshold, funded the entire government as is (including Obamacare), funded pet projects for powerful members, and created yet another fiscal showdown on January 15.
      – “The most Republicans could salvage from the fight was that they didn’t give up the budget sequesters. But neither did they lock them in. Indeed, the stopgap spending bill, which ends Jan. 15, was timed to coincide with the next round of sequesters, giving Democrats another chance to undo them.” –“Back in Business: Obamacare undented as shutdown ends,” Washington Times, October 16, 2013.

2. The defund plan energized Americans all across the country who have the power to make DC listen and change Washington. This strengthens the conservative cause.
The power of the DC establishment is crumbling. It’s no longer acceptable for a politician to claim they are fighting for change at home while voting to keep up business-as-usual in Washington. Americans understand the men and women responsible for Obamacare and our $17 trillion debt are not working to fix the damage they have done.
      – “Just 19% say that they trust the government in Washington to do what is right just about always or most of the time…”—“Trust in government nears record low, Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, October 18, 2013.
      – “Conservatives have been fed up with the type of double-dealing and games that have gone on within the Republican establishment during the last decade, in which groups are pitted against others in legislative fights to pad the bottom lines of so-called Republican leaders Unlike ten years ago, conservatives now have the Internet and social media to mobilize against the Republican establishment. They do not need to rely on Republican gatekeepers to find candidates to support or oppose.” – “Battle between establishment and conservative Republicans,” Tony Lee, Breitbart, October 20, 2013
    > Americans are energized and want to be heard.  Nearly 2.1 million Americans have signed a petition demanding that Obamacare be defunded and are eagerly engaging in the political process.  Countless more are calling Capitol Hill offices, sending emails, and making their voices heard online.  This is a healthy sign of a vibrant citizenry committed to its country.
      – “I’ve not seen this level of intensity since we fought to keep Obama­care from passing,” said JoAnn Fleming, executive director of Grassroots America, a group of conservative activists based in Tyler, Tex. “I’m getting calls from people who are not in our network, saying, ‘Can we do something?’ It’s a full-time job just trying to get rid of all my e-mails.”—“Obamacare fight reenergizes the Tea Party Movement,” Washington Post, September 27, 2013.

3. Despite claims made by the left, members of the media, and many other members of the DC establishment – it was Harry Reid & President Obama, not Senator Cruz & the House Republicans who forced a government shutdown.
    > President Obama is responsible for shutting down the government because he refused to negotiate with the House of Representatives to keep the government openPresident Obama issued 15 veto threats to bills the House of Representatives passed, with significant bipartisan support, to re-open the government and fund vital government services, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and the national parks.
See Exhibit B: House-Passed Bills to Re-Open Government and Fund Vital Services
> President Obama specifically supported these priorities in remarks to the public; yet, he issued veto threats against them, blatantly putting his political agenda above the needs of the American people:
      – “Air traffic controllers, prison guards, those who are with border control — our Border Patrol will remain on their posts, but their paychecks will be delayed until the government reopens.  NASA will shut down almost entirely, but Mission Control will remain open to support the astronauts serving on the Space Station. I also want to be very clear about what would change.  Office buildings would close.  Paychecks would be delayed.  Vital services that seniors and veterans, women and children, businesses and our economy depend on would be hamstrung.  Business owners would see delays in raising capital, seeking infrastructure permits, or rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.  Veterans who’ve sacrificed for their country will find their support centers unstaffed.  Tourists will find every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed.  And of course, the communities and small businesses that rely on these national treasures for their livelihoods will be out of customers and out of luck.” – Statement by the President, September 30, 2013

4. Republicans now have a model for winning – listen to the American people, stand for principled causes, and quit waiting until the next election to do what should be done today.
    > The House listened to the American people, as evidenced by the passage of bills to fund the government and defund Obamacare.
      – “We’ve got a lot of divergent opinion in the caucus, and the key to any leadership job is to listen.” –Speaker John Boehner, “House GOP going ahead with bill to defund Obamacare,” The Hill, September 18, 2013.
The House remained committed to the defund strategy by holding firm and passing bills to re-open the government and fund essential services.  The House passed 16 measures to re-open the government and fund vital services; gaining a total of 678 Democrat votes. The Senate never acted on these measures. Two additional bills were made law, demonstrating it was possible all along to fund vital priorities members of both parties support.
– A bill that provided funding to pay members of the Armed Services, civilian support personnel and contractors at the Department of Defense, passed the House on September 29th, unanimously passed the Senate and was signed into law by the President on September 30th.
– A bill that provided funding for death benefits for deceased military service members unanimously passed he House and Senate and was signed into law by the President on October 10th.
    > The Establishment’s strategy of waiting for a successful election cycle before working to stop Obamacare is an unacceptable option.
      – “If the defund plan was delusional, the GOP establishment’s ‘repeal Obamacare by winning elections’ alternative is delusional squared. Inertia is a powerful non-motivator. It is always extremely tempting to avoid the hard thing that must be done now by rationalizing that we’ll have both the capability and the stomach to do hard things at some indeterminate future time. 
      – “That is the main appeal of the GOP-establishment strategy: It is outlandish, but unlike defund/delay, it is hard to disprove in the present because its impossible assumptions are conveniently imagined to occur several years from now, in a brighter and shinier future.
      – “To buy it, you first have to believe that the GOP is suddenly going to become an electoral juggernaut. Mind you, we are talking about Republicans who have won the popular vote in a presidential election only once since 1988; who are rapidly losing the confidence of the conservative base that gave the GOP the historic midterm victory in 2010; and whose current priorities include a mass legalization of (Democrat-leaning) illegal immigrants that would make it increasingly difficult for Republicans to win elections in the future. 
      – “We are to believe, moreover, that this electoral juggernaut is poised to take off in the cycle right after the GOP lost to Obama and lost congressional seats despite high unemployment and no economic growth.” –“The Art of the Impossible,” National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy, October 19, 2013.
    > Conservatives win when they present a principled, clear alternative to the liberal agenda. 
o   Of the last four election cycles (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012) Republicans were only successful in 2010—the year when conservative candidates campaigned boldly against Obamacare.

** Exhibits not included due to space


AP reports:

Republican Stefani Carter is dropping her 2014 bid for railroad commissioner and says she will instead seek a third term in her state House district.

Carter’s exit on Tuesday comes less than a month after a coveted speaker slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference in St. Louis, where Gov. Rick Perry also delivered remarks.

Carter thanked her supporters and said she was encouraged by constituents to stay in her district.

Her change of plans is also a blow to Republican diversity in statewide 2014 races. The vast majority of the best-known Republicans seeking top offices are white and male. Carter in 2010 became the first black Republican woman elected to the Texas House.

Wayne Christian, Ray Keller and Malachi Boyuls remain in the running for railroad commissioner.


UT president Bill Powers had an op ed in the Houston Chronicle.
Here’s the full text:

Today, I’m proud to begin my one-year service as chairman of the Association of American Universities. Since 1900, the AAU has been the chief promoter of the American research university, and the University of Texas at Austin is one of just 62 current members.

In American higher education, there is no issue more critical than affordability. Gov. Rick Perry has made it a priority and President Barack Obama has as well. It concerns me, as it should every leader in higher education and all who understand the crucial role a college education plays in social mobility and national productivity.

In August, the White House published its College Scorecard, an interactive tool families can use to evaluate college options. UT-Austin fares well with a high graduation rate and a below-the-median cost.

In the final analysis, there are only two main ways to decrease the price tag of college for students: 1) decreasing operational costs and 2) increasing support from nontuition sources. Obama has called on universities to control their costs, and at UT, we are doing that. For example, we are undergoing a major initiative to reduce the costs of our operations by consolidating our staff so that multiple departments can share the expertise of specialists in human resources, information technology, procurement and accounting.

Universities are behind the business sector in modernizing these functions, and we will all benefit from catching up.

But holding the line on costs – even cutting costs – is not sufficient for the needs of the future. We must also increase support for higher education from nontuition sources. These sources fall into four main categories: philanthropy, research grants, nontraditional revenue sources (such as licensing our discoveries or merchandising our brand) and public funding.

On this last count, we all have reason for alarm. In the last 25 years, student enrollment at state universities across America has grown by 62 percent, while total public funding has increased by only 2 percent. Consequently, state funding per student has dropped by 30 percent in those 25 years. And this is not a matter of our collective wealth, but rather, a matter of priorities: Nationally, state support per $1,000 of personal income has dropped by 37 percent. We cannot continue to decrease public funding across the nation and then express shock when the price to students goes up or we fall behind our competitors around the world.

We are witnessing a massive, historic public disinvestment in higher education. In spite of that, higher education is still doing amazing things. In Texas, economists have estimated that our state receives a 21-to-1 return on investment from UT-Austin. That is, for the state’s annual investment of about $300 million, it gets a university that contributes $6.4 billion to the economy through direct and indirect spending by staff, faculty and students.

The reasons for this disinvestment are many and include state- and federally mandated programs that have eaten deeply into the amount over which state legislatures have discretion. Those mandates likely are not going away. But if legislators realized the massive return on investment they are already getting from higher education, they would be going “all in” with public funding like a poker player with the best hand of his life. Of course, it is not just a matter of “throwing money at a problem.” We must be smart and targeted in our spending; but make no mistake, we must invest resources in higher education.

University administrations need to aggressively control higher education’s cost. But the responsibility for the cost of public higher education also rests with the public. Higher education affordability should be a nationally shared priority. State governments should begin making up lost ground by returning to their historical investment levels for higher education. It will help hold the line on the cost to students, and it’s the best investment of public dollars we can possibly make.

Bill Powers is the president of the University of Texas at Austin and chairman of the Association of American Universities.


NYT Texas correspondent Manny Fernandez reports on the new Texas A&M campus in Israel, which A&M Chancellor John Sharp and Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) are visiting this week.

– State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte makes (behind paywall) the economic case for the Texas Dream Act in a FWST op ed.
– The House panel investigating UT Regent Wallace Hall 
met today.
– In opposing Texas Weekly columns, Gov. Perry 
urges passage of Prop. 6 (Water Fund) and Texas Comptroller candidate Debra Medina urges opposition.

2013 / 2014 / 2016:
– The campaign of Attorney General candidate and State Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas) released a new web video, “Getting Results.”
– The Chron 
reports on a new round of TV ads in the Houston Mayoral election.
– Bexar County Court-at-Law Judge No. 11 Carlo Key 
announced (behind paywall) he is switching from the Republican to the Democratic party.

Other stories of interest:
– Eagle Ford oil output is up 49% over the past year. 

Lighter clicks:
– Decimals matter.
– A 91-0 high school football defeat in Texas 
brings a “bullying charge.”
– It is 
stunning to see what is going on with the Grambling State football team.
– A 
great piece on retiring Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
– A 
reunion of the Dillon Panthers.

Today’s Source of Inspiration:
– A spectacular goal.
– She’s 
six years old.


DMN: Closing arguments coming Wednesdayin case challenging Texas abortion law (10/22/13 11:09pm)

DMN: UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing (10/22/13 11:09pm)

NYT: Texas A&M Pursues a Campus in Israel (10/22/13 11:03pm)

QUORUM REPORT: New Branch internet video: Getting results (10/22/13 11:01pm)

AP: House panel meets on UT regent impeachment probe (10/22/13 11:01pm)

AP: Republican Carter drops railroad commissioner bid (10/22/13 10:58pm)

AP: Judge resigns amid allegations of improper conduct (10/22/13 10:58pm)

BLOOMBERG NEWS: Eagle Ford Oil Output Up 49% Amid U.S. Shale Renaissance (10/22/13 10:56pm)

DMN: Chamber of Commerce chief slams Ted Cruz over shutdown (10/22/13 10:54pm)

DMN: Court takes on state’s new sweeping abortion law (10/22/13 10:53pm)

DMN: Patrick asks why estimates vary on border security spending (10/22/13 10;52pm)

KTVT CBS DALLAS: Greg Abbott Focuses On Jobs & Obamacare In Run For Governor (10/22/13 10:51pm)

FWST ($): U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz brings crusade to Tarrant County (10/22/13 10:41pm)

CHRON ($): Greenway projects underway as capital campaign begins (10/22/13 10:38pm)

CHRON ($): Housing authority sues former CEO, Board chairman (10/22/13 10:37pm)

CHRON: Mayoral candidates air new round of TV ads (10/22/13 10:31pm)

CHRON: New Branch ad touts passing of Texas’ school prayer law (10/22/13 10:31pm)

CHRON: Pitts denounces UT regent’s document requests (10/22/13 10:30pm)

KHOU CBS HOUSTON: Ted Cruz in Houston for homecoming rally (10/22/13 9:38pm)

SAEN ($): Court-at-law judge switches to Democratic party (10/22/13 1:29pm)

SAEN ($): State says ‘fetal life’ can be protected (10/22/13 1:28pm)

SAEN: House panel convenes hearing on probe of UT Regent Wallace Hall (10/22/13 1:23pm)

AAS ($): Rep. Pitts expected to be first witness for investigation of UT regent (10/22/13 11:34pm)

AAS ($): As traffic lags, Texas 130 tollway debt rating lowered again (10/22/13 11:34pm)

AAS ($): Skirmish over lawmaker’s name is latest in a long line (10/22/13 11:26am)

VIDEO: Former U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” (10/22/13 10:38am)

NATIONAL JOURNAL: What the Media Got Wrong About Ted Cruz (10/22/13 10:33am)

TFN: Ted Cruz Takes A Victory Lap with the King Street Patriots (10/22/13 10:13am)

TT / KUT: As Early Voting Begins, Eyes on Voter ID (10/22/13 9:58am)

TW: Tax Credit for Texas Wind Could Lapse (10/22/13 9:57am)

TT: Testimony Begins in UT Regent Impeachment Investigation (10/22/13 9:57am)

POLITICO: Ted Cruz: Nigerian emailers run Affordable Care Act site (10/22/13 9:04am)

TT: Texas A&M Will Open “Peace” Campus in Israel (10/22/13 9:04am)

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Ted Cruz Isn’t Here to Make Friends (10/22/13 9:02am)

BLOOMBERG: New Texas Abortion Laws Will Harm Women, Doctor Testifies (10/22/13 9am)

ELP TIMES: US Rep. Pete Gallego wants to help fix Congress (10/22/13 8:59am)


DMN: What Parkland needs in a new CEO (10/22/13 11:11pm)

DMN: Sebelius owes candor for Obamacare stumbles (10/22/13 11:10pm)

FWST ($): Trial of juvenile in murder cases should be open to the public (10/22/13 10:46pm)

FWST ($): School bus safety depends on you obeying the law, children abiding by the rules (10/22/13 10:45pm)

CHRON: ACA ills (10/22/13 10:21pm)

CHRON: Good and plenty (10/22/13 10:20pm)

SAEN: Bexar County doesn’t need more justices of the peace (10/22/13 1:25pm)

AAS ($): Keeping bike trails open overnight requires compromise (10/22/13 11:36am)


M. DAVIS: How to raise bully-proof children (10/22/13 11:10pm)

JEFFERS: Texas attorney general candidates highlight ties to Ted Cruz (10/22/13 10:54pm)

PALKO ($): Paying a living wage is good business (10/22/13 10:49pm)

STATE SEN. VAN DE PUTTE ($): The Texas Dream Act makes economic sense (10/22/13 10:47pm)

LITTLE ($): Celebrating newspapers and freedom of speech (10/22/13 10:47pm)

SANDERS ($): A mother who wouldn’t die until her fight was finished (10/22/13 10:42pm)

C. BAKER ($): Whooping cough outbreak can be stopped (10/22/13 10:39pm)

T.I. POWELL ($): Reservists shouldn’t have to worry about pay, benefits (10/22/13 10:39pm)

FALKENBERG ($): Hall picks the rules to be broken (10/22/13 10:27pm)

PRESIDENT POWERS: Higher ed needs investment (10/22/13 10:23pm)

STANFORD: An Armchair Dad Questions Arne Duncan (10/22/13 4:33pm)

L. ANDERSON: Because they can, Grisham case is Bell County ‘Right Fighting’ at Texas Taxpayers’ Expense (10/22/13 1:43pm)

CHASNOFF ($): Local conflict played into judge’s defection (10/22/13 1:30pm)

BAY: 1973 October War shapes Israel 2013 (10/22/13 1:25pm)

KELLIHER ($): Move ahead on electricity reforms, but remember lessons from other regions (10/22/13 11:46am)

Author: Must Read Texas

Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) & Jason Stanford @MustReadTexas