Politics


Poll finds most Texans think DACA program should be extended

Nearly 60 percent of Texans want to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects from deportation some 124,000 Texans who arrived as children and remained in the country illegally, according to results of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday. Answering a separate question, slightly more than half oppose the immediate deportation of unauthorized immigrants...
Comey, on Twitter, contemplates Iowa's landscape, serenity and sunsets

Comey, on Twitter, contemplates Iowa's landscape, serenity and sunsets

Former FBI Director James Comey emerged from seclusion in recent days, appearing pensive and contemplative on a rural Iowa road and in a cornfield, based on photographs posted on his Twitter account.  “Goodbye Iowa. On the road home. Gotta get back to writing. Will try to tweet in useful ways,” Comey wrote in a Twitter post Monday.  Comey is writing a book about his experience...
Melania Trump in Michigan urges middle schoolers to ‘choose kindness’

Melania Trump in Michigan urges middle schoolers to ‘choose kindness’

The first lady, Melania Trump, in another public indication that she may refocus on efforts related to an early promise to combat cyberbullying, visited a middle school here in this Detroit suburb Monday, and, in between posing for selfies, urged students to treat one another with respect and kindness.  “I encourage you to find a new friend and eat lunch with a new friend,” the first...
Cutting taxes is hard. Trump is making it harder

Cutting taxes is hard. Trump is making it harder

President Donald Trump said Monday that he would oppose any effort to reduce the amount of pretax income that American workers can save in 401(k) retirement accounts, effectively killing an idea Republicans were mulling as a way to help pay for a $1.5 trillion tax cut.  The directive, issued via Twitter, underscored a growing fear among Republicans and business lobbyists that Trump’s bully-pulpit...
Trump promises ‘no change to your 401(K)’ as House considers a contribution cap

Trump promises ‘no change to your 401(K)’ as House considers a contribution cap

President Donald Trump said early Monday that his proposed tax plan would not prompt any changes to Americans’ tax-deferred retirement plans, pushing back against reports that the Republicans are weighing a proposal that would significantly reduce the income workers can save in these popular programs.  “There will be NO change to your 401(k),” Trump said in a Twitter post early...
Trump is not alone. A Lincoln condolence letter stirred controversy, too

Trump is not alone. A Lincoln condolence letter stirred controversy, too

What exactly is the protocol for U.S. presidents after members of the military are killed or wounded in action?  The recent controversy over President Donald Trump’s calls to grieving military families suggests that the White House traditionally responds in a particular way.  In fact, it is difficult to define presidential custom, given that the United States has had 45 presidents...
Trump fulfills his $25,000 promise to father of a fallen U.S. soldier

Trump fulfills his $25,000 promise to father of a fallen U.S. soldier

The father of a fallen U.S. soldier has received the $25,000 that President Donald Trump promised him three months ago, perhaps ending one of the controversies since Trump falsely claimed last week to have spoken with nearly every military family who has lost a loved since he became commander in chief.  Trump made out the check to Chris Baldridge, whose 22-year-old son Dillon, an Army sergeant...
Prosecutors drop all remaining charges against Rep. Dawnna Dukes

Prosecutors drop all remaining charges against Rep. Dawnna Dukes

Travis County prosecutors dropped all of the remaining charges against longtime state Rep. Dawnna Dukes on Monday, bringing an end to a legal soap opera that could have put the lawmaker behind bars. Instead, the saga concluded with a jubilant Dukes announcing on a Facebook post that she would seek reelection next year. “I am looking forward to continuing to represent the 46th District,&rdquo...
Texas congressmen hope to force FAA’s hand on balloon rules

Texas congressmen hope to force FAA’s hand on balloon rules

A trio of Texas lawmakers on both sides of the aisle filed a bill Monday that would force the Federal Aviation Administration to require medical certificates for commercial balloon pilots. Joining forces to push for the regulatory change are U.S. Reps. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin; Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi; and Will Hurd, R-Helotes. The bipartisan bill comes a week after the National Transportation...
Trump joins House GOP call to rally support for Senate budget bill

Trump joins House GOP call to rally support for Senate budget bill

President Donald Trump on Sunday afternoon urged House Republicans on a conference call to rally behind a Senate-passed budget bill, touting it as the quickest way to enact sweeping tax cuts later this year without Democratic support.  "We are on the verge of doing something very, very historic," Trump told GOP lawmakers, according to a Republican familiar with the call.  Following...
Does Chief Justice Roberts fear gobbledygook? Or is that just baloney?

Does Chief Justice Roberts fear gobbledygook? Or is that just baloney?

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has made it his mission to try to convince the American public that the Supreme Court is something unlike other Washington institutions — different from the gridlocked mess across the street in the Capitol, more disciplined and respectful of its place in the constitutional constellation than the bellicose White House down Pennsylvania Avenue.  The nine...
Gold Star father Khizr Khan knocks White House chief of staff on military condolence controversy

Gold Star father Khizr Khan knocks White House chief of staff on military condolence controversy

Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who lambasted Donald Trump at last year's Democratic National Convention, on Sunday criticized the now-president's chief of staff for his handling of the controversy over Trump's military condolence calls.  Khan said John F. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, had "made the situation even worse" by defending Trump and joining him in attacking...
McConnell: Bannon, others gunning to knock off GOP incumbents are ‘specialists at nominating people who lose’

McConnell: Bannon, others gunning to knock off GOP incumbents are ‘specialists at nominating people who lose’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Sunday sharply criticized former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and others trying to knock off Republican incumbents as "specialists at nominating people who lose."  McConnell appeared on two Sunday morning talk shows and was asked about Bannon's efforts to find primary opponents for all but one of the Senate Republicans...
McCain seems to swipe at Trump with comment on Vietnam ‘bone spur’ deferments

McCain seems to swipe at Trump with comment on Vietnam ‘bone spur’ deferments

After a week in which President Donald Trump endured not-so-veiled criticisms from his two predecessors as president and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., McCain delivered another broadside that seems clearly aimed at Trump — in the most personal terms yet.  McCain, whose status as a war hero Trump publicly and controversially doubted as a 2016 presidential candidate, appeared to retaliate in...
The cascade of missteps that turned one White House error into a messy week

The cascade of missteps that turned one White House error into a messy week

Hindsight is 20/20, but sometimes foresight has a sharp focus, too.  It was fairly clear a week ago that the White House should have gotten out in front of questions about the deaths of four Special Forces soldiers earlier this month in Niger. The men had been killed on Oct. 4, but there had been almost no word from the White House. No explanation, no condolences - just brief comments from White...
Commentary: Austin ISD bond package isn’t perfect but deserves support

Commentary: Austin ISD bond package isn’t perfect but deserves support

Every child has the right to a quality education that facilitates the achievement of her or his maximum potential. As District 1 trustee on the Austin ISD school board, this is my goal for the district. Our awarded and overflowing schools in Austin’s well-heeled areas are proof that, for some of our students, we are approximating this standard. As a district, it is our responsibility to build...
How Georgetown’s GOP mayor became a hero to climate change evangelists

How Georgetown’s GOP mayor became a hero to climate change evangelists

In the 14 months since Al Gore came to Georgetown to see for himself the story of this red Texas city’s conversion to solar and wind power, Mayor Dale Ross has become something of an international sensation. On Tuesday, journalists from “Weltspiegel,” a popular German foreign affairs TV program, were interviewing Ross, the latest reporters to have trekked to this charming city of...
Central Texas congressional challengers tapping into Trump outrage

Central Texas congressional challengers tapping into Trump outrage

Two military veterans and political novices, tapping into broad discontent with Congress and President Donald Trump, have emerged as formidable Democratic challengers to entrenched Central Texas Republican congressmen — at least when it comes to raising money. The surprising fundraising numbers don’t signal tight races necessarily, but more than a year before the general election, Democratic...
PolitiFact: Doggett mixes tax numbers, but rich still get richer

PolitiFact: Doggett mixes tax numbers, but rich still get richer

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, told congressional colleagues that President Donald Trump’s plan to cut taxes would mostly benefit America’s wealthiest. “Eighty percent of the tax breaks in this proposal go to the top 1 percent — that is, people making more than $730,000 a year,” Doggett said on the House floor. Doggett made his claim three days after Republicans announced...
INSIGHT: How Russians pretended to be Texans — and Texans believed them

INSIGHT: How Russians pretended to be Texans — and Texans believed them

In early 2016, while researching some of the most popular U.S. secession groups online, I stumbled across one of the Russian-controlled Facebook accounts that were then pulling in Americans by the thousands. At the time, I was writing on Russia’s relationship with American secessionists from Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. These were people who had hitched flights to Moscow to swap tactics, to...
Let Texas ruling stand,opponents of gay marriages tell high court

Let Texas ruling stand,opponents of gay marriages tell high court

A recent Texas Supreme Court ruling on marriage benefits was not a swipe at the rights of same-sex couples and does not need to be reviewed by the nation’s highest court, opponents of gay marriage said Friday. The city of Houston last month asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Texas ruling, arguing that it undermines the high court’s 2015 decision that established the right of...
Appeals court ruling delays abortion for immigrant teen in Texas

Appeals court ruling delays abortion for immigrant teen in Texas

A federal appeals court Friday dissolved a lower court order that required the Trump administration to allow an abortion for a 17-year-old immigrant who is in federal custody in Texas after illegally crossing the border with Mexico. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia gave administration officials until Oct. 31 to find a relative or other qualified adult willing to act as...
Attorney General Sessions hails anti-sanctuary cities law in Texas

Attorney General Sessions hails anti-sanctuary cities law in Texas

Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a message Friday to so-called sanctuary cities: Don’t expect federal law enforcement grants if you disobey federal law. “These jurisdictions that knowingly, willfully and purposefully release criminal aliens back into their communities are risking the lives and safety of American citizens in the pursuit of what really is an extreme open borders...
Viewpoints: Push pause button on CodeNext until concerns are addressed

Viewpoints: Push pause button on CodeNext until concerns are addressed

With their recent actions to spend millions of dollars above the project’s original cost and plow on with a third draft of CodeNext in the face of mounting public skepticism, Austin City Council members are signaling that it’s more important to meet a self-imposed deadline than do due diligence and build public confidence. However well-intentioned, that is no way to tackle or complete...
Commentary: ‘Be prepared’ for bringing girls into Boys, Cub Scouts

Commentary: ‘Be prepared’ for bringing girls into Boys, Cub Scouts

This past week, the Boy Scouts of America announced that soon young girls would be allowed to join the Cub Scouts and, eventually, the Boy Scouts thereafter. Overall, the news has been received openly by some while resisted by others. More simply, the left has congratulated the BSA for joining the 21st century, while the right has scorned it for an overextension of political correctness. As a past...
PolitiFact: Is the Alamo a ‘disappointing landmark’

PolitiFact: Is the Alamo a ‘disappointing landmark’

A website intended to defend the master plan for spiffing up the Alamo says tourists remain far from wowed by the historically revered site. We were intrigued by this claim on the Alamo Truth site, which is funded by Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s political campaign: “The Alamo has been consistently listed as one of the most disappointing landmarks in our nation. … It...
Commentary: Why America will never see Trump’s border wall

Commentary: Why America will never see Trump’s border wall

The border wall remains the focus of the border security debate in Washington. Prototypes are reportedly under construction in San Diego, with the president recently going so far as to declare that he will pick out a wall design himself. Not to be left behind, Republicans in Congress recently proposed a new bill to begin funding a border wall. And this after the House included $1.6 billion for the...
Kelly, whose son died in combat, defends president’s call to Gold Star widow

Kelly, whose son died in combat, defends president’s call to Gold Star widow

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly unequivocally defended President Donald Trump's calls to the families of four fallen soldiers, on Thursday using his credibility as a retired general who lost a son on the battlefield to try to help his boss contain a public relations crisis.  In an extraordinary, emotional appearance in the White House briefing room, Kelly described in painful detail the...
Senate approves budget in crucial step forward for Republican tax cuts

Senate approves budget in crucial step forward for Republican tax cuts

The Senate approved the Republican-backed budget Thursday night, a major step forward for the GOP effort to enact tax cuts.  The budget's passage will allow the GOP to use a procedural maneuver to pass tax legislation through the Senate with 50 or more votes, removing the need for support from Democratic senators.  "Tonight, we completed the first step toward replacing our broken tax...
Federal judge refuses to erase Joe Arpaio’s conviction despite Trump pardon

Federal judge refuses to erase Joe Arpaio’s conviction despite Trump pardon

A federal judge on Thursday shot down former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's bid to sweep his criminal record clean.  Arpaio, the controversial former lawman in Arizona's Maricopa County, was granted a pardon by President Donald Trump on Aug. 25. He had been found in criminal contempt after a five-day bench trial earlier this year and faced the possibility of up to six months in jail. After the pardon,...
The Fed claims to be independent. That’s mostly a myth.

The Fed claims to be independent. That’s mostly a myth.

The Federal Reserve’s inner workings are a mystery to most Americans. Presidents can’t order it around, nor can Congress — that much is generally believed. Along with its reputation for independence, the Fed can seem economically omnipotent.  But in truth, our research shows, Fed independence is largely a myth.  With President Donald Trump having met with the Fed Chairwoman...
Senate votes to raise revenue by drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Senate votes to raise revenue by drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Senate rejected an amendment Thursday that sought to block a key panel from raising revenue through drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a move that could make it easier for future oil and gas drilling to take place there.  Sen. Maria Cantwell, Wash., the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, offered an budget amendment that would have removed instructions...
Senators demand online ad disclosures as tech lobby mobilizes

Senators demand online ad disclosures as tech lobby mobilizes

Sen. John McCain and two Democratic senators moved on Thursday to force Facebook, Google and other internet companies to disclose who is purchasing online political advertising, after revelations that Russian-linked operatives bought deceptive ads in the runup to the 2016 election with no disclosure required.  But the tech industry, which has worked to thwart previous efforts to mandate such...
Paul Ryan’s zingers at Trump spice up fundraiser

Paul Ryan’s zingers at Trump spice up fundraiser

When Paul Ryan, the House speaker, rose to deliver the keynote address at the Al Smith charity dinner Thursday night, he immediately let it be known that he wouldn’t shy away from jokes about a president who doesn’t react well to jokes.  “Enough with the applause,” he told the annual white-tie gathering of New York’s political and Catholic elite, which raises money...
Poll: 49% of Texans disapprove of Trump, but GOP support strong

Poll: 49% of Texans disapprove of Trump, but GOP support strong

Nearly half of Texans disapprove of Donald Trump’s performance as president, but Republicans overwhelmingly support him, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Thursday. Among Republicans, 79 percent said they approved of Trump’s performance, while 15 percent disapprove. The rest of the GOP respondents said they don’t know. Meanwhile, 92 percent of Democrats...
Appeals court halts, for now, abortion for teen immigrant in Texas

Appeals court halts, for now, abortion for teen immigrant in Texas

One day after a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to allow a teenage immigrant in the country without authorization to have an abortion in Texas, an appeals court temporarily blocked the order and set oral arguments for Friday morning on whether to allow the procedure to occur. The order by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia still allowed the 17-year-old to...
Early voting starts on 7 changes to Texas Constitution

Early voting starts on 7 changes to Texas Constitution

Early voting begins Monday for the chance to tack seven new amendments onto the Texas Constitution, which has already been amended 491 times since its birth in 1876, making it one of the longest such documents in the nation. The proposed amendment that has gained the most notice is Proposition 6, which would allow tax breaks for the spouses of police, firefighters and emergency workers killed in the...
Herman: Caution, free speech might offend you

Herman: Caution, free speech might offend you

It seems that some of our elected officials du jour (see Trump, Donald J., and Abbott, Gregory W.) sometimes have a problem with the whole free speech thing. So it’s comforting that one of our local appointed officials doesn’t. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, himself sometimes accused of courtroom free speechifying in ways that challenge some people’s sensibilities, did himself proud...
Commentary: Why I changed my mind on bringing guns to Texas colleges

Commentary: Why I changed my mind on bringing guns to Texas colleges

The recent implementation of Texas’ campus carry law allows people with a concealed handgun license to carry their handguns on college campuses. I once supported this law, but now that I am spending every day on a college campus in Texas, I can no longer say the same thing. My change of heart regarding campus carry was accelerated by the gruesome mass shooting in Las Vegas, which made me question...
UPDATED: Has Ted Cruz called Social Security a Ponzi scheme?

UPDATED: Has Ted Cruz called Social Security a Ponzi scheme?

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, insisted in a nationally cablecast debate this week that he’s not called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. If not, the fact-checking PolitiFact Texas project confirms, Cruz tiptoed darned close to saying so about six years past. A Ponzi scheme refers to an enterprise that generates returns for older investors by acquiring new investors. Eventually there isn’t...
Commentary: Why Trump’s pick for refugee office deserves more scrutiny

Commentary: Why Trump’s pick for refugee office deserves more scrutiny

The federal government’s relentless effort to prevent an unaccompanied minor from getting an abortion, even after a Texas state district judge has waived her need for a guardian’s consent, is shameful. Thankfully, on Wednesday, a federal district judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that federal agencies detaining the 17-year-old unauthorized immigrant cannot prevent her from having the abortion...
Is Trump violating the Constitution? In absentia, he defends himself in court

Is Trump violating the Constitution? In absentia, he defends himself in court

The defendant was elsewhere, stirring and twittering in his new city, his name rarely spoken — just the title sufficed — but always top of mind inside an overstuffed Manhattan courtroom.  “The president” is a businessman, the plaintiffs’ lawyer reminded the judge. “The president” refuses to leave the marketplace. This is hardly a fair fight, the logic...
5 takeaways from Xi Jinping’s marathon speech

5 takeaways from Xi Jinping’s marathon speech

As Xi Jinping’s first five-year term as China’s leader ends, he gave himself a shining report card on Wednesday — and a big to-do list for his next five years.  Speaking at the start of a Communist Party congress in Beijing, Xi gave a work report that summed up his achievements so far, while also laying out where he wants to take China in his second term, which starts after...
Russian socialite enters race to challenge Putin

Russian socialite enters race to challenge Putin

A young socialite and television journalist whose father was a close ally of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, declared her intention Wednesday to challenge him in the presidential election scheduled for next March, a move liable to split the already feeble liberal opposition.  The journalist, Ksenia A. Sobchak, 35, announced her presidential run in a video online on YouTube and also...
The Child Tax Credit is key to tax reform for many families

The Child Tax Credit is key to tax reform for many families

The tax reform framework released three weeks ago by the White House and Republican congressional leadership has lofty goals: Simplify the tax code; provide relief for middle-class families; cut taxes for businesses; end many narrowly focused special tax benefits; and keep the reformed tax code “at least as progressive” as the existing one.  Many of the policies proposed in the framework...
Protesters rally against travel ban

Protesters rally against travel ban

Muslim Americans had planned to gather in the nation's capital to protest President Donald Trump's latest travel ban on Wednesday, the day it was scheduled to go into effect.  But late Tuesday, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked its implementation, saying that it "plainly discriminates based on nationality." A federal judge in Maryland early Wednesday issued a second halt to portions...
Ousted members of Hutto’s economic panel under criminal investigation

Ousted members of Hutto’s economic panel under criminal investigation

Police are investigating spending by former members of the Hutto Economic Development Corporation after the Hutto City Council said an initial audit showed questionable expenditures. The expenses in question include trips to New Jersey to see the Dallas Cowboys play the New York Giants and for conferences in Alaska and New Orleans. City Manager Odis Jones said there was an investigation Thursday night...
Austin police to get more pay, more oversight in union agreement

Austin police to get more pay, more oversight in union agreement

Austin’s police union and City Hall labor relations staff burned the midnight oil Thursday before coming to an employment agreement for Austin cops that includes a pay increase and some union concessions on police investigations. The proposed agreement would extend the time limit on when Austin police can begin conducting internal affairs investigations, something local activists had called...
Senate candidate Roy Moore says kneeling during the anthem is against the law

Senate candidate Roy Moore says kneeling during the anthem is against the law

Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for the Senate in Alabama, said that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are breaking the law.  "It's against the law, you know that?" Moore said in an interview with Time magazine. "It was an act of Congress that every man stand and put their hand over their heart. That's the law."  Moore, a former chief justice of Alabama...
Trump cools on Senate plan for health care fix

Trump cools on Senate plan for health care fix

President Donald Trump on Wednesday backed away from his endorsement of a bipartisan Senate proposal to stabilize health insurance markets, throwing the legislative effort into doubt even as the chief architect of the deal predicted that it would become law before the end of the year.  The latest actions by the White House confused Republicans on Capitol Hill and irked Democrats — but in...
Second judge rules against latest travel ban, saying Trump’s own words show it was aimed at Muslims

Second judge rules against latest travel ban, saying Trump’s own words show it was aimed at Muslims

A federal judge in Maryland early Wednesday issued a second halt on the latest version of President Donald Trump's travel ban, asserting that the president's own comments on the campaign trail and on Twitter convinced him that the directive was akin to an unconstitutional Muslim ban.  U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang issued a somewhat less complete halt on the ban than his counterpart in...
‘Totally fabricated’: Trump disputes congresswoman’s depiction of his exchange with soldier’s widow

‘Totally fabricated’: Trump disputes congresswoman’s depiction of his exchange with soldier’s widow

President Donald Trump in a tweet Wednesday denied that he had told the widow of a soldier killed in an ambush in African this month that her husband "must have known what he signed up for."  The president was reacting to a Florida congresswoman saying the family of Sgt. La David T. Johnson was "astonished" by that remark during a phone call from Trump on Tuesday.  Rep...
Trump asks whether James Comey was truthful about Clinton probe

Trump asks whether James Comey was truthful about Clinton probe

President Donald Trump suggested Wednesday that former FBI director James Comey had intended to spare Democrat Hillary Clinton from prosecution "long before investigation was complete" into her government email practices.  In a pair of early-morning Twitter messages, Trump referred to a recently released Justice Department document that indicates a draft of a Comey statement about the...
Trump blasts NFL for not adopting a requirement that players stand during anthem

Trump blasts NFL for not adopting a requirement that players stand during anthem

President Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted the NFL, accusing the league of "total disrespect for our great country" following a meeting of team owners that did not adopt a requirement for players to stand during the national anthem.  Trump sparked a national controversy over the issue last month when he called on NFL owners to fire players who take a knee during the anthem, and teams...
Deal to shore up Obamacare faces big hurdles, including Trump

Deal to shore up Obamacare faces big hurdles, including Trump

Senators may have struck a bipartisan deal to prop up Obamacare's insurance exchanges, but it faces a tortuous path to becoming law.  As soon as the deal was announced Tuesday, the Trump administration was sending conflicting signals about the pact reached by Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, which also faces ambivalence from some Republican...
Trump tweets approval after health care stocks ‘plunged’

Trump tweets approval after health care stocks ‘plunged’

It is unlike President Donald Trump to cheer when stocks fall, but early on Saturday he did just that.  “Health insurance stocks, which have gone through the roof during the ObamaCare years, plunged yesterday after I ended their Dems windfall!” he tweeted.  On Thursday, the administration announced it would stop paying subsidies to health insurance companies that help cover costs...
Trump to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during Asian visit

Trump to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during Asian visit

President Donald Trump will meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a marathon trip to Asia next month, the White House announced Monday.  "The President's travel will underscore his commitment to long-standing United States alliances and partnerships, and reaffirm United States leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region," White House press secretary Sarah...
Bannon’s war on GOP could push tax overhaul over finish line

Bannon’s war on GOP could push tax overhaul over finish line

Here's a snapshot of the Republican Party's crisis of leadership: On Saturday, former White House adviser Stephen Bannon took the stage at the Values Voter Summit in Washington and exhorted conservative activists to join him in a war against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in order to unlock President Donald Trump's agenda. Also on Saturday, Trump reportedly called McConnell to coordinate...
Trump’s re-election campaign paid his son’s Russia-probe law firm $238,000

Trump’s re-election campaign paid his son’s Russia-probe law firm $238,000

President Donald Trump's re-election committee paid almost $238,000 in the third quarter to the law firm representing Donald Trump Jr. in connection with ongoing investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according campaign finance disclosures.  Trump's campaign made two payments — one in mid July, the other in early August -- to the law firm of Alan S. Futerfas, a lawyer...
Trump campaign legal bills topped $1 million last quarter

Trump campaign legal bills topped $1 million last quarter

President Donald Trump's reelection committee spent more than $1 million on legal bills last quarter as investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election pressed on through the summer, according to a disclosure filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission.  The filing shows the committee's "legal consulting" expenditures came to $1.1 million between July and September,...
Trump may have bolstered kneelers’ legal position

Trump may have bolstered kneelers’ legal position

The controversy over football players kneeling in protest during the national anthem could have simply remained a labor dispute within the NFL. But then President Donald Trump tweeted that tax breaks should be revoked for a league that disrespects "our Anthem, Flag and Country."  Those words threatening government action to financially penalize the league injected a new dimension into...
Inside the ‘adult day-care center’: How aides try to control and coerce Trump

Inside the ‘adult day-care center’: How aides try to control and coerce Trump

During the campaign, when President Donald Trump's team wanted him to stop talking about a certain issue — such as when he attacked a Gold Star military family — they sometimes presented him with polls demonstrating how the controversy was harming his candidacy.  During the transition, when aides needed Trump to decide on a looming issue or appointment, they often limited him to a...
CodeNext: Is Austin doing enough to reach out to non-English speakers?

CodeNext: Is Austin doing enough to reach out to non-English speakers?

Inside the auditorium of Hart Elementary School in Northeast Austin on Wednesday, Abbas Arkawazi was diligently interpreting a city of Austin Planning and Zoning staffer’s presentation in real time into Arabic. As CodeNext project manager Jorge Rousselin went through how the proposed codes have changed in CodeNext’s most recent draft — the transition to a more unified code name scheme...
PolitiFact: Taxes, but not tax rate, expected to rise with school bond

PolitiFact: Taxes, but not tax rate, expected to rise with school bond

A handout urging voter support for a proposed $1.05 billion Austin school district bond issue on the November ballot singles out the need to repair and renovate schools averaging 40 years of age and a desire to modernize or build 16 schools. Moreover, the handout from the Committee of Austin’s Children PAC says: “Did you know? AISD Prop. 1 bonds will require no tax rate increase,&rdquo...
Nate Boyer, ex-Green Beret and NFL player, pens letter to Trump, Kaepernick

Nate Boyer, ex-Green Beret and NFL player, pens letter to Trump, Kaepernick

Ex-Green Beret and former Seattle Seahawks long-snapper took a central role when Colin Kaepernick began his protest during the national anthem and with that issue now dividing the country, he’s doing so again. Boyer penned an open letter published by ESPN on Friday that to President Donald Trump, Kaepernick, the NFL and every other American laying out a plan for action...
Trump cuts to Obamacare enrollment groups deeper than expected

Trump cuts to Obamacare enrollment groups deeper than expected

The Trump administration is cutting tens of millions of dollars from organizations that help Americans enroll in Obamacare health plans, leaving some of the groups scrambling to shrink their operations weeks before enrollment for 2018 coverage opens on Nov. 1.  The organizations, called navigators, say the funding cuts have been arbitrary, opaque and don't follow the Trump administration's stated...
European leaders warn that Trump is wrong on the Iran nuclear deal

European leaders warn that Trump is wrong on the Iran nuclear deal

In a decision that could deepen the transatlantic rift, President Donald Trump may "decertify" the Iran nuclear deal on Friday, or later this week ahead of a Sunday deadline. Trump previously called the 2015 agreement disastrous and has argued that it isn't in the United States' best interests, though he did reluctantly certify Iran's compliance in the past.  The deal's decertification...
Trump rips the NFL for disrespecting flag. Then jokes about a military flag ceremony.

Trump rips the NFL for disrespecting flag. Then jokes about a military flag ceremony.

After he had repeatedly railed against professional athletes over perceived slights to the American flag and military, President Donald Trump joked on Wednesday about a bugle call that is part of the armed forces' time-honored tradition of showing respect for the Stars and Stripes.  The bugle call occurred during Trump's interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, conducted in an airplane hangar...
Kelly seeks to tamp down rumors he’s unhappy working for Trump and on his way out

Kelly seeks to tamp down rumors he’s unhappy working for Trump and on his way out

On more than one occasion, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been spotted with his head down, arms crossed and his face locked in a steely expression that many an observer has interpreted as physical evidence of his exasperation at serving under President Donald Trump.  Rumors that the former Marine general is not long for a job he took only a few short months ago persist.  But on...
Pro sports teams were once reliable patrons of Trump’s hotels. Not anymore.

Pro sports teams were once reliable patrons of Trump’s hotels. Not anymore.

Until recently, the Trump SoHo hotel served as a kind of luxe clubhouse for NBA teams visiting New York.  At least 12 teams — more than a third of the league — had stayed there since it opened in 2010. The players loved it so much they became walking ads for the Trump brand: Superstar Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder praised the hotel in the press. Toronto Raptors all-star...
Trump to end ACA subsidies

Trump to end ACA subsidies

President Donald Trump is throwing a bomb into the insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act, choosing to end critical payments to health insurers that help millions of lower-income Americans afford coverage. The decision follows an executive order on Thursday to allow alternative health plans that skirt the law's requirements.  The White House confirmed late Thursday that...
Analysis: 5 reasons that Trump hates the Iran deal

Analysis: 5 reasons that Trump hates the Iran deal

In this occasional series, we will bring you up to speed on the biggest national security stories of the week.  President Donald Trump hasn't been shy expressing his distaste for the Iran nuclear deal negotiated under his predecessor. He has called the 2015 agreement disastrous, horrible, and one-sided, and he has vowed to get rid of it or renegotiate the terms. Trump has already given his approval...
Rep. Al Green files impeachment articles against Trump

Rep. Al Green files impeachment articles against Trump

Houston Democrat Al Green filed an impeachment resolution on the House floor Wednesday, making official his recent calls that Congress take action against President Donald Trump.  However he was not present to vote on the impeachment articles.  Among the grounds for Green's impeachment bid was Trump's response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. as well as...
The president has long talked about scrapping NAFTA. Even skeptics are starting to believe him.

The president has long talked about scrapping NAFTA. Even skeptics are starting to believe him.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, long disparaged by President Donald Trump as bad for the United States, was edging closer toward collapse as negotiators gathered for a fourth round of contentious talks here this week.  In recent weeks, the Trump administration has sparred with American businesses that support NAFTA and has pushed for significant changes that negotiators from Mexico and...
Kelly aide picked to lead Homeland Security Dept.

Kelly aide picked to lead Homeland Security Dept.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he intended to name Kirstjen Nielsen, a top White House aide, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, elevating a former homeland security official in the George W. Bush administration who has lately worked to impose order in Trump’s chaotic West Wing.  Trump announced his choice in a statement that noted Nielsen’s “extensive professional...
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