United States Senate

The LBJ School of Public Affairs announced this week Thomas O’Donnell as the inaugural director for the new LBJ Washington Center.

In the past, O’Donnell has worked in the White House, the U.S. Senate and the Human Rights Campaign.

“My goal is to create an outpost for UT at Washington D.C.,” O’Donnell said in a statement. 

Beninning in fall 2015, the LBJ School will provide an 18-month federal policy master’s degree curriculum, which will involve six months of graduate school coursework at the Washington Center and an opportunity to be involved in federal policy making.

“Our goal is to follow what President Lyndon B. Johnson once dreamed, which is to involve people from Texas and other parts of the country who want to contribute to public policy,” O’Donnell said.

In addition, O’Donnell said the Washington Center will provide this platform of student engagement in public policy by pursuing extended research, workshops and speaker series, among other activities.

“We want to produce more public leaders at a federal level,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell served as a U.S. Senate chief of staff, managing both national and state offices and as a liaison to the White House and executive branch.

“We are pleased to have such an experienced and proven professional lead our Washington Center and join us in empowering the next generation of leaders to take on national leadership roles,” said Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School, in a statement. “At this time of great change around the world and growing concern about the effectiveness of government, the LBJ Washington Center represents our call to action to advance a new generation of skilled and committed leaders. [O’Donnell] will be essential to the execution of that call to action.”

O’Donnell said the LBJ Washington Center will train future policy makers by playing an open role in the national policy discourse and debate.

“After 20 years in the federal public policy arena, I understand the need for aspiring young policy professionals to be equipped not only with solid theoretical thinking, but also with practical policy skills,” O’Donnell said.

Amid all the talk of the gubernatorial and the lieutenant governor campaigns, as well as the competitive local primaries, it is easy to lose track of the many other important positions Texans will be voting on at the polls this year. 

Perhaps the most underrated of these contests is the race for the U.S. Senate. With fiercely competitive primaries for both the Democratic and Republican candidates, the two primaries thus far have nearly descended into a theater of the absurd. Particularly in the case of the Democratic primary, the major candidates have taken to attacking one another and focusing on unrelated issues such as endorsements from state senators rather than debating policy or zeroing in on the incumbent. The three major candidates, David Alameel, Michael Fjetland and Maxey Scherr, are doing this at the expense of productive campaigning against Senator Cornyn.

By most accounts, winning the Republican primary in this State nearly assures victory in the general election, while whoever captures the Democratic primary will face quite the uphill battle come November. Accordingly, it is both counterproductive and unwise for the Democratic candidates to focus on anything other than the incumbent, Sen. John Cornyn.

But, instead, candidate Maxey Scherr, an attorney from El Paso, has focused on the state’s other senator, Ted Cruz. 

“Texas is on ‘Cruz Control,’” Scherr recently stated in an online advertisement. “Ted Cruz is the epitome of everything that’s wrong with Washington, and John Cornyn is along for the ride. He’s on autopilot, voting the way Ted Cruz wants him to. If Texas stays on ‘Cruz Control,’ we’re headed for a wreck.” 

Scherr has even made a point of referencing controversial comments made by Cruz — and by Cruz alone — as a major reason for the campaign.

Scherr and another Democratic candidate, David Alameel, a dentist and multi-millionaire businessman from the Dallas area, have also sparred over the Alameel’s progressive credentials. Alameel has donated thousands of dollars to Republican candidates, and, according to unconfirmed reports, he embraced anti-abortion positions during a previous campaign for Congress. Oddly enough, Cornyn, the man against whom Alameel may run in the general election, is among the Republicans to whom Alameel has previously donated.

“David Alameel, the alleged Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, has bankrolled the anti-choice Republican agenda for years,” Scherr said. “He has given $1.6 million to the Republicans who oppose Roe v. Wade and vote to erode a woman’s right to choose at every turn.” 

Scherr expressed shock and indignation at Alameel’s support for other Republicans, including Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sens. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, and Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. 

Alameel, for his part, refused comment to me — or everyone else, for that matter — on these topics. Indeed, he has not sat down for interviews with major newspapers, nor has he answered questions from Democratic grassroots organizations and panels. At the recent endorsement meeting of the University Democrats (which, I should note, I am a member of), a representative of Alameel’s campaign refused to take any questions from the audience. Alameel is not talking about Cornyn in this race; instead, all he is talking about is his high-profile endorsements from state Sens. Wendy Davis, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, and Leticia Van de Putte, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.

Michael Fjetland, an attorney and businessman from Houston and the third major candidate in the primary, similarly, had no qualms about taking shots against his opponents. Fjetland, said that Scherr — whom he called a “young labor lawyer” — would not “make a big impression” in the general election. Similarly, he bemoaned Alameel’s recent tailwind in the primary, saying, “there isn’t enough money to buy a Texas election” — an obvious jab at Alameel’s heavy spending in his previous contest.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate will face an enormously uphill battle to defeat two-term incumbent Cornyn, arguably the second most powerful Republican in the senate. Given that all these candidates are political novices with a high chance of being ignored by the media, perhaps it will be even more uphill than in previous cycles.

Cornyn is not, by any means, a moderate Republican. Whether his ultra-conservatism has been best exemplified by opposition to routine Cabinet nominations or a stand against renewal of the Violence against Women Act, Sen. Cornyn is often one of just a handful of senators on the extreme right-wing of American politics. There are plenty of opportunities for the Democratic opposition to critique him. Instead, they have sadly decided to run down one another instead.

Horwitz is a government junior from Houston.

US Senate passes student loan deal

The United States Senate passed a bipartisan agreement Wednesday on student loan rates, nearly a month after the July 1 deadline.

Student interest rates for subsidized loans hiked from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, after the July deadline because of the struggle for a Senate agreement.

The legislation now puts undergraduate Stafford loan rates at 3.86 percent, graduate Stafford loans at 5.4 percent as well as parent and graduate student PLUS loans at 6.4 percent. According to ABC, this will apply retroactively to loans issued after the deadline.

Politico reported these new rates would come with interest rates cap, allowing rate to increase without exceeding a set limit of 8.5 percent for undergraduates, 9.5 percent for graduates and 10.5 for PLUS loans.

It came to a 81-18 vote, with Democrats split on the bill.

Follow Christine Ayala on Twitter @christine_ayala.

UT government professor Sean Theriault argues in his new book, “The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress,“ that the delay in senate processes is due to a small group of senators, which has created a more hyper-partisan atmosphere in the United States Senate. 

This has resulted in a slower process of passing bills, according to Theriault. He said he arrived at this argument through years of researching, after writing two previous books on the United States Congress. Theriault said he wanted to figure out how the United States House of Representatives practices blocking or promoting legislation flowed into the Senate after 1978. 

Through his research, he identified Republicans who moved from the House to the Senate as the ones who brought hyper-partisian attitudes. The move began in 1978 when Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, was first elected to Congress.

The current senators today who he calls “Gingerich Senators” include Rick Santorum, Jim Inhofe and Tom Corbett.

Theriault said he came to his conclusion by looking at roll call votes and who was sponsoring amendments, following Gingrich’s lead. His research went so far as to figure which senators participated in a secret Santa tradition and frequently appeared on Sunday morning talk show aimed at specific demographics.

“In both parties, 70 percent of members participated, but within this group of senators the number is 20 percent,” Theriault said.

UT government professor Brian Jones said he agreed with the book, and believes representatives serving with Gingrich in the House were later elected to the Senate, and brought with them a dimissive attitude from the House.

“This is a fine book bringing a very different perspective to legislative analysis,” Jones said. “It will be read and discussed by political scientists and any and all interested in American legislative politics.”

Theriault said in order for the United States to break away from the effect of the Gingrich Senators, the public needs to elect representatives who are problem solvers, rather than those who only have ideals that are similar to their own.

But not everyone believes the Senate has become more hyper-partisan. UT College Republicans President Danny Zeng said it comes down to perception. 

“The media defines what is more conservative and what is more liberal,” Zeng said. 

Theriault said he is currently working on a textbook about the role of the Tea Party in the United States.

The U.S. Senate will soon vote on a law that would gravely undermine Americans’ privacy and give expanded, unbridled surveillance authority over people’s emails to more than 22 government agencies.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has capitulated to law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Justice Department, and is sponsoring a bill that authorizes widespread warrantless access to Americans’ emails, as well as files on Google Docs, direct messages on Twitter and so on, without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge. 

Leahy’s bill would only require the federal agencies to issue a subpoena, not obtain a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause. It also would permit state and local law enforcement to access Americans’ correspondence stored on systems not offered to the public, including university networks, without warrants.

Even in situations that would still require a search warrant, the proposed law would excuse law enforcement officers from obtaining a warrant (and being challenged later in court) if they claim an “emergency” situation.

Not only that, but a provider would have to notify law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell its customers they’ve been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena. The agency then could order the provider to delay notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3-10 business days or, in some cases, up to 360 days.

Agencies that would receive civil subpoena authority for electronic communications include the Federal Reserve, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Maritime Commission, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Mine Enforcement Safety and Health Review Commission. There is no good legal reason why agencies like these need blanket access to people’s personal information with a mere subpoena, rather than a warrant.

One might expect better of Leahy given his liberal credentials, but his performance has been quite disappointing.  In fact, he had a hand in making the USA PATRIOT Act bill less protective of civil liberties. Nor has the Obama administration been helpful in this regard — quite to the contrary. Expectations of  law enforcement types might not be as high in terms of protecting civil liberties, but they should not be as unsatisfactory as they are with proponents of constitutional freedoms.  

The revelations about how the FBI perused former CIA Director David Petraeus’ emails without a warrant should alarm us all as people who have less power and prestige than he did.

If the Fourth Amendment is to have any meaning, it is that police must obtain a search warrant, backed by probable cause, before reading Americans’ emails or other communications. If we are to preserve our constitutional protection from warrantless searches that are not reviewed by the courts, we need to let our U.S. senators from Texas hear from us immediately and resoundingly.

We cannot allow the government to undermine our rights bit by bit, even in the name of national security, which too often is the justification the government so casually uses.  As Ben Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Ramirez is Chairman and CEO of the International Bank of Commerce-Zapata and Harrington serves as director of the Texas Civil Rights Project and an adjunct professor at the UT School of Law.

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Ted Cruz, left, and his wife Heidi celebrate during a victory speech Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Houston.
Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz scored an unsurprising victory over Democrat Paul Sadler, becoming the first Hispanic to represent Texas in the Senate.

Cruz, a self-described “constitutional conservative” backed by the Tea Party, was a strong favorite to win the Senate seat throughout the race. A poll from the University of Texas and The Texas Tribune released last month showed Cruz with a 16-point lead over Sadler, 55 percent to 39 percent. Texas has not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.

The race between Cruz and Sadler, a former state legislator and attorney, was relatively quiet in the months leading up to the election in comparison to the heated Republican primaries earlier this year. During the race, Sadler raised nearly $359,000 between July and September, a low figure compared to the $3.5 million Cruz raised.

Cruz will take over the seat vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas’ senior statewide officeholder, who has been representing Texas in the Senate for more than 17 years. Hutchinson, who in 1993 became the first woman to represent Texas in the Senate, announced in January of last year she would not seek re-election in 2012.

If elected, Cruz pledged to do away with President Barack Obama’s health care reform and to lower the amount of spending in Washington. He also denounced Obama’s deferred action for undocumented youth and opposes the DREAM Act, legislation that would legalize certain young, undocumented immigrants.
Cruz also favors strict voter ID laws that require voters to show identification. According to his website, Cruz will aim to pass a balanced budget amendment and reduce government size and spending during his term.

During the Republican primaries in July, Cruz was able to score a surprising victory over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who was considered the race’s frontrunner throughout the majority of the primary. Despite having never run for public office and being relatively unknown in Texas, Cruz decided to take on Dewhurst, who spent $19 million of his own money on his campaign and had the support of several Texas Republicans, including Gov. Rick Perry.

During his campaign to win the primary, Cruz was backed by the Tea Party and drew support from former U.S vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and money from national conservative groups.

Cruz is the former Solicitor General of Texas and was the first Hispanic to hold that position. He has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court, among which he successfully defended the Ten Commandments monument on the Texas State Capitol grounds and the recitation of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. Cruz is also a former adjunct law professor at the University of Texas, where he taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation.

When Kay Bailey Hutchison, the senior U.S. Senator from Texas, retires at the end of this legislative session, we will have a front-row seat to a marked shift in the Texas Republican Party. Likely to replace her is Republican nominee Ted Cruz, a Tea Party favorite who currently leads his opponent, Democrat Paul Sadler, by nearly a 2-1 margin. While both the senator and her likely successor are Republicans, a comparison of Hutchison’s legislative record with Cruz’s goals highlights the contrast between them.

Hutchison, a former UT cheerleader who graduated at 19 and obtained a law degree five years later, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1993. During her 19 years in that office, Hutchison stood with the GOP on most issues, voting with the majority of Republicans almost 90 percent of the time, according to The Washington Post. She invariably supported the oil and gas industry at the expense of environmental protection, and voted for an outright constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. She also voted to exclude sexual orientation from hate crimes criteria. However, her breaks with recent trends in the Republican Party show that she isn’t as through-and-through conservative as many of her colleagues.

Hutchison’s voting record presents a mixed bag on the issue of abortion. She consistently voted for strict restrictions on abortion and contraceptives, but supported Roe v. Wade and repeatedly voted against efforts to prohibit the practice altogether. In a 1993 Senate debate, she argued for restricted but legal abortions up to the third trimester, saying, “I’m not for abortion … The question is, should I make that decision for you, and that’s where I come down on the other side.” In 2003, she told the Dallas Morning News, “I’ve always said that I think that women should have the ability to make that decision, even if I disagree with it.”

The most striking departure from others in her party, however, was her openness toward government spending. In contrast to the Republican holy war on earmarked funds, a major talking point for some Republicans, Hutchison unabashedly sought a great deal of pork barrel government money for her home state. In 2008 and 2009 alone, she claimed almost half a billion dollars in earmarks for spending in Texas and was outspoken in her support of the practice. “I’m proud of being able to garner Texans’ fair share of their tax dollars,” she said in 2009.
Hutchison has also enthusiastically supported federal funding for higher education in Texas. Her website proudly proclaims that  she “has worked to move Texas from sixth in the nation in federal research funding to third.”

That friendly view toward government spending combined with her relatively moderate stance on abortion crippled Hutchison in a 2010 run for Texas governor. Although she was the early frontrunner by a large margin, incumbent governor Rick Perry succeeded in portraying her as a pro-choice, liberal spender and himself as a fiscally and socially conservative alternative to retain the governor’s office for another term. Hutchison had difficulty adapting to an electorate that had turned from predominantly moderate “country club Republicans” to right-wing ideologues, and she lost big. That defeat was more or less the end of her career on the national stage.

Two years later, Hutchison has confirmed her long-rumored retirement and opened up her seat for the next generation. Tea Party Republican Ted Cruz is the overwhelming favorite after his defeat of the GOP establishment’s preferred candidate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in the Republican primary. Cruz, by finding room to the right of the Republican leadership in one of the reddest states in the country, represents a new breed of conservative. Unlike Hutchison, he supports a repeal of Roe v. Wade, calling it a “shameful decision,” and opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest. He also proposes the complete elimination of the Department of Education, which would end federal financial aid for college students. Furthermore, Texas can kiss the gravy train of government spending it enjoyed under Hutchison goodbye. In a recent interview with Texas Monthly, Cruz said, “I am absolutely opposed to earmarks. When 435 members of Congress and all 100 members of the Senate go to Washington and view their jobs as feeding at the public trough, that’s how we bankrupt our country, and I don’t think Texans want their senator to be part of that.”

Being a fiscal conservative is one thing, and earmarked spending can certainly be taken too far, but completely cutting off federal support for states and students in a weak economy makes no sense.

It’s a shame that Hutchison is retiring, because she’s the kind of senator Texas needs right now. As she rides into the sunset, a less open-minded generation of Republicans takes her place. That means all the federal spending that brought jobs and growth to Texas, and much-needed help to students, will soon be a thing of the past. That should be cause for concern.

Texas Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith speaks with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library Monday evening. Hutchison, a senior Republican senator and a UT alumna, stated her desire to see higher education improve in Texas in the next few years without cutting the funds for academic research.

Photo Credit: Fanny Trang | Daily Texan Staff

As her 19 years in the United States Senate come to a close, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison reflected on a career of public service and offered her take on higher education at the LBJ Presidential Library on Monday evening.

Hutchison, the senior Republican senator from Texas and a UT alumna, participated in a discussion with Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune. On several occasions Hutchison said quality higher education is necessary for Texas to compete in the global economy. An official said 450 people attended the event.

“For Texas, I want our state to be known and respected as a high-quality academic higher education-providing state,” Hutchison said. “I think the number of major companies that move here want an educated workforce. They want the research capabilities to do public-private partnerships and have great research, and they want students who have been around great research and great programs.”

Last year, Gov. Rick Perry challenged colleges and universities to develop degrees that cost no more than $10,000. Proponents of the $10,000 degree, including the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a nonprofit conservative think tank with ties to Perry, have also questioned the efficiency of research in higher education.

At the event, Hutchison said research plays a necessary and valuable role at major universities in Texas.

“I think that any talk of devaluing research is not productive and it is hurting our image,” Hutchison said. “We need to say, ‘Look, I’m not against experimenting with 4-year, $10,000 degrees, but you don’t do it at flagships.’”

Hutchison was first elected in 1993, making her the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate. After three consecutive re-elections, Hutchison announced in 2011 that she would not seek another term. Republican candidate Ted Cruz and Democratic candidate Paul Sadler are currently running to fill Hutchison’s seat.

History junior Taylor Guerrero said she hopes Hutchison’s successor will learn from her willingness to work across party lines.

“I think the next senator should be able to work in a bipartisan manner and to represent Texas the best that they can instead of just representing a certain percentage of Texans,” Guerrero said.

Hutchison said she has no plans to seek public office again but will continue to advocate the issues that matter most to her and to the state of Texas. Hutchison said one of those issues is seeing more universities in Texas gain Tier One status, which identifies schools with significant research programs but has no concrete definition.

“California has nine, New York has seven and we have three,” Hutchison said. “That’s not enough. We need to have three more, and we need to put the money into three more.”

Texas’ current Tier One schools are UT-Austin, A&M University and Rice University.

The crowd at the event included those not politically aligned with Hutchison.

“I decided to come out because of my interest in politics,” government senior Justin Perez said. “Even though I’m a Democrat, I think it’s important to hear what others have to say.”

Printed on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 as: Sen. set on education

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Paul Sadler and Republican candidate Ted Cruz bypassed policy discussion in favor of fierce accusations Tuesday evening, said a UT student who watched the debate.

The two Senate candidates, vying for the position left open after Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s announcement of her retirement, participated in the first of two debates, where they discussed the role of government in society, taxes, health care reform and immigration. Most of the debate, however, involved repeated interruptions and accusations thrown from both sides.

Danny Zeng, communications director for College Republicans, said he was disappointed that the debate did not include a more substantive discussion of the issues that mattered.

“I think it’s one of those debates where voters don’t learn anything,” Zeng said. “It’s really more of a theatrical event than anything.”

Sadler, who served as a state representative from 1991 to 2003, criticized Cruz for not agreeing to participate in more than two televised debates.

“What are you afraid of, Ted?” Sadler asked. “The bottom line is that you know that I know you don’t know enough about government.”

Cruz, a former Texas solicitor general, said there are problems with the current presidential administration.

“I do think that part of the philosophy of President Obama and this administration is trying to get as many Americans as possible dependent on government so the Democrats can stay in power in perpetuity,” Cruz said.

On the topic of job creation, Sadler said Cruz’s lack of experience outside of government made him less qualified to spur job growth once in office.

“You have worked for the government,” Sadler said. “You haven’t created jobs. You haven’t owned a small business. I have.”

Associate government professor Sean Theriault said it would require an unforeseen development to make the Senate race competitive.

“If the race isn’t shaken up, it’s going to be Ted Cruz in a landslide,” Theriault said. “Sadler’s got to change the race dynamic in some meaningful way so that people who aren’t paying attention start paying attention. And even if they start paying attention, he still has a lot of work to do.”

Leslie Tisdale, president of University Democrats, said voters should look beyond party affiliation when assessing the two Senate candidates.

“Voters really just need to look at the two candidates individually instead of just looking at parties, and in this case one candidate, Paul Sadler, is obviously more qualified and more prepared for the position,” Tisdale said.

The candidates will meet again in a second debate Oct. 19.

Editor’s note: On Oct. 2, U.S. Senate candidates Paul Sadler (D) and Ted Cruz (R) had their first televised debate. After arguing about how many more debates the pair would have before the Nov. election, Cruz and Sadler discussed economic philosophy, the national budget and health care. No mention was made of Texas college students. The best quotes follow, and more are available at dailytexanonline.com

On economic philosophy:
C: I do think part of the philosophy of President Obama and this administration is trying to get as many Americans as possible dependent on government so that the Democrats can stay in power in perpetuity.

C: Most Americans don’t want to stay dependent on the government. They want to work for the American dream they want to work to provide for themselves and their families and I think that’s why the Obama administration’s objective of essentially using bread and circuses to make as many people as possible dependent on government to keep voting Democrat is not succeeding, because Americans want to stand on their own two feet.

S: That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. You’re seriously accusing the president of using a government program to manipulate people to not get a job to be dependent on the government for services. Are you really accusing the president of the United States of that? That’s just crazy, Ted.

C: What Texans are looking for — what is inherent, I think, in the ethos of Texans is we’re not looking for a handout. We’re looking for the opportunity to stand on our own two feet, to be entrepreneurs.

On balancing the national budget:
S: We actually doubled our national debt under George W. Bush ­— when you were working for him, I believe. Whenever we had a war in Iraq and Afghanistan under the Bush tax cuts we doubled our national debt under George W. Bush. We continued adding to it under the Obama years, but we had to continue and deal with the Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts that were never paid for.

S: Where we’re going to have to look at all of those tax cuts and a lot of our national debt, we have, to one, balance our budget, we have to cut spending where we can, we’re going to hope our economy continues to grow but we’re going to have to look at additional revenue sources to retire our national debt which is at $16 trillion. … At the appropriate time we have to look and analyze at every one of those Bush tax cuts and figure out one, how does it impact the economy? Number two, will it generate revenue we can dedicate to pay down our national debt.

C: I actually will commend Mr. Sadler — he’s running a campaign with a great deal of courage because he’s running an unapologetically liberal campaign. He’s running in support of raising taxes and he’s running in support of a host of liberal views, and I commend him for his candor in that. I don’t think those are the values of most Texans, so I’m curious, Mr. Sadler, which Texans would you raise taxes on and which would you not raise taxes on?

C: I do not believe we should raise taxes. I do not believe the problem is that Americans aren’t being taxed enough.

On foreign policy:
S: You don’t cut off foreign aid, particularly in a country where they’ve got a fledgling government being formed … it’s time for us to stop a hold on that aid because it’s in our best interest to stay involved. If we don’t stay involved in those governments then Russia and china and other countries in the world will be and so I don’t think you cut off the aid.

C: This is another area of clear disagreement. I don’t think we should be funding those who are behaving contrary to our interests. I think the only justification for continuing that aid or any portion of that aid is if it protects the vital national security interests of the United States so I think we should be using the aid as extensive leverage to protect our national security interests. I don’t think we should just be writing a blank check.

On Obama’s refusal to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

S: I think the president … you just slandered our president and you don’t even know what his schedule is.

On health care reform:

C: “I think Obamacare was rammed through in a brazen display of arrogance. It was clear that it was contrary to the strong views of the majority of the American people, and it is the only major piece of social legislation in modern times to have been passed on a strictly partisan vote only by Democrats.”

C: “I think health care reform should follow a couple principles. Number one: it should expand competition, expand the use of the marketplace. Number two: it should empower patients and consumers and disempower government bureaucrats.”

S: “You’re going to give all [Obamacare’s] benefits away so that you can make political points against the president, and that’s not good for Texas and it’s not good for the United States. Worse, it shows a real fundamental lack of understanding of the process.”

On illegal immigration:

S: “Our border is a great economic engine for our state. It is a great, diverse cultural region, and we simply cannot stick our head in the sand any longer. We need to secure our border — that’s our sovereign right, and we should do that, and we have the ability to do that.”

S: “We should have already passed the DREAM Act for these children in this state who through no fault of their own are here, but have no country. All they want is the American dream. Ted likes to talk about liberty, but he only wants liberty for people he agrees with.”

C: “Mr. Sadler supports amnesty for those here illegally; I do not.”

C: My approach to immigration is that it should be a staged approach. I think the first priority is we’ve got to get serious about securing our border and stopping illegal immigration. And sadly, I don’t think either party has been serious about immigration. I think we need to remain a nation that doesn’t just welcome, that celebrates, legal immigrants.”

On gun control:

S: “Do you even own a gun, Ted? Do you hunt?”

C: “I want to know, is it true or false that as a state legislator, you voted against our concealed carry law in the state of Texas?”

S: “I voted against the concealed weapons law because I didn’t want my 95-year-old step-grandmother, who carries a pistol, to be a felon.”

On their friendship:
C: “I’m sorry, Mr. Sadler, that you think I’m a troll.”