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Four Texas Congressmen Vote Against $15 Billion Harvey Aid Package: Your Roundup

Plus: The Texans and Cowboys have drastically different season openers, a tragic mass shooting in Plano, and Ted Cruz pays a visit to flood-stricken Southeast Texas.

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“The way of life you love the most will carry on. You taught us that. Your courage and care continue to inspire our whole city. We couldn’t be more proud to call you our neighbors, our friends, and our family. Texas forever. We’re with you.”

—The city of New Orleans to Houston. The full letter was published in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday.



Joe Raedle/Getty

Helping Hand
President Donald Trump signed a bill that will send $15 billion in aid toward Harvey recovery on Friday, after the U.S. House and Senate agreed on a measure packaging the disaster relief with an extension on the federal debt ceiling, according to the Washington Post. Before the aid bill landed on Trump’s desk, it passed a final House vote on Friday morning, 316 to 90. All ninety nay-votes were Republican, and four of them were Texans. U.S. Representatives Joe Barton of Ennis, Jeb Hensarling of Dallas, Sam Johnson of Richardson and Mac Thornberry of Clarendon voted no, citing the debt ceiling part of the package. As the Texas Tribune notes, none of those guys represent counties that were in the direct path of the storm or fell within FEMA’s disaster declaration after Harvey. “I am not against voting for relief programs to help hurricane victims, but I am against raising the public debt ceiling without a plan to reduce deficits in the short term, and eliminate them in the long term,” Barton said in a statement, according to the Tribune. “The money we vote to spend today will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren.” Thornberry, meanwhile, said he felt the short-term government funding measure would hurt the military, which is why he voted no. The four Texans were among a pack of Republicans who voted against the package, after Trump brokered a deal for the short-limit debt increase with House Democrats on Wednesday. But other Texas representatives looked past the debt ceiling debate. “While I am extremely disappointed this relief package was tied to a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) and debt ceiling increase—without any meaningful reforms—it is absolutely critical that these folks get the relief they so desperately need,” U.S. Representative Brian Babin, a Republican from Woodville, said in a statement after the vote.


Football’s Back
The NFL had its first full slate of games this Sunday to kick off the new season, and the season openers for Texas’s two teams went in very different directions. The Houston Texans played the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, in what looked like a relatively soft matchup. But Houston lost 29-7 with a weak performance. Starting quarterback Tom Savage was benched after completing just seven of thirteen passes for 62 yards and getting sacked six times, forcing the Texans to insert 2017 first-round draft pick Deshaun Watson, who played a little better but was sacked four times himself. The Cowboys, meanwhile, had a primetime matchup against the New York Giants on Sunday night, and with a federal judge ruling on Friday to halt the six-game suspension facing star running back Ezekiel Elliott, things were already looking up before kick off. Elliott ran for 104 yards in a solid 19-3 win, while quarterback Dak Prescott impressed in the first game of his second season, throwing for 268 yards and a touchdown without any interceptions. Veteran Cowboys tight end Jason Witten also made seven catches for 59 yards, breaking Michael Irvin’s franchise record for all-time receiving yards.

Tragic Shooting
At least seven people are dead and two wounded after a mass shooting inside a Plano home on Sunday night. Police haven’t released many details as of early Monday morning, but here’s what we know so far, according to the Dallas Morning News: Police were called to the home at about 8 p.m. after reports of gunshots, and a responding officer heard more gunfire as he was arriving. When the officer got inside the house, he saw several victims and “engaged the suspect,” fatally shooting the gunman, Plano Police Department spokesman David Tilley told the Morning News.”I’ve been here all my life,” Tilley added, “I’ve never heard of anything like this.” The victims were apparently watching the Dallas Cowboys game when the shooting happened. Police have not released their identities but the victims were all adults. The two wounded victims were hospitalized, but their conditions were unclear.

Ted’s In Town
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz visited over the weekend some of the cities in Southeast Texas and along the Coastal Bend that were hit hardest by Harvey, stopping by Beaumont, Refugio, Port Aransas, and Victoria, prompting the New York Times to declare the evolution of Ted Cruz. As the Times writes, Cruz’s presidential election defeat “has spawned a kinder, gentler ‘Cruz 2.0,'” and that was apparently on full display as he visited storm victims and volunteers. Cruz seemed impressed with what he saw, and the Times was likewise pretty impressed with Cruz: “He has toured flood zones with local officials (‘We saw an alligator swimming across Clay Road’), removed drywall from a damaged home with his family (‘Caroline, the nine-year-old, we discovered, can wield a mean hammer’), greeted Coast Guard heroes with dazzling torsos. ‘Almost every one of them ripped,’ he marveled on the Senate floor, holding for dramatic pauses pregnant enough to require bed rest. ‘These are guys that know their way around a weight room.’ He has served chili to the suddenly homeless inside a Houston convention center, wearing a hairnet that aides quickly insisted he cover with a baseball cap. He has embraced congregants at a black church in Port Arthur. He has hugged liberally.” It remains to be seen if Cruz will continue with the liberal hugging after his return to Washington.


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

Here’s a map of Texas’s hazardous waste sites impacted by Harvey New York Times

A lot of nasty stuff is in the Harvey floodwater, but we don’t really know how bad it is yet Texas Tribune

This Waco pastor is on Trump’s informal faith advisory committee Waco Herald-Tribune

High school football brings some comfort to Rockport after Harvey Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Denton has a new memorial for 9/11 first responders, with a steel beam from the World Trade Center Denton Record-Chronicle

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  • Dicky Neely

    ” U.S. Representatives Joe Barton of Ennis, Jeb Hensarling of Dallas, Sam Johnson of Richardson and Mac Thornberry of Clarendon voted no, citing the debt ceiling part of the package. ”
    What a sorry bunch! They would rather play political games instead of helping their fellow Americans and Texans.
    It’s time for the GOP in Texas to be brought down, they are arrogant, insensitive, extreme right wing puppets.

    • BossySnowAngel

      They were making a point about the debt ceiling and it’s a valuable one. It’s just too bad that people’s lives hinge on this money.

      • St. Anger

        The debt ceiling is inherently stupid. Unless that is the point they were making, then whatever point they WERE making is the opposite of valuable.

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    It speaks volumes that Denton has a 9/11 Memorial and to my knowledge the city of Dallas can’t manage to establish one.

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    The time to make a principled stand about spending is when the budget bill is up for a vote. After the budget has been approved and the money been spent it’s just plain childish to throw a hissy fit. Especially after the goods and services have been received. Somebody ought to take a switch to these delinquents. What they’re doing is stupid, selfish, and anything but cute.

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