LONE STAR — Texas’ Big Political Read — 3.2.2021 — Allen West Takes On Pelosi Democrats — Rep. Roy To Challenge Pelosi’s Election Bill — More…

LONE STAR — Texas’ Big Political Read — 3.2.2021 — Allen West Takes On Pelosi Democrats — Rep. Roy To Challenge Pelosi’s Election Bill — More…

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
|
March 2, 2021

Remember The Alamo 2021!

Former Florida Congressman and current Texas GOP Chairman Allen West is pushing back against the H.R. 1 congressional election bill that House Democrats have introduced.

“Nancy Pelosi and the progressive socialists of the Democrat Party need to know Texas will invoke the 10th Amendment and constitutional nullification and never surrender our State’s right to implement our election laws…” READ MORE

Texas Rep. Chip Roy will be taking Speaker Pelosi on this week with his ‘election integrity” measure he will be introducing this week. READ MORE

COVID

take our poll - story continues below

Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?

  • Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to Texas Politics updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Texas Gov Greg Abbott is taking a page out of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ playbook in pressing a “Seniors Frist” vaccine initiative around the state.

Why not?

Seniors and individuals with preexisting comorbidities are the overwhelming majority of COVID cases that result in death.

Abbot has just announced his “Save Our Seniors” initiative which has some 8,00 vaccine doses allotted for the first week of the program. Not a lot, but a start.

“The Save Our Seniors program will help us reach vulnerable homebound seniors across the state and provide them with live-saving COVID-19 vaccines,” said Governor Abbott. “As more communities are identified and selected for the program, we will be able to get more shots in arms and further strengthen our response to this virus.” –Gov. Greg Abbott

 

 

“Ted Cruz CPAC Speech: “Bill of Rights, Liberty, and Cancel Culture”” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – Alongside other potential 2024 candidates, Texas Senator Ted Cruz (TX-R) gave an energetic speech on the first day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. The CPAC agenda includes panels on the debt, abortion, education Big Tech and “cancel culture.” Cruz grappled with these themes in his speech titled “Bill of Rights, Liberty, and Cancel Culture,” in which he lent insight into his view of his party’s future. Cruz claimed that the GOP is the party of the working class and vowed that former President Trump will remain a power player. “The Republican Party is not the party just of the country clubs. The Republican Party is the party of steelworkers and construction workers and pipeline workers and taxi cab drivers and cops and firefighters, and waiters and waitresses and the men and women with callouses on their hands who are working for this country. That is our party and these deplorables are here to stay,” Cruz declared. “Let me tell you this right now: Donald J. Trump ain’t goin’ anywhere.” The Texas Senator also addressed recent themes, including the controversial trip to Cancun he took last week while his state battled a devastating winter storm that triggered a severe power and water crisis. Cruz opened with a joke about his latest scandal: “Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancun, but it’s nice.”

“Cruz Slams Biden on ‘Hypocritical’ Immigration And ‘Kids In Cages’ Stance” by Texas Politics’ Daniel Molina – Earlier this month, the ACLU directed a scathing letter at President Joe Biden (D), criticizing his move to continue President Donald Trump’s (R) immigration policies. In the letter, Naureen Shah, the senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, said that it was “a disappointing step backward from the Biden administration’s earlier commitments to fully break from the harmful deportation policies of both the Trump and Obama presidencies.” With mounting criticism coming from prominent Democrats, both Oklahoma Senator James Lankford (R) and Lone Star state Senator Ted Cruz (R) were interviewed to discuss what they feel is a “hypocritical” stance after the Biden administration agreed to reopen a Texas child migration detention facility. Criticizing President Biden’s immigration policy, in an interview with Texas Politics at CPAC in Florida, Cruz said that “it certainly shows what rank hypocrites the media are because, for four years, they screamed ‘kids in cages.’” However, “Biden is now putting more kids in cages because his misguided immigration policies are bringing even more unaccompanied minors into the U.S. and suddenly the media finds them humane love centers instead.” Oklahoma Senator James Lankford (R) echoed in Cruz’s remarks, adding that “It is very hypocritical because… the Obama administration built the ‘cages’ for the kids at the border,” but he also clarified that “they’re not cages.”

 

“Texas Democrat Support for American Rescue Plan” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – On Saturday, the House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan proposed by President Joe Biden to accelerate the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession. First proposed on January 14, 2021, the package builds upon many of the measures in the CARES Act from March and in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 from December. It includes $1,400 in direct checks for Americans making under $75,000, a $400 per week supplemental unemployment bonus, money for vaccine distribution, and funding to aid schools and state and local governments. The bill also includes a provision raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, Although previous coronavirus relief bills have passed with bipartisan support, Republicans have been critical of the high price tag and the inclusion of provisions they see as unrelated to the crisis. The House bill was passed by a vote of 219-212 along party lines. All Republicans voted against the bill and were joined by only Reps. Kurt Schrader (OR-D) and Jared Golden (ME-D).

“Allen West: Texas ‘will invoke the 10th Amendment and constitutional nullification’ to Preserve ‘Election Integrity’” by Texas Politics’ Javier Manjarres – After the questionable results of the 2020 presidential election, where Republicans across Texas and the nation made huge election day gains, but somehow President Donald Trump lost his election, both state and federal Republican officials are looking to overhauling the compromised election process, and are now focused on protecting “election integrity.” During the CPAC conference, this past weekend in Orlando, Florida, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tx) spoke to Texas Politics about a legislative measure he will be introducing this week to counter Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “For The People Act 2021” (H.R. 1) that is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives this coming Thursday. The bill, which would normalize voting practices such as ballot harvesting, allow individuals to vote without a picture ID and extend mail-in ballot voting. Rep. Roy says that he will release a “10-point plan” to counter Speaker Pelosi’s legislation and that the bill would “limit mail-in voting to people that actually need it” and “discourage ballot harvesting.”

Roy added that his legislation would demand that state legislatures reassure Americans that a “signature-matching” provision is followed and that Congress “limit mail-in voting to people that actually need it.”

“AG Ken Paxton Files Lawsuit Against Electricity Company” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – After customers were hit with exor­bi­tant ener­gy bills, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Griddy, LLC for “violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act through false, misleading, and deceptive advertising and marketing practices,” according to a news release sent by Paxton’s office. Amid the devastating winter storm which hit the state last month, millions of Texans were left without electricity as power companies failed to withstand the winter storm. Immediately following the disaster, customers received electricity bills up to $17,000. Many of those who reported receiving large bills were customers of electricity provider Griddy, which only operates in Texas. “Griddy misled Texans and signed them up for services which, in a time of crisis, resulted in individual Texans each losing thousands of dollars. As Texans struggled to survive this winter storm, Griddy made the suffering even worse as it debited outrageous amounts each day. As the first lawsuit filed by my office to confront the outrageous failure of power companies, I will hold Griddy accountable for their escalation of this winter storm disaster,” said Attorney General Paxton. “My office will not allow Texans to be deceived or exploited by unlawful behavior and deceptive business practices.”

“Trump At CPAC Says ‘The Incredible Journey’ Is ‘Far From Being Over’” Texas Politics’ Mona Salama – In a speech closing out the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), former President Donald Trump teased a 2024 presidential run while targeting President Joe Biden on his immigration policies and demanding he “get the schools open.” “I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we begun together we went through a journey like nobody else. There’s never been a journey like it, there’s never been a journey so successful,” Trump began his first speech since leaving the White House last month. “We began it together four years ago and it is far from being over. And you know what this is? The hardest working people, hard-working American patriots, it’s just getting started and in the end, we will win. We’ve been doing a lot of winning.” “We are gathered this afternoon to talk about the future of our movement, the future of our party, and the future of our beloved country,” Trump added, saying the “the next four years” he will “continue to fight” alongside the “brave Republicans in this room will be at the heart of the effort to oppose the radical Democrats, the fake news media and their toxic cancel culture.” The former president broke from the political tradition of attacking his successor by ripping into Biden and his first 39 as president, labeling him and his administration the “anti-jobs, anti-family, anti-borders, anti-energy, anti-women and anti-science.”

“Chip Roy Will Introduce House Bill To Protect Future U.S. Elections” by Texas Politics’ James McCool – Before the recently-concluded CPAC conference even began, Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled votes to apparently spite Republican legislators, including a “convenient” COVID Stimulus bill vote at 2 am Saturday morning. The vote forced GOP House members like Reps. Byron Donalds and Chip Roy to take early morning flights just to be able to attend the annual event’s last day. The next big piece of legislation that is slated for a vote will be the controversial “For The People Act 2021 (H.R. 1), a bill Democrats penned to change the current election process. The bill, which would normalize voting practices such as ballot harvesting, will be brought to a vote this coming Thursday. HR 1 has been described by Congressmen Donalds as, “the worst piece of legislation.” Texas Rep. Roy (R) told Texas Politics on Sunday that he would be releasing a “10-point plan” of new voting laws to counter the Democrat election measure. Roy added that his legislation, which will probably be introduced on the day H.R. 1 is voted on, would demand that state legislatures reassure Americans that a “signature-matching” provision is followed and that Congress “limit mail-in voting to people that actually need it.” “We’ll all [GOP House] vote against HR 1,” said Roy. “We’ll all message why its garbage, and then point everybody to Joe Manchin in the Senate and say, ‘Don’t you dare pass that’, and every activist in the world, demand that they pass this.”

“Ted Cruz CPAC Speech: “Bill of Rights, Liberty, and Cancel Culture”” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – Alongside other potential 2024 candidates, Texas Senator Ted Cruz (TX-R) gave an energetic speech on the first day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. The CPAC agenda includes panels on the debt, abortion, education Big Tech and “cancel culture.” Cruz grappled with these themes in his speech titled “Bill of Rights, Liberty, and Cancel Culture,” in which he lent insight into his view of his party’s future. Cruz claimed that the GOP is the party of the working class and vowed that former President Trump will remain a power player. “The Republican Party is not the party just of the country clubs. The Republican Party is the party of steelworkers and construction workers and pipeline workers and taxi cab drivers and cops and firefighters, and waiters and waitresses and the men and women with callouses on their hands who are working for this country. That is our party and these deplorables are here to stay,” Cruz declared. “Let me tell you this right now: Donald J. Trump ain’t goin’ anywhere.” The Texas Senator also addressed recent themes, including the controversial trip to Cancun he took last week while his state battled a devastating winter storm that triggered a severe power and water crisis. Cruz opened with a joke about his latest scandal: “Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancun, but it’s nice.”

“Abbott Welcomes Resignation of ERCOT Board Members” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – After a devastating winter storm left over 4 million Texans cut off from electricity, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has come under intense criticism for its handling of the crisis. Five members of the board of directors have since resigned from their positions. The organization has come under fire for its failed handling of the storm and its appointment of non-Texans as board members. On top of lengthy blackouts amid sub-freezing temperatures, customers have since reported exorbitantly high electricity bills. Last week, the wholesale price of electricity spiked by more than 10,000% and Texans reported energy bills of up to $17,000. In a joint resignation letter, board Chairwoman Sally Talberg, Vice Chairman Peter Cramton and members Terry Bulger and Raymond Hepper announced their resignation on Wednesday. and Vanessa Anesetti-Parra did not sign the joint letter, but also gave notice of her resignation. All five live out-of-state. “We want to acknowledge the pain and suffering of Texans during this past week. Our hearts go out to all Texans who have had to go without electricity, heat, and water during frigid temperatures and continue to face the tragic consequences of this emergency,” the letter reads. “We have noted recent concerns about out-of-state board leadership at ERCOT. To allow state leaders a free hand with future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are resigning from the board.” After ordering an investigation into ERCOT earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott (TX-R) said he welcomed the resignations.

“The Race to Fill Ron Wright’s Seat Intensifies” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – Following the death of Rep. Ron Wright (TX-R) earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that a special election in the 6th Congressional District would take place on May 1st. Among Democrats and Republicans vying for the position is Susan Wright, the late representative’s widow. A week ahead of the filing deadline on March 3rd., Susan Wright announced today that she will seek the seat of her late husband. “Ron always fought for the people and conservative values of the 6th District,” Susan Wright said in a statement. “I’m asking the voters of Ellis, Navarro and Tarrant Counties to help me continue the fight for stronger borders, lower taxes and the precious right to life in Washington.” Susan Wight has lived in the 6th District for over three decades, has served as District Director under both Rep. Bill Zedler and his successor Rep. David Cook, and currently represents Texas Senate District 10 as a member of the State Republican Executive Committee. Her current Republican opponents include Rep. Jake Ellzey, Katrina Pierson, Brian Harrison, Sey Kim, Mike Ega and John Anthony Castro. The GOP contenders have various degrees of connection to Donald Trump and reflect the divided nature of the Republican Party of Texas with regards to the former president.

“Setback for Biden’s Immigration Agenda Following Paxton’s Lawsuit” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – Following Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton‘s lawsuit filed earlier this month, the Biden administration’s 100-day deportation moratorium has been indefinitely banned by the Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton. President Joe Biden’s moratorium was first issued on the day of his presidential inauguration, along with 16 other executive orders which sought to roll back policies from the Trump administration. The 100-day pause was part of a sweeping immigration agenda that halted the border wall construction, ended Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and established a pathway to citizenship. The moratorium excluded any immigrant who is “suspected of terrorism or espionage, or otherwise poses a danger to the national security of the United States,” those who entered after Nov. 1 and those who have voluntarily waived any rights to remain in the country. In response to the deportation moratorium, Paxton filed his first lawsuit against the federal government, arguing that the order violates the U.S. Constitution, as well as an agreement between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Texas. Yesterday, Tipton’s initial two-week restraining order granted Jan. 20 was extended indefinitely. The preliminary injunction applies to the entire nation and will remain in place as the case moves forward or until there’s a new order from a higher court. It is a significant setback to Biden’s immigration agenda.

“Dan Patrick Announces Top Priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (TX-R) announced his top priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session yesterday in which he called for legislation dedicated to addressing short-term issues including the pandemic and failed handling of the recent winter storm, as well as continued support for a staunchly conservative agenda. According to Patrick, the list reflects his own priorities as well as priorities from senators and Texans around the state. He emphasized his support for the agenda laid out earlier this month by Gov. Greg Abbott in his State of the State address, and echoed many of the legislative proposals. Both Republican lawmakers placed a heavy emphasis on rebuilding the Texas economy after the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. “Since the Texas Legislature adjourned in 2019, Texas has faced some of the greatest challenges in our history,” wrote Patrick. “In fact, several of my priority bills changed in the last few days in response to issues that emerged from the winter storm last week. I have also prioritized legislation that reflects the principles and values of the Texas conservative majority.” Both Patrick and Abbott included divisive social issues popular with the state’s conservative voters, including the Heartbeat Bill and the Star Spangled Banner Act.

“Sullivan Land Services Questionable Border Wall Work Should Wall Them Off from Taxpayer-Funded Projects” by Texas Politics’ Javier Manjarres – One of President Donald Trump’s legacies, for better or worse, is the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico that he promised to build during his 2016 campaign. There are so many outrages about the border wall – some of them old and some of them quite new. Of course, what you consider to be an outrage probably depends a lot on whether you thought President Trump was right to start building the wall or President Joe Biden was right to halt construction. Most Americans support the border security wall, which is working, but in some cases, it’s not. But I think we can all agree about one true outrage, no matter which side of the debate you’re on. It’s the outrage of a company getting an enormous federal contract to erect part of the wall, and then building an illegal road to bring in armed guards from – get this – Mexico! to provide security for construction of the wall. Yes, the very same wall that was supposed to keep so many illegal aliens from Mexico OUT. The allegations against the contractor, Sullivan Land Services Co., were detailed in federal court documents recently unsealed and reported by the New York Times. The newspaper described Sullivan Land Services, or S.L.S., as “a primary builder of Mr. Trump’s wall” that was given contracts worth more than $1.4 billion to help secure the U.S. border with Mexico.

“Is the Texas governor planning to end the mask mandate? Some hope he waits” by WFAA’s Lauren Zakalik – It’s the COVID-19 comment that’s creating a lot of buzz. “We’re working right now on evaluating when we’re going to be able to remove all statewide orders,” Governor Greg Abbott said Thursday. “And we will be making announcements on that pretty soon.” Statewide coronavirus orders include the individual mask mandate, leaving many, including Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, assuming the individual mask mandate could be going away. The big question now is: when? “I would just like to be a little bit further down the road,” Whitley said. He said he doesn’t feel we are ready right now. Overall new COVID cases are down in Tarrant County, close to the levels we saw during July’s peak. But the county is still seeing hundreds a day. “But I think if he were to cancel his mask order, then I think we as county officials should go ahead and cancel those we have in place for businesses,” Whitley said. When asked why, Whitley explained, “I just feel like at that point there’s enough folks that are in an uproar about the masks that I think there will be enough non-compliance” that there wouldn’t be a point keeping it in place.” Other authorities on the topic agree now is not the time to remove masks, including UNT Health Science Center epidemiologist Dr. Diana Cervantes.

“State of Texas: The reckoning begins after winter storm power crisis” by KXAN’s Hannah Falcon, John Thomas, John Engel, Josh Hinkle, Arezow Doost – This week, lawmakers in both chambers of the Texas Legislature started holding hearings to address the breakdown of the Texas energy grid. Lawmakers are looking for answers after last week’s blackouts. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the state’s power grid, has been at the center of attention since last week. On Wednesday, the CEO of ERCOT defended the response to the crisis by saying the power outages saved the state from a much more devastating blackout. However, the ERCOT board acknowledged room for improvement. The five ERCOT board members revealed to live out of state resigned ahead of the meeting. Those former-board members are Sally Talberg, Peter Cramton, Terry Bulger, Vanessa Anesetti-Parra and Raymond Hepper. A sixth board member resigned Thursday, and Craig Ivey, an applicant for an open seat on the board, withdrew his application. Governor Greg Abbott has made restructuring and investigating ERCOT one of his top legislative priorities for this session. “Many of you are angry. And you have a right to be. I’m angry too,” Abbott said. “This legislative session will not end until we fix these problems.” Texas Senate and House of Representatives started hearings on Thursday. The House Committees on State Affairs and Energy Resources held a joint hearing, while the Committee on Business & Commerce held the hearing on the Senate side.

“Exxon restarts gasoline, diesel units at oil refinery in Beaumont, Texas -sources” by Reuters’ Erwin Seba – Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N restarted the gasoline-producing and diesel-producing units at its 369,024 barrel-per-day (bpd) oil refinery in Beaumont, Texas, two sources that are familiar with the plant’s operations said on Sunday. Exxon did not reply to a request for comment on Sunday. Almost all of the refinery’s units have restarted since being shut by freezing weather on Feb. 15, the sources said. The 120,000-bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracker (FCC) and 65,000-bpd diesel-producing hydrocracker restarted on Saturday, the sources said.

“Texas Expects To Receive More Than 200,000 Initial Doses Of Newly Approved Johnson & Johnson Vaccine” by Texas Tribune – The Food and Drug Administration approved Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday for use in the U.S., the third vaccine to be approved since the pandemic began. Texas could initially receive more than 200,000 doses, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, but the agency hasn’t received a timeline for when they would arrive. The company has said it plans to ship 20 million shots in the U.S. by the end of March and an additional 80 million doses before the end of June. Texas received about 1.5 million vaccine doses by Pfizer and Moderna this week, including doses that had been undelivered earlier in the month because of the winter storm. Unlike those vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s formulation is the first to only require one dose, and it can be stored at regular refrigeration temperatures. The others require two doses, and Pfizer doses must be stored at below-freezing temperatures. In clinical trials, the new vaccine worked especially well in protecting recipients from severe disease and hospitalizations, but its efficacy rate of 72% in U.S. trials is less than its competitors, which were shown to be 94% to 95% effective against COVID-19.

“Dozens of protesters rally against ERCOT following Texas winter storm” by KXAN Chelsea Moreno – Dozens of protesters showed up to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas headquarters in Austin Sunday after a winter storm left thousands without heat and power in Central Texas. Activists and community members made calls for ERCOT and electric companies to pay restitution for what they call negligence during the winter storms two weeks ago. “It’s not just a mild inconvenience to have these things be shorted or outed, it’s a literal cessation of our life and for some people it’s a death sentence,” said Mustafa Alnomanni, a teacher from Houston who protested Sunday. Organizers said they want the companies to cancel any electricity debts from the storm. They also want the companies to pay for damages to people’s homes and compensate people for any lost wages because of it. At an ERCOT Board Meeting Wednesday, ERCOT said the state was only minutes away from a blackout of the entire system the morning of Feb. 15. Five unaffiliated directors of the council, who live out of state, also resigned Wednesday. An ERCOT spokesperson told KXAN in an emailed statement that they look forward to working with the Texas Legislature and thanked the board members for their service.

“Texas AG Ken Paxton Seeks to Oust San Antonio Police Chief” by AP – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal battle against San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and the city’s top leadership has entered a new phase, with Paxton filing court papers seeking to strip McManus of his job. In a petition filed last month in a state district court in San Antonio, Paxton alleges that McManus has violated state law by failing to turn over to federal immigration agents immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally. Paxton has been tangling with McManus and San Antonio in a state district court in Austin since November 2018 over the Alamo City’s handling of immigrants suspected of being in the United States illegally. In that lawsuit, Paxton accused McManus of violations of a new state law targeting what conservative critics call “sanctuary cities” for suspect immigrants. The pending lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in damages. The Associated Press has reported that the FBI is investigating renovations made to Paxton’s million-dollar home as part of an ongoing probe into allegations that the state’s highest-ranking attorney illegally helped a wealthy donor. Last year, much of Paxton’s senior staff accused him of committing crimes to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul, whom some of the Republican’s former deputies now say had a hand in work done on Paxton’s home. All of Paxton’s accusers then quit or were fired, and four later sued the attorney general under the state’s whistleblower law.

“Previously jailed Texas salon owner speaks out at CPAC: ‘It wasn’t about a haircut… it’s common sense’” by Fox News’ Stephanie Giang-Paunon – The Texas salon owner jailed for defying coronavirus lockdown orders spoke out at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and recounted her fight for basic freedom rights. “It wasn’t about a hair salon, it wasn’t about a haircut…you could get an abortion, you could get liquor to go in Texas…but you could not get your hair cut by trained stylists who have hours and hours of sanitation training…but it just comes down to common sense,” Shelley Luther, owner of Salon a La Mode in Dallas, expressed at CPAC. The Dallas business owner made waves back in May 2020 after reopening her hair salon during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic despite COVID restrictions. She was sentenced to serve seven days in jail but was let out after less than 48 hours. “I honestly think Republicans are used to just going with the flow, not causing any waves… if we don’t stand up to this, who knows how long this is going to last?” Luther told “Fox & Friends Weekend” Saturday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask mandate in July 2020 during a surge in coronavirus cases but is considering ending the orders soon after evaluating the circumstances.

“The Power Is Back On In Texas. Now Comes The Recovery, And It Won’t Be Cheap” by NPR’s Camila Domonoske – For Texas, it’s looking like a daunting power bill. The Lone Star State racked up tens of billions of dollars in electricity expenses, as a free-wheeling market design sent prices skyrocketing. It tallied tens of billions more in damage and economic losses from blackouts. The state could spend years paying down those costs — costs that many experts say were avoidable had Texas taken pre-emptive steps to leave its independent, isolated power system better prepared for this month’s winter storms. So far, a lot of attention has focused on one element of the financial fallout: the extraordinarily high bills some Texans have received for the power they used during the crisis. Take DeAndrew Upshaw of Dallas. His electricity bill is normally $80. A bad month is $300. His electricity bill over seven days in February? $6,700. “That’s unfathomable,” he says. The eye-popping amount was made possible because of Texas’ reliance on free market principles — competition between a multitude of companies — to manage its supply of electricity. When demand is high and supply is low, market prices go up, by design. It’s supposed to motivate companies to bring more power to the grid. But last week, cold-stricken power plants just couldn’t deliver more power, so prices went up and stayed up for days.

National:

“Ousted New York Times reporter Donald McNeil slams newspaper’s leadership, culture in scathing essay” by Fox News’ Brian Flood and David Rutz – Former New York Times reporter Donald McNeil Jr., who was recently ousted from the Gray Lady over using the “n-word” during a paper-sponsored trip in 2019, accused the paper’s management of panicking and botching the situation and attacked other media outlets for misleading coverage on Monday in a lengthy series of essays. McNeil also shared an old email to a former colleague in which he said the Times environment had become a “spiteful” place and one of its senior leaders was turning the newsroom into “North Korea.” McNeil announced his resignation last month, shortly after The Daily Beast reported that he had been reprimanded by the Times over complaints the paper received from students on the trip to Peru. They alleged that the veteran science reporter used offensive rhetoric, including the “n-word.” McNeil wrote a lengthy Medium blog detailing his side of the story, noting that he decided to pen his explanation to avoid being misquoted by a “jackal” journalist, as he claimed The Washington Post had recently done. He called Times in-house media columnist Ben Smith’s coverage of his ouster “ridiculously inaccurate” and said The Daily Beast’s initial story on his rhetoric was also inaccurate.

“NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo accused by third woman of unwanted sexual advances” by Fox News’ Sam Dorman – A third woman has accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of unwanted advances. According to The New York Times, 33-year-old Anna Ruch has claimed that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a wedding in 2019. In an interview Monday, she specified that Cuomo put his hand on her bare lower back. Ruch said she pulled away and was “so confused and shocked and embarrassed” by the incident. I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment,” she reportedly said. A spokesperson for Cuomo reportedly referred the Times to a more general statement in which Cuomo apologized for things that “have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation.” Over the past week, two of Cuomo’s former aides have accused him of sexual harassment — something he has denied. The latest allegation comes as Attorney General Letitia James announced that the governor’s office sent a letter permitting her office to perform an independent investigation. However, Democratic politicians within the state have already started calling for Cuomo’s resignation after other accusations surfaced. Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former staffer, claimed Cuomo talked about his willingness to have relationships with women in their 20s.

“Biden erases Dr. Seuss from ‘Read Across America’ proclamation as progressives seek to cancel beloved author” by Fox News’ Peter Hasson – President Biden appears to have erased Dr. Seuss from “Read Across America Day”, the annual celebration of reading in honor of the legendary children’s author, whose birthday falls on March 2. While Biden followed presidential tradition in proclaiming Tuesday “Read Across America Day,” he bucked his predecessors by leaving out any mention of Dr. Seuss from the proclamation. The White House didn’t immediately return a request for comment on why Dr. Seuss was left out of the proclamation, but the snub comes as progressives have sought to cancel the beloved children’s author. One of Virginia’s biggest school districts, Loudoun County Public Schools, reportedly nixed Dr. Seuss from the school’s “Read Across America Day” celebration, citing alleged racial “undertones” in his children’s books. Former President Barack Obama and former President Donald Trump both highlighted Dr. Seuss’ contributions in their annual proclamations, a Fox News review of White House archives found. Former President Barack Obama and former President Donald Trump both highlighted Dr. Seuss’ contributions in their annual proclamations, a Fox News review of White House archives found.

“Donald and Melania Trump received Covid vaccine at the White House in January” by CNN’s Jim Acosta and Carolina Kelly – Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump received the Covid-19 vaccine at the White House in January, a Trump adviser told CNN on Monday. It was not immediately clear which vaccine or how many doses each had received.

The revelation comes after the former President urged his followers to get vaccinated for the virus during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, telling the audience, “How unpainful that vaccine shot is, so everybody go get your shot.” That encouragement marked a notable shift as Trump, during his time in office, had long dismissed the gravity of the virus and eschewed practices like social distancing and mask wearing. CNN previously reported that a White House official had said in mid-December that Trump wouldn’t be administered a coronavirus vaccine until it was recommended by the White House medical team. The official said at the time that Trump was still receiving the benefits of the monoclonal antibody cocktail he was given during his recovery from Covid-19 earlier in the fall, when both he and the first lady had tested positive for the virus. Trump’s decision to quietly receive the vaccine, without public fanfare, contrasts sharply with his successor and predecessors. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were each vaccinated on live television in December, and former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton volunteered in December to get their Covid-19 vaccines on camera to promote public confidence in the vaccine’s safety.

“Proud Boys nominated man to hold ‘war powers’ and lead January 6 attack, Justice Department says” by CNN’s Katelyn Polantz = Federal prosecutors say a Seattle-area resident was nominated to have “war powers” to lead the Proud Boys on January 6, as they continue to allege that members of the Trump-supporting extremist group were prepping, communicating and organizing an attack on the Capitol. Ethan Nordean, who will appear in court Tuesday, was allegedly ready to step in and lead the Proud Boys’ violent push to overtake the US Capitol, a new court filing said, after the group’s leader, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested and then told to stay away from Washington, DC. “Following the arrest of the Proud Boys’ Chairman on January 4, 2021, Defendant was nominated from within to have ‘war powers’ and to take ultimate leadership of the Proud Boys’ activities on January 6, 2021,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing Monday arguing to keep Nordean imprisoned. “Defendant — dressed all in black, wearing a tactical vest — led the Proud Boys through the use of encrypted communications and military style equipment, and he led them with the specific plans to: split up into groups, attempt to break into the Capitol building from as many different points as possible, and prevent the Joint Session of Congress from Certifying the Electoral College results,” prosecutors added.

“Conservative Supreme Court majority gets another crack at the Voting Rights Act” by CNN’s Ariane de Vogue – The Supreme Court is poised on Tuesday to hear a case that supporters of voting rights fear will lead the court’s new conservative majority to weaken a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that prohibits laws that result in racial discrimination The dispute comes in the aftermath of a contentious election which prompted former President Donald Trump to make unfounded claims of voter fraud and inspired his supporters to storm the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election. Republican state legislators across the country are also moving at a fast clip to pass laws to restrict voting access. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, as of February 19, state lawmakers have carried over or introduced 253 bills with provisions that restrict voting access in 43 states. Eight years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the 5-4 majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, effectively gutting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a provision that required states with a history of discrimination to obtain the permission of the federal government or the courts before enacting new laws related to voting.

“Biden, Senate Press Bill Without Pay Boost” by WSJ’s Kristina Peterson and Andrew Duehren – President Biden and Democratic allies on Monday worked to iron out the remaining disputes over the coronavirus relief package that they hope to push through the Senate this week, despite left-wing frustrations over the exclusion of a minimum-wage increase. Senate Democrats, who had tried over the weekend to salvage a more limited wage increase through the tax code, scrapped that backup plan late Sunday. With that off the table, Mr. Biden spoke with a group of Senate Democrats about advancing the rest of the bill, as the party works to pass its agenda with narrow majorities in both chambers. Some of the members of the Democratic caucus who met virtually with Mr. Biden said the discussion focused on targeting some of the bill’s aid. “There really isn’t a lot of dispute about the overall size of the bill,” Sen. Angus King (I., Maine), said after the meeting. “The question is whether it can be targeted in such a way as to better serve the people who need the most and perhaps free up funds for other priorities.”

 

“U.S. to Take Hard Line on Chinese Trade Practices, Administration Says” by WSJ’s Yuka Hayashi – The Biden administration said Monday it will use “all available tools” to respond to alleged unfair trading practices by Beijing as it conducts a comprehensive review of its trade policy with China. Releasing its first trade agenda, the administration said it is committed to using tariffs and other tools to combat alleged unfair trade practices by China, including unfair subsidies to favored industries and use of forced labor that targets Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. “The Biden administration recognizes that China’s coercive and unfair trade practices harm American workers, threaten our technological edge, weaken our supply-chain resiliency and undermine our national interests,“ the administration said. “Addressing the China challenge will require a comprehensive strategy and more systematic approach.” Beijing has defended its trade practices and its treatment of Uyghurs, which it says is aimed at preventing terrorist attacks. Under former President Donald Trump, the U.S. negotiated a trade agreement that calls for China to increase its purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion over two years, open its financial markets and ease pressure on U.S. firms to hand over technology.

 

“Biden Isn’t Considering Sharing Covid-19 Vaccines With Mexico, White House Says” by WSJ’s Tarini Parti and Juan Montes – The Biden administration isn’t considering sharing its Covid-19 vaccine supply with Mexico, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said ahead of President Biden’s first bilateral meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are accessible to every American,” Ms. Psaki said Monday. She said the next step for Mr. Biden would be economic recovery and the reopening of borders with neighboring countries once the pandemic has been managed. “The administration’s focus is on ensuring that every American is vaccinated, and once we accomplish that objective we’re happy to discuss further steps beyond that,” she said. Since Mr. Biden took office, Mr. López Obrador has sought more cooperation with the U.S. to increase Mexico’s access to coronavirus-vaccine supplies. On Monday, Mr. López Obrador said he had asked Mr. Biden during their first phone call in January to share vaccines with Mexico. He said he was hoping for an answer during Monday’s virtual meeting. He said he wouldn’t press Mr. Biden to answer but would wait to see if his counterpart brings it up. “We want to be respectful,” he said.

“U.S. faces ‘unprecedented assault on democracy,’ White House says, backing election reform bill” by Reuters’ Trevor Hunnicutt – The Biden administration backed Democrats’ efforts to overhaul voting rules and turn over the process of drawing congressional districts to independent commissions on Monday, weighing in on a political fight that is likely to dominate Washington in coming years. The United States is facing an “an unprecedented assault on our democracy, a never before seen effort to ignore, undermine, and undo the will of the people, and a newly aggressive attack on voting rights taking place right now all across the country,” President Joe Biden’s Office of Management and Budget said in a statement. The House of Representatives is set to vote and likely to pass a sweeping election reform bill, HR-1, as soon as this week. Biden’s fellow Democrats have a majority in the House, but the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, where the measure would need support from all 50 members of that party caucus, plus 10 Republicans. Republicans have said the law would take powers away from states and raise fraud concerns. Democrats have been fighting to expand access to the polls through early voting, vote-by-mail and other measures, efforts that expanded as the coronavirus pandemic raged.

 

“U.S. Senate to begin debating COVID-19 bill this week -Schumer” by Reuters’ Staff – The U.S. Senate will begin debating President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday. In remarks on the Senate floor, Schumer, a Democrat, did not say when the chamber might vote on the bill.

 

“Third Cuomo accuser steps forward, deepening governor’s scandal” by Politico’s Madina Toure and Marie J. French – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo remained in hiding Monday as the state attorney general formally announced an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment — and some of the state’s top Democrats began to wonder just how long the three-term governor can hold on. The allegations of sexual misconduct by two former aides, which followed a mushrooming scandal around the deaths of nursing home residents, seemed to override every other political priority in the state and left Cuomo at his most vulnerable point since taking office 10 years ago. By evening, Cuomo was facing a new claim: A woman whom he had not previously met said the governor made unwanted advances toward her at a wedding reception in 2019, calling her “aggressive” after she removed his hand from the small of her back and asking, “Can I kiss you?” “I was so confused and shocked and embarrassed,” Anna Ruch, 33, told the New York Times in describing the encounter, which the paper said was corroborated by a friend, text message and photographs. “I turned my head away and didn’t have words in that moment.” The new claim, which differed from two earlier accusations in that Ruch was not an employee of Cuomo, added to the governor’s growing troubles. Already, the accusations by his former aides in recent days had become the single greatest threat to his career and an inescapable subject for New York’s political class.

 

“Newsom strikes school reopening deal with California lawmakers” by Politico’s Mackenzie Mays – California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers struck a deal Sunday that would push school districts to open classrooms to the youngest students by the end of March while stopping short of new requirements regarding vaccines and collective bargaining. The deal more closely aligns with what the governor originally proposed in December than what Democratic lawmakers detailed in a bill in February. It does not require schools to open but instead offers financial incentives for those that do, according to sources close to the deal who asked not to be named because it had not yet been made public. The new proposal would offer $2 billion in grants to schools that open transitional kindergarten through second grade by the end of March and bring back at-risk students in all grades. That includes districts in counties that are still in the state’s purple tier, with infection rates higher than what teachers unions previously said are too unsafe for reopening. Under the plan, once counties move into the red tier — with daily case rates below 7 per 100,000 residents — schools eligible for the grant funding must open to all elementary grades, plus at least one grade in middle and high school. The deal speeds up the clock and more strictly ties the grants to in-person instruction than what the Legislature proposed. If schools do not open by the end of March, they will start to lose a percentage of money for each day they remain closed starting April 1.

“Senate confirms Cardona as Education secretary” by Politico’s Michael Stratford – The Senate confirmed Miguel Cardona to lead the Education Department on Monday, adding to President Joe Biden’s Cabinet a key official who will help lead the administration’s efforts to reopen schools amid the pandemic. Cardona, the commissioner of education in Connecticut, becomes the 12th person to be confirmed as secretary of Education. He takes on the role at a time of unprecedented tumult and disruption in the nation’s schools and colleges, which have been roiled for nearly a full year by the pandemic. Cardona and the White House have said that his No. 1 task as Education secretary will be to guide the reopening of schools across the country. Biden has pledged to have most K-8 schools open for in-person instruction by the end of April. The Senate voted 64-33 in favor of the nomination, with 14 Republicans joining Democrats to back Cardona. The bipartisan vote was a stark contrast to the contentious confirmation four years ago of Betsy DeVos, who was confirmed after then-Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote. Cardona’s confirmation was also more bipartisan than that of John B. King Jr., President Barack Obama’s second secretary of Education, who was confirmed on a 49-40 vote. The five secretaries of Education prior to King were each confirmed by the Senate either on a voice vote or under unanimous consent.

Subscribe to the newsletter everyone in Texas is reading.

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist. Diverse New Media, Corp. publishes Floridianpress.com, Hispolitica.com, shark-tank.com, and Texaspolitics.com He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant, and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Learn more at www.brownpeople.org Email him at [email protected]
Our Privacy Policy has been updated to support the latest regulations.Click to learn more.×