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State Has A Lot On The Line With Immigration Reform And Affordable Care Act

David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

*The initial publishing of this story incorrectly spelled Tom Pauken's name as Tom Paukin.

Texas Matters: The proposal to carry out a "border surge" as part of Congress' immigration overhaul could turn areas of Texas along the Mexico border into a militarized zone. Also on this episode: Texas and the Affordable Care Act, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken, and Kolten Parker, a reporter in the San Antonio Express-News Austin bureau, talks about DPS and jars of feces.

Border residents question "surge" proposal

Congress is heading off for their summer break without taking a vote on comprehensive immigration reform and it’s not clear what kind of immigration bill the lawmakers will face when they return in five weeks.

The comprehensive immigration reform package that passed the Senate included a provision called the "border surge," a $46 billion package that will double the size of the border patrol and expand the border fence.

Many people who live on the border in deep South Texas see the surge as a problem.

Also on this edition of Texas Matters:

How will the Affordable Care Act affect Texas?

Before Congress left for their Summer break, the Republican leadership took one more vote to try to roll back the Affordable Healthcare Act. Meanwhile, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is leading an effort to threaten the shutdown of the federal government if Obamacare isn’t defunded. 

Open enrollment begins on Oct. 1 for the Obamacare health exchanges and according to a study released this week by the progressive group Center for American Progress, Texas is home to more than two-thirds of the nation’s 30 counties most in need of expanded health insurance coverage. 

Tom Perriello is the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

"I think this is a point where leaders can either choose to do the irresponsible thing, which is to play into misinformation and sort of score points about whether this helps Democrats or Republicans, or say, 'This isn't about Democrats and Republicans, this is supposed to be about people, this is supposed to be about communities,' and give people the information and let them decide whether they want to participate in it."

With Rick Perry not running, Who will be the next governor of Texas?

Credit tompaukenfortexas.com
Texas GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken.

State Attorney General Greg Abbott is campaigning hard, and with a $25 million dollar campaign war chest, name recognition and support of the Republican party’s elite, he is seen as the clear front runner.

But Tom Pauken, former chair of the Texas Workforce Commission, sees it differently. Pauken is also running for the GOP nomination for governor and is calling himself the true conservative in the race.

"I probably would have been supporting the Greg Abbott for governor campaign before I got there and saw the evidence of what was going on - there's too much picking winners and losers. The emerging technology fund, for example, is a case of the government being involved in public venture, capitol investment, [and] using the taxpayer dollars. We don't like it when you bail out the too-big-to-fail financial institutions or when Obama picks winners and losers, well it's no better when Republican leaders in our state pick winners and losers."

Some call it poop-gate

There are nagging questions about claims made by the Department of Public Safety over the discovery of jars of excrement in the state capitol on July 12, the night that a final vote was taken on the controversial abortion clinic restriction bill.

That day the capitol was overwhelmed with protestors drawn to the passage of the controversial omnibus Abortion bill.

Kolten Parker is the reporter for the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle Austin bureau.

"When everyone in the Senate - all the press members - got the press release, initially everyone was shocked that they (people in the gallery) would bring this in, but I don't think there was that much questioning of the veracity of the claims. But as different people began talking about it, lawmakers raised questions, no trooper could be identified who had seen or had even hear of such confiscations at the capitol, [and] questions began arising."

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi