With the weekend drama of a federal government shutdown over — at least until the same thing can possibly happen next month — leaders from Texas and other states are calling on Congress to move forward with passing an $81 billion disaster recovery bill that has languished since being passed by the House of Representatives before Christmas.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a joint letter Wednesday with the governors of California, Puerto Rico and Florida, asking the Senate to pass another spending bill and send it to the president.
“Over the past several months, we have received numerous assurances that adequate disaster funding was imminent,” the governors wrote. “Its continued delay only exacerbates ongoing uncertainty in devastated areas. Simply put, the communities devastated by these storms cannot be completely put back together until the federal government makes good on its promise to our citizens. If ever there was a time and role for the federal government to urgently help its citizens rebuild communities damaged by epochal disasters, now is the time to step up and fill that role.”
It’s unclear when Congress will act. On Saturday, before the shutdown began, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the issue might not be resolved until Feb. 8.
On Tuesday, in a conference call with Texas reporters, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn blamed Democrats for delays.
“I share the frustration of Gov. Abbott and other Texans, who feel like we’ve been asked to wait and wait and wait again, only to find ourselves caught up in an unrelated issue,” Cornyn said. “I think the people who suffered so much as a result of these hurricanes and natural disasters, including Hurricane Harvey, deserve better.”
COX: REPORT IS IN THE MAIL
As noted last week, icy weather gave some local candidates a few extra days to file their campaign finance reports, which were due by Jan. 16.
But at least one local candidate, 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox, still did not have his papers on file with the Galveston County Clerk’s Office. Cox is running for Galveston County judge in the March 6 primary.
Cox said Wednesday his reports were in the mail somewhere between the Dickinson post office and the clerk’s office.
Cox said that he and his wife, Alison Cox, who is running for a justice of the peace position, both put their reports in the mail on Jan. 16, which is allowed under the law. Cox said that he paid an extra $1 to make the mail a priority, and has checked with the post office to see what the delay is.
“They said they’re backed up for days,” because of freezing weather last week, Cox said.
Cox said he couldn’t remember exactly how much he raised in the last six months of 2017. He said he thought it was less than the $130,560 Galveston County Judge Mark Henry reported raising
A candidate can be fined up to $10,000 for filing a late campaign finance report, although there was no sign that Cox is in trouble yet. Cox said he has contacted the Texas Ethics Commission to keep it informed about the delays.
CLARK SEES A SIGN
Someone vandalized campaign signs for Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark and Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, an act that Clark blamed on his political opponents.
“I knew that I was going to have to deal with false attacks and misinformation in my campaign for re-election, but I didn’t expect my campaign property to be vandalized,” Clark said on a Facebook post on Wednesday.
From the picture, it wasn’t clear whether the vandals supported one of the three other candidates in this year’s race for Galveston County Precinct 4 Commissioner, or whether it was just random vandalism. The vandal used spray paint on the signs, which were next to each other.
“I don’t know if it’s politically motivated,” Clark said on Wednesday.
He estimated that the total cost of the damage was about $50. He said he was leaving the sign up, despite the damage.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday said he has “consistently opposed shutdowns,” during his time in Washington. Multiple fact-checking websites tested that claim, and ruled it false. Cruz was identified as the leader of a 2013 effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, where he used a 21-hour speech to block a government funding bill, which led to a 16-day government shutdown. ... A poll funded by a campaign-finance reform group shows that Cruz leads Beto O’Rourke, the likely Democratic candidate for his Senate seat, by just 8 points. ... Candidates for a Galveston County Commissioner Precinct 4 will participate in a forum at Creekside Intermediate School in League City at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.