Nationwide News

Private property ownership rights are critical to Texas’ economic engine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today addressed members of the Texas Association of Realtors during their annual fly-in to the nation’s capital. Following his remarks, Sen. Cruz participated in a Q&A session with attendees, and discussed his efforts to expand opportunities and create more good-paying jobs for Texans.

“Since 1920, you all have been fighting for Texas communities, starting where it counts: right at home,” Sen. Cruz said. “You play a critical role in driving Texas’ economic engine, and in promoting and protecting private property ownership rights. Thank you for your commitment to our great state.”

American Law Enforcement Heroes Act incentivizes law enforcement agencies to hire military veterans through grant applications  

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, bipartisan legislation to help state and local law enforcement hire veterans onto their forces, passed the Senate today.  The legislation will prioritize the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funding of law enforcement agencies that use the funding to hire military veterans, and was originally cosponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Dean Heller (R-NV).

“This legislation is good for military veterans, good for law enforcement, and good for the communities they are charged with protecting,” Sen. Cornyn said.  “I applaud this bipartisan effort to support our veterans by helping them find jobs in law enforcement agencies across the country.”

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced the Back the Blue Act of 2017 that would increase the penalties for criminals who intentionally target law enforcement officers, and provide new tools for officers to protect themselves. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Dean Heller (R-NV), David Perdue (R-GA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Luther Strange (R-AL) cosponsored the legislation.

U.S. Representative
Ted Poe

“Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve families across Texas. Violent criminals who deliberately target those who protect and serve our communities should face swift and tough penalties and the Back the Blue Act sends that clear message. Every day, and particularly during National Police Week, we must give the men and women in blue our unparalleled support,” Sen. Cornyn said.

“As a prosecutor and Judge for over 30 years, I have had the privilege of working alongside some of America’s best, the men and women in blue,” said Poe. “Each day they wake up, place the badge—the shield—over their heart and head out into our communities to protect us. The dastardly criminals who intentionally target those who serve the thin blue line must not be allowed to walk free. The Back the Blue Act increases the punishment for those who seek to harm our peace officers. Today, Congress is sending the message that blue lives matter.” 

Background on the Back the Blue Act: 

Strengthens Laws to Protect Police Officers

  • Creates a new federal crime for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally funded public safety officer. The offender would be subject to the death penalty and a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years if death results; the offender would otherwise face a minimum sentence of 10 years.
  • Creates a new federal crime for assaulting a federally funded law enforcement officer with escalating penalties, including mandatory minimums, based on the extent of any injury and the use of a dangerous weapon. However, no prosecution can be commenced absent certification by the Attorney General that prosecution is appropriate.
  • Creates a new federal crime for interstate flight from justice to avoid prosecution for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally funded public safety officer. The offender would be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for this offense.

Creates a Specific Aggravating Factor for Federal Death Penalty Prosecutions

  • Clarifies that the murder or attempted murder of a law enforcement officer or first responder is a statutory aggravating favor for purposes of the federal death penalty.

Limits Federal Habeas Relief for Murders of Law Enforcement Officers

  • Imposes time limits and substantive limits on federal courts’ review of challenges to state-court convictions for crimes involving the murder of a public safety officer, when the public safety officer was engaged in the performance of official duties or on account of the performance of official duties. These changes are consistent with the fast-track procedures created in 1996, which are applied to federal death penalty cases.

Limits Recovery of Certain Damages and Fees for Individuals Engaged in Felonies

  • Limits the type of civil damages and attorney’s fees recoverable by a criminal as a result of purported injuries incurred during the commission of a felony or crime of violence.

Expands Self-Defense and Second Amendment Rights for Law Enforcement Officers

  • Allows law enforcement officers, subject to limited regulation, to carry firearms into federal facilities and other jurisdictions where such possession is otherwise prohibited.

Opens Up Funding to Strengthen Relationships Between Police and Communities

  • Expands opportunities to use grant funding to promote trust and improve relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve

 

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

 

‘Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI Director. I’ve informed the Administration that I’m committed to helping them find such an individual, and that the best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate.’

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) issued the following statement on the FBI Director vacancy:

“I have always considered public service to be a great privilege. How I can best serve my fellow Texans and my country has, and will continue to be, my guiding principle.

“Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI Director. I’ve informed the Administration that I’m committed to helping them find such an individual, and that the best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate.

“Working for 28 million Texans in the U.S. Senate is an honor I never expected to have, and one I cherish each and every day. I’m eager to continue working with the Administration and the rest of my colleagues to make Texas and our country stronger.”  

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Cruz also sits down with National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) representatives as part of National Police Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This afternoon, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) met in his office with the wife, children, and parents of Javier Vega, Jr., a Border Patrol Agent who was murdered by two illegal immigrants in south Texas in 2014.  More than two years after this tragedy, in September 2016, Agent Vega’s death was finally classified as being in the line of duty. Sen. Cruz contributed to that effort with a letter to Jeh Johnson, who was then the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. As part of National Police Week, Agent Vega’s family is visiting Washington D.C., where his heroism is being recognized in various ceremonies and events.

“As Scripture says, there is no greater love than when a man lays down his life for others,” Sen. Cruz said. “Agent Javier Vega is a sterling example of this, as are the many other fallen law enforcement officers being remembered this week. Agent Vega loved his family, he loved Texas, and he loved the United States, and in the end, he gave his life to protect all of them. He is a genuine hero. It was an absolute honor to meet Agent Vega’s wonderful family, and I commend them for their strength in the midst of this tragedy. They are in my prayers.”

At the same time, Sen. Cruz also met with leading officials of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), including NBPC President Brandon Judd. Among other things, they discussed border security and the importance of the men and women on the frontlines who, like Agent Vega, risk their lives every day to protect our country.

“Border security is often a life or death issue. This is something border agents and other law enforcement personnel know all too well, yet they remain fiercely committed to doing their jobs day in and day out,” Sen. Cruz said. “I believe we should back them up by defending our borders with every tool in our tool kit, empowering border patrol agents to enforce the law, and providing them with sufficient resources to get the job done. The National Border Patrol Council plays a pivotal role in this, and I look forward to continuing to work with NBPC and the Administration to achieve these goals.”

WASHINGTON – Today in Washington, D.C., U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) met with the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr. and other Border Patrol agents. He then spoke on the Senator floor about the meeting and National Police Week. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

Additionally, please see photo attached and below along with background on Javier Vega Jr.

“Tragically, every year dozens lose their lives defending our communities and our freedom. This year as part of National Police Week, I am so thankful that Javier Vega Jr., one of Texas’ own, was honored at the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial over the weekend right here in Washington, D.C.. Just a few hours ago, I had the honor of meeting his family, his wife, his children, and his parents, along with several of his friends that he served alongside in the U.S. Border Patrol. They know all too well the high cost paid by our law enforcement officers who put themselves at risk every day.”

“Just like everything else he pursued in life, he dedicated himself to tirelessly serving others and serving his country. Sadly, that service was cut short when he and his family, while out on a fishing trip on a Sunday afternoon, were ambushed by two men who tried to rob them.”

“Tragically, he was killed by the two men, illegal immigrant criminals, who had been reportedly deported but managed repeatedly to find their way back into the country, even after committing serious crimes.”

“As we learned from the story of Javier, one obvious way to do it is by making sure that our federal laws are fully enforced to protect our communities from those who would take advantage of our generosity and commit violent crimes, even though they are not in the country legally. We have a chance to do more for our law enforcement officers, and we should always look for ways to do right by them. Now isn’t the time to look the other way or to pretend that real problems facing our nation and our law enforcement community will simply go away. So during this year’s National Police Week, I look forward to playing my part to put forward policies that better support their mission to defend and protect communities all across the country. Madam President, let me thank the family of Javier Vega Jr., particularly his wife, his children, and his parents who are here with us today for letting me share his story and honor his service.”

Background:

Agent Vega was fishing in Raymondville, Texas when he was tragically murdered while protecting his family from two individuals suspected of ties to transnational organized crime. Agent Vega’s death was not immediately classified as a line of duty fatality because he was off-duty at the time.  However, because he was responding to a clear violation of law, and it would allow his family to obtain survivor benefits earned through service to his country, Sen. Cornyn fought along with other members of the Texas congressional delegation to re-classify the death.

Sen. Cornyn and Rep. Vela sent a letter on October 30, 2015, and again with U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul (TX-10) and John Carter (TX-31) on September 16, 2016 urging U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske to reclassify Agent Vega’s death and help to make sure his family receives the corresponding benefits afforded public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty.  In response to these efforts, Agent Vega’s death was re-classified as a line-of-duty fatality on September 21, 2016. 

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Ken Paxton

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that his office dismissed a lawsuit against Brownsville after the city formally repealed its illegal sales tax on plastic bags. Brownsville previously charged residents a one dollar “environmental fee” for buying plastic bags at businesses or grocery stores, in violation of state laws within the Texas Tax Code and Health and Safety Code.

“I’m pleased that the city of Brownsville agreed to stop taxing its citizens through an unlawful bag fee,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Cities and municipalities in Texas are obligated to follow the rule of law. And in this case, a law passed by the Legislature clearly prohibits a sales tax on bags.”

According to a published report, shoppers in the city of Brownsville have been paying nearly $71,000 per month in illegal plastic bag fees since the “environmental fee” was imposed. Texas Health and Safety Code 361.0961(a)(3) states that “a local government or other political subdivision may not adopt an ordinance, rule or regulation to assess a fee or deposit on the sale or use of a container or package.”

To view a copy of the settlement, click here.

American Law Enforcement Heroes Act incentivizes law enforcement agencies to hire military veterans through grant applications  

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statements after their bipartisan legislation, the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today.  The legislation will prioritize the U.S. Department of Justice COPS grant applications of law enforcement agencies who use that funding to hire military veterans, and was originally cosponsored by Senators Ted Crux (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Dean Heller (R-NV).

“By encouraging law enforcement to hire military veterans, we’re not only equipping them with uniquely trained individuals to help keep our communities safe, but we’re also supporting veterans and their families who’ve sacrificed everything for their nation,” Sen. Cornyn said.  “I’m proud of this effort to encourage our nation’s heroes to continue their service with the brave law enforcement officers who protect us, and I appreciate Sen. Klobuchar’s partnership on this.”

“Our veterans are able to perform complex duties under extreme pressure and danger, and when they return home, they should be able to use these battle-tested skills to secure a good job,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “Today’s vote brings us one step closer to passing this bipartisan legislation that creates employment opportunities for veterans and helps strengthen local police departments.”

‘With passage of the AHCA in the House, we have a way forward to do away with government-mandated, one-size-fits-all health care.’ 

‘And now that the House has passed this legislation, it’s up to the Senate to do our job and to keep our promises.’ 

 ‘So we will work together with all of our colleagues that are willing to work with us, but that means that Republicans are going to be working with 52 Republicans to get this bill passed.’ 

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) today spoke on the Senate floor following last week’s House passage of the American Health Care Act and discussed the way forward to repeal and replace Obamacare in the Senate. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here.

“Last week, our colleagues in the House made a first, necessary step to delivering on our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and to restore individual choice for a health insurance product that people choose that fits their actual needs, rather than one mandated by Washington, D.C.” 

“They passed the American Health Care Act, a bill that provides relief to Americans all across the country. With passage of the AHCA in the House, we have a way forward to do away with government-mandated, one-size-fits-all health care.  And now that the House has passed this legislation, it’s up to the Senate to do our job and to keep our promises.”

“I believe we can and we must do better to deliver affordable care that people choose, that meet their individual needs, and not health care that they buy simply because the government is coercing them into doing so. So we will work together with all of our colleagues that are willing to work with us, but that means that Republicans are going to be working with 52 Republicans to get this bill passed.” 

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

‘We all know that Obamacare is failing. It failed at its essential promises of lowering premiums and keeping people on their policies, allowing them to keep their doctor.’

 ‘It is, I think, indefensible on the part of our Democratic colleagues to sit idly by and let people like this young woman be hurt by the failed promises of Obamacare. We would love to have them work with us.’ 

 ‘We’re going to keep our promise. We’re going to come up with a better product, more affordable, and keep the choices in the hands of consumers – exactly where it belongs.’ 

WASHINGTON – Today in a press conference, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) urged his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide Americans relief from skyrocketing premiums and limited coverage under Obamacare.  Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video of his remarks can be found here 

“We all know that Obamacare is failing. It failed at its essential promises of lowering premiums and keeping people on their policies, allowing them to keep their doctor.”

“One woman who wrote to me said that her daughter’s premium more than doubled from $190 to $400 a month, and her deductible went from $500 to $6,000, basically denying her the benefit of any insurance at all because she can’t afford the deductible.”  

“It is, I think, indefensible on the part of our Democratic colleagues to sit idly by and let people like this young woman be hurt by the failed promises of Obamacare. We would love to have them work with us.” 

“But right now, they have just been sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to keep our promise. We’re going to come up with a better product, more affordable, and keep the choices in the hands of consumers – exactly where it belongs.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.