MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

Article credited to Texas Monthly: http://www.texasmonthy.com

MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

Big Money

The U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a bill giving $36.5 billion in aid to areas affected by recent disasters like hurricanes and wildfires, after some concern earlier this week about whether Texas’s delegation would not vote to approve the measure because it didn’t earmark enough funding for the state’s Harvey recovery. According to the Texas Tribune, some Texas congressional members felt the Lone Star State was neglected in the bill in favor of hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico and California, which is dealing with deadly wildfires right now. The delegation sent a letter to congressional leadership last week requesting $18.7 billion in aid for Harvey alone. The exclusion of those specific funds caused some tension, and Governor Greg Abbott even called out the Texas delegation for not fighting hard enough to secure the money. But the bill did take two big steps for aid in Texas: It set aside $18.7 billion for FEMA’s main relief fund, and cancelled $16 billion in debt owed by the National Flood Insurance Program, from which thousands of Texans are expecting payouts after Harvey. Every Democrat in the House voted for the bill, which passed 353-69 and will head to the Senate next. Six Texas Republicans voted against it: U.S. Representatives Joe Barton of Ennis, Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Jeb Hensarling of Dallas, Kenny Marchant of Coppell, John Ratcliffe of Heath, and Roger Williams of Austin.

Oops, Again

It feels like it’s been a while since the last Rick Perry gaffe—too long, perhaps. But the former Texas governor came through with a big one on Thursday, when he accidentally referred to Puerto Rico as a separate country, according to the Washington Post. It happened while the energy secretary was speaking before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Thursday, after U.S. Representative Kathy Castor of Florida asked him about plans for building a more distributed energy grid. “Congresswoman Castor, you have just pointed out the real challenge that this country faces in dealing with the territory and the citizens of Puerto Rico. That is a country that already had its challenges before this storm—” at this point, Castor cut him off, informing him that Puerto Rico isn’t a country. “Well, they’re—it’s America,” Castor said. “They’re American citizens, so it’s not a country.” Perry apologized for “misstating.” Oops.

October Boys

The Houston Astros are four wins away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2005, and they take on the New York Yankees Friday night in the first game of the American League Championship Series. Although the Astros disposed of the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, the Yankees will likely be a tougher out. They have a lineup filled with power bats, including Aaron Judge, who led the American League with 52 home runs in the regular season. The Yankees are also coming off a thrilling ALDS victory over the Cleveland Indians, during which they won three-straight games after losing the first two games of the series, so they have some momentum. Houston has home-field advantage, and ace Dallas Keuchel will start for the Astros Friday night against Masahiro Tanaka for New York. Keuchel pitched six shut-out innings against the Yankees the last time these two teams played each other in the postseason, a 2015 AL Wild Card matchup that the Astros won 3-0.