The News with Sen. Cruz - April 25, 2014
It’s great to be back in Texas, and I really enjoyed my time visiting with folks from Houston to the Rio Grande Valley over the past few days.
I am honored to represent the Great State of Texas, and I will do all I can to ensure the Lone Star State remains a place where freedom flourishes.
Please keep reading below for the latest in the Senate.
All the best,
Defending Texas with Attorney General Greg Abbott
Earlier this week, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) asking the agency to respond, in writing, to concerns about the Red River Boundary Compact and associated lands.
On Thursday, Sen. Cruz sent a letter to BLM urging the agency to directly answer General Abbott's questions, as well as an additional inquiry from Sen. Cruz. Read the letter here.
General Abbott's inquiries:
- Please delineate with specificity each of the steps for the RMP/EIS process for property along the Red River.
- Please describe the procedural due process the BLM will afford to Texans whose property may be claimed by the federal government.
- Please confirm whether the BLM agrees that, from 1923 until the ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact, the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma was the gradient line of the south bank of the Red River. To the extent the BLM does not agree, please provide legal analysis supporting the BLM’s position.
- Please confirm whether the BLM still considers Congress’ ratification of the Red River Boundary Compact as determinative of its interest in land along the Red River. To the extent the BLM does not agree, please provide legal analysis supporting the BLM’s new position.
- Please delineate with specificity the amount of Texas territory that would be impacted by the BLM’s decision to claim this private land as the property of the federal government.
Sen. Cruz's additional inquiry:
- Please confirm that BLM does not take the position that it has rights to ownership or control of any of the 90,000 acres of land along the Red River that are at the center of this controversy or similarly situated land. If it claims any such rights, please identify with specificity the acreage, location and legal basis for claiming those rights.
Sen. Cruz Visits the Rio Grande Valley
Last week, Sen. Cruz visited the Rio Grande Valley, speaking to students, citizens, and local leaders in Harlingen and Laredo. Watch the quick video about his trip.
Sending a Strong Bipartisan Message to Iran
Last Friday, President Obama signed Sen. Cruz’s legislation into law to deny U.S. visas to U.N. ambassadors who are known terrorists, such as Iran's recent nominee Hamid Aboutalebi, a participant in the 1979 taking of American hostages in Tehran.
Sen. Cruz penned an op-ed praising Congress and the President’s strong stance against terrorists coming into the United States. Read highlights below.
“The government of the United States has thereby sent an unequivocal, bipartisan message that we will not tolerate the ongoing campaign of insult and antagonism from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism has been accompanied by a drumbeat of vicious rhetoric by Iranian leaders against the United States and our allies, in which America features as the Great Satan and Israel as the Little Satan — both of whom would, in Khamenei’s ideal world, cease to exist. And all the while, there have been additional provocations, including the ongoing detention of three American citizens, Pastor Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Robert Levinson. Aboutalebi’s nomination is just the latest outrage.
“This bill is a first step toward making it equally clear to Iran’s leaders that if they wish to enter into better relations with us, they should at the very least stop doing things like nominating one of the 1979 hostage takers to be their representative at the U.N.’
Holding the IRS Accountable and Protecting Free Speech
On Tax Day, Sen. Cruz called on Congress to reconsider his proposals to rein in the IRS and protect free speech.
“Tax Day is our annual reminder of how government spending directly impacts our daily lives,” Sen. Cruz said. “It’s particularly distressing to hand over our hard-earned dollars to the IRS this year in the wake of its illegal targeting of conservative groups. The IRS must never be used as a tool for partisan warfare and on this Tax Day, I ask my fellow members of Congress to immediately act on legislation to uphold the First Amendment rights of our citizens and ensure no individual or group is targeted based on their political views.”
In February, Sen. Cruz introduced two amendments in the Senate Judiciary Committee in response to proposed IRS rules that would have further stifled free speech even after its illegal targeting of conservative groups was revealed. Unfortunately, the amendments were defeated on a party-line vote.
Sen. Cruz’s first proposed amendment would prohibit an IRS employee from intentionally targeting individuals or groups based on their political views. It would make it a crime for an IRS employee to willfully discriminate against groups based solely on the political beliefs or policy statements held, expressed, or published by that organization.
His second proposed amendment would amend the tax code to use the bipartisan, independent Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) definitions to determine whether an organization is engaging in political activity. The IRS should focus on taxation, rather than determining what is political activity.
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