A new Congress took office today in Washington, D.C., and among the newcomers are a pair of trailblazers from Texas: Republican Ted Cruz, the first Latino to represent the Lone Star State in the Senate, and Democrat Marc Veasey, the first African-American House member from Tarrant County.
University of North Texas political scientist Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha says that while freshman often don't wield much power, newcomers Cruz, Veasey and U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, a Weatherford Republican, will face some heavyweight votes.
“We’re still going to deal with taxes,” Eshbaugh-Soha says. “We’re still going to deal with spending. The debt ceiling, this is all on the table, including what I think will likely to be gun control and immigration.”
Eshbaugh-Soha says he’ll be watching Cruz to see if he holds to the Tea Party line of spending cuts and no tax hikes or becomes more moderate early in his six-year term.
“And if Ted Cruz decides he wants to be a pragmatist and compromise on some of these early positions, he can probably do that and be okay as long as the two years prior to his re-election he takes really conservative positions,” Eshbaugh-Soha says.