By CNN's Tracey Webb
Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, July 9, 2014
1. The immigration crisis. President Obama is in Texas where he will discuss the surge of undocumented immigrants from Central America. He is not visiting the border, as many Republicans as well as some Democrats have urged. Obama will instead discuss the issue with religious and business leaders in Dallas. The President will also meet with one of his biggest critics: Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Obama's trip to the Lone Star state also includes Democratic Party fundraisers, which has drawn the ire of Republicans. "For him to go to Texas and spend two days shaking down donors and never even getting near the border mess he helped create would be like flying into New Orleans in the highest waters of Katrina to eat Creole cooking, but never getting near the Ninth Ward, the Superdome, or the Convention Center where thousands languished in squalor," said former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
2. What will Congress do? President Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to better deal with the immigrant surge. The White House wants to money to help bolster border security and crack down on smugglers, help Central American governments with information campaigns to discourage residents from making the journey to the United States, and provide care for the tens of thousands of children who are streaming across the border. While the White House has described the influx of immigrants as a humanitarian crisis and an emergency, Republican lawmakers are slamming the amount of money being requested by the administration. "What disappoints me so much is he's asking for a blank check," Texas Sen. John Cornyn said. According to the U.S. border patrol, 52,000 children have crossed the U.S. southern border since last October. Officials estimate 60,000 to 80,000 unaccompanied minors will cross the border this year.
3. The outspoken border state Democrat. Rep. Henry Cuellar, whose south Texas district is at the epicenter of the immigrant surge isn't backing down from his criticism of President Obama's handling of the crisis. On CNN's State of the Union last Sunday, Cuellar told host Candy Crowley that Obama is "one step behind" the problem and should have seen it coming. Cuellar said Wednesday he had received a call from the White House about his criticism of the President. "I'm more concerned not about who gets angry at me at the White House. I'm more concerned about my constituents who want to find a practical solution to this question that we're facing down there at the border," Cuellar told "Fox and Friends."
4. Reversing Hobby Lobby? Senate Democrats are unveiling legislation that would override the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. The legislation would require most companies to provide contraception coverage mandated in the federal health care law. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that companies could decline to pay for certain types of contraception in health care packages based on religious objections. The bill is being co-sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, and could be brought to the Senate floor as early as next week. House Democrats are also working on a similar bill but it is not likely to move in the Republican-controlled chamber.