While praising the passage of a Senate resolution authored by Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, Lankford released a special memorial video to remember the tragedy.
Congressman James Lankford
It’s been 20 years since we experienced the worst act of American home-grown terrorism at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. This solemn day stands as a reminder of the 168 souls that were lost. On a day where anger lashed out, Oklahomans responded with compassion.
Every year since April 19, 1995, we stand together and read aloud the names of those who lost their lives. We remember the first responders who acted selflessly in a time of need. We remember the families impacted by this tragic event, and we remember the survivors who continue to re-count and re-live that fateful day. We remember this day – a day that Oklahomans did not allow fear to overcome their love for our fellow man.
In response to the 20th anniversary, Oklahomans re-commit to that same spirit of generosity – the “Oklahoma Standard.” This year, we place a special emphasis on participating in acts of service, to help us never again allow anger to blind our eyes to one another. To honor those who died, we encourage Oklahomans to reach out to people to serve them, even those with whom they may disagree. We will engage in conversations and participate in acts of service to show that our bond of community and patriotism will not be shaken by terror. In the end, we may have differences, but we will show the nation that love overcomes hate, and civil discourse can be achieved even when there is disagreement. That is the “Oklahoma Standard.”
The Senate passed a resolution (S.Res. 139) this week, authored by Senator Jim Inhofe and I, to commemorate the anniversary. In addition to remembering the victims and their families and honoring the first responders, the resolution applauds the people of Oklahoma City for making tremendous progress over the past two decades. Instead of deteriorating after this tragedy, our city has rebounded and experienced great opportunity and growth. This story of perseverance stands as a beacon to the rest of the nation, and the world, attesting to the strength of goodness in overcoming evil wherever it arises in our midst.
There is an entire generation that has grown up since 1995. It is up to us to teach them how love and kindness can still shine through even the most tragic event. I ask Americans to join Oklahoma in remembering that tragic day, but also to show this generation and the nation how we respond to hatred and violence.
Twenty years ago, our state experienced firsthand Psalm 34:18, which says, ‘the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ May God bless our state, and may we never lose our resilient Oklahoma and American spirit.
Congressman Tom Cole released the following statement after he was named a 2015 recipient of the American Bar Association’s Congressional Justice Award. This annual award is given to lawmakers who have shown leadership in matters of justice. As one of four lawmakers who received the award this year, Cole was specifically recognized for his support of the Legal Services Corporation and his leadership related to passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
“I am honored to be recognized by the American Bar Association for my work on issues to ensure justice is upheld both on tribal lands and across the country,” Cole said. “Especially in light of my Chickasaw heritage, I believe that Native Americans have a critical perspective and role in American society that should be acknowledged and respected. That role extends to the justice system existing in tribes across the country. As an advocate for the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and the Legal Services Corporation, I remain committed to protection and justice for all vulnerable individuals.”
Next week, legislation on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as “Fast Track,” is expected to be taken up in the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee.
Congressman Steve Russell has once again come out against this legislation due to concerns of comprehensive foreign policy for the Pacific region and the President’s dismal record on foreign affairs.
“Increasing trade opportunities for the United States and its economy are important, but trade deals are more intricate than just economic agreements. They represent a foreign policy that includes diplomatic, information, military, as well as economic ramifications. Congress should play a vital role in what could have decades, if not centuries, of impact. What strategic resources have been invested to protect our commercial interests in this new construct to ensure our diplomatic, informational, and military efforts are moving at the same pace? Altering economic balances in a major region could have a great benefit if done correctly but could have costly consequences if done on the fly. What has President Obama done in his administration to earn the trust on foreign policy to address these issues? We should at least have the patience to wait 22 months until this President no longer occupies the White House. Our nation needs a ‘Right Track’ more than a ‘Fast Track.’”
Congressman Steve Russell released the following statement today on Tax Day, the national due date for federal income taxes:
“Every year the United States tax code gets longer and more complicated. This past year saw the addition of over 3,000 pages of legal guidance added to IRS.gov on the tax ramifications of Obamacare alone. Also, with the IRS complaining they are too underfunded to properly pursue the billions of dollars in owed back taxes, it is beyond time to redo our entire tax system.
“I stand with many in Congress in support of the Fair Tax, a national tax on consumption to replace the income tax, which would help broaden the tax base and simplify the tax process for all citizens. We cannot continue failed policies just because they have become entrenched in our society. Let us develop a strategy that will work for Americans, strengthen our economy and help pay down our growing national debt.”
Presumed Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is doling out more of the money he’s raised in recent months, giving thousands of dollars to lawmakers in several different states who cut across the GOP spectrum.
Bush is widely believed to be preparing to run for president — and is widely presumed to be raising nearly $100 million, if not more, on his way to doing so. But officially, the money isn’t for him — it’s for two political PACs, both named Right to Rise. In this case, the donations are coming from his leadership PAC.
The donations, announced hours before GOP rival Rand Paul’s formal presidential launch, range from $2,600 to $5,400 a pop, for a total of $117,800.
Recipients include Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who are expected to be top Democratic targets; Virginia’s Ed Gillespie, who is mulling a run for governor in 2017; and Florida Reps. Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. He’s also giving money to Reps. David Valadao (R-Calif.) and Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) — two Republicans who sit on either end of the immigration reform debate. Valadao is among those (including the Florida lawmakers) who are pushing for a more comprehensive approach to reform. Labrador supports immigration reform — and was briefly part of a bipartisan House working group — but is now more supportive of the piecemeal approach favored by most conservatives.
Congressman Steve Russell, a member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, today released his April 2015 edition of Waste Watch. A similar compilation of wasteful spending was published annually by former Senator Tom Coburn.
The April 2015 edition of Waste Watch documents 10 different situations where the federal government spent tax payer dollars—or allowed them to be spent—unwisely, including Gatsby-esque parties in Pennsylvania, training facilities in Afghanistan that literally melted in the rain, and even an anti-U.S. movie. The total amount of wasted tax payer dollars documented in this report is in excess of $117 million.
Speaking about the new publication, Russell said, “Every year we see money spent on waste, fraud, and abuse, and I want to continue to highlight some of these instances. Many of these projects were well intentioned, but end up costing the American people millions if not billions of dollars with unintended, but preventable consequences. Hopefully, by continuing to point out these financial mistakes, we can adjust our spending habits and find better ways to accomplish the same goals in a fiscally responsible and efficient manner.”
Senator Coburn, who retired from office last year, a staunch advocate for cutting government waste, and also known for his annual Wastebook, added, “To eliminate government waste, you must first identify and expose it. I am proud Oklahoma Congressman Steve Russell is doing just that with his Waste Watch. Every other member of Congress should follow Steve’s lead and do their part to protect taxpayer dollars.”
A full copy of the first edition of Waste Watch is available here on Russell’s website.
Today, we’re speaking with Senator James Lankford, and he’s already been hard at work in these past few weeks in his new duties in the “upper chamber” of the US Congress. The Senator talks about passing a budget resolution, even though he’s not totally happy with it. Lankford has also begun an initiative titled #cuttheredtape which would afford business owners better and easier access to resolve regulatory problems. The senator reacts to the extension of the Iranian nuclear talks and also the decision to allow the Ten Commandments display to remain at the State Capitol.