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Category archives for: Congress

Lankford Video: Cut Red Tape!

Senator James Lankford and others want to cut the federal government’s red tape:


Russell Adds New Communications Director

suskindCongressman Steve Russell today announced that Daniel Susskind has joined his staff as communications director.

Susskind was press secretary for another congressman, and before that spent over ten years in media working for Fox News, C-SPAN, and Radio America in Washington DC, among other media outlets.

Russell said, “We are very excited to have Daniel with us. His background of working on various shows across multiple networks will be an asset to our office.”

A native of the Washington, DC area, Daniel is an alum of the University of Maryland at College Park and received his Master’s degree from the American University School of Communications.


Lankford Says Budget ‘Points us in the right direction’

My Portrait SessionsSenator James Lankford early today released the following statement on the final passage of a Senate Budget resolution by a vote of 52-46:

“Over the last 24 hours, the Senate engaged in a lengthy full and open debate about our nation’s budget and our governing priorities. The Senate took more amendment votes today and yesterday than the Senate took all of last year, and passed a balanced budget resolution. The Senate budget responsibly balances the federal budget in 10 years and prioritizes core functions of government, all without raising taxes. Washington must set a budget and live within its means just like families and businesses do across Oklahoma. It is irresponsible for the federal government to continue the perilous path of large annual deficits. Today, we passed a budget that points us in the right direction.”

 


Federal Budget Plan Draws Approval

Three members of the congressional delegation issued statements following approval of the U. S. House budget plan.

Here are their statements:

Congressman Steve Russell (OK-5) joined with 228 members to pass the House budget. As written, this budget cuts $5.5 trillion in spending and would balance within 10 years, as opposed to President Obama’s proposed budget that never balances.  Even with these cuts, the budget would provide our military with the resources needed to protect and defend our nation, honor the service of our veterans by providing sufficient benefits, while simplifying the tax code and repealing Obamacare in full. Congressman Russell released the following statement:

“One of the most important aspects of the national budget is to make sure our military is fully funded and operational.  This budget provides improved funding for our Armed Forces, and thus better reflects the commitment we should have to our men and women in uniform. Also, through a process called budget reconciliation, this is a huge first step in delivering a full repeal of Obamacare to the President’s desk.”

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) today voted for the U.S. House of Representatives plan to balance the federal budget in less than 10 years. The bill includes no tax increases and a provision to completely repeal Obamacare, setting the stage for patient-centered health care reforms.

“Prosperity for our children’s future means ensuring that they are not saddled with today’s debt,” said Mullin. “I am proud to support this responsible, good-government budget that prioritizes the future of America. Even more, it removes one of the greatest government overreaches in history, what we all know as Obamacare.”

The House plan also calls for reforms that would create a simpler, flatter tax code and provide more transparency and accountability within the federal regulatory system. Mullin, a second-term lawmaker from Westville, Okla., has been strongly supportive of such initiatives.

“As a business owner, I have seen how misguided laws and heavy-handed regulations are hurting jobs,” said Mullin. “What’s worse is that small businesses are being crippled in compliance costs from a ridiculously complex and unfair tax system.  The ultimate price is decreased job growth across the country. The Obama administration must be held accountable for these heavy weighted burdens and overreaches.”

The House budget comes only weeks after the White House financial plan, which never reaches a balance and calls for roughly $1 trillion in tax increases. Mullin has firmly opposed the president’s plan, calling it irresponsible and out of touch with the priorities of Oklahomans.

“I was disappointed, but not surprised, when the president offered a budget that never balances and raises $1 trillion in new taxes,” said Mullin. “It is beyond time for the president to listen to the real concerns of Oklahomans and come to the negotiating table on getting our country’s fiscal house in order.  Americans do not want more taxes or government mandates. They want a responsible budget that sets our country on the right path.”

Mullin also voted this week for an alternative conservative budget that achieved balance in six years.

Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 27, to establish the federal government’s budget for fiscal year 2016. The House proposal recommended by Republicans would balance the budget in less than 10 years, cut spending by $5.5 trillion, provide funding to maintain a strong national defense, repeal Obamacare, reform both the tax code and entitlements—like Medicare and Medicaid—and present real solutions to grow the economy.

“For the fifth consecutive year, I am pleased that House Republicans have passed a responsible budget that offers real solutions for changing the trajectory of our debt,” said Cole. “As it has in previous years, the House proposal actually achieves a balanced budget, unlike the president’s budget that raises taxes and still never balances. By making the necessary yet difficult decisions today, the House plan again reaffirms our commitment to protecting American prosperity and opportunity for future generations.

“As I have said quite often since both chambers unveiled their budgets last week, it is important to realize that these blueprints, including the one passed today, represent the starting positions for negotiating something we can all agree on. Just as we worked out the differences in our initial starting position through committee mark-up last week and this week during floor consideration in our own chamber, finding the same common ground is still required in the days ahead, especially as we face reconciliation with the Senate’s opening position,” concluded Cole.

To read a transcript and watch Congressman Cole’s remarks on the House floor during consideration of the rule for H. Con. Res. 27, click here.


Charlie Meadows Tees Off On Tom Coburn

Charlie Meadows

Charlie Meadows

Tom Coburn

Tom Coburn

Charlie Meadows of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee has teed off on former Senator Tom Coburn, long known as one of the Senate’s most conservative members.

In a weekly email to OCPAC members, Meadows wrote:

There ended up being 2 Article V (Constitutional Convention) measures pass 2 weeks ago, one in the House and one in the Senate, with both passing by close margins. No doubt former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn’s hard work and influence made the difference as several lawmakers, especially in the Senate, changed their minds out of respect for Coburn’s support for the measure. Dr. Coburn has earned the honor and respect of most Republicans and many Democrats in his service to our state while serving 3 Terms in the U.S. House and 10 years in the U. S. Senate.
With all that said, I hope to bring some balance to try and show that Dr. Tom has not always used good judgment in many of his past decisions. I don’t want this to be seen as bashing Senator Coburn, but rather to encourage current state lawmakers to make decisions based on the good or bad merits of calling for another Con-Con, rather than on the personal relationship or friendship with Senator Coburn. The stakes on this issue are too serious for lawmakers to get it wrong. Should they open Pandora’s Box, they may find they can never put the trouble back into the box, even if they want to.
To make it easy, I suggest we see some of Dr. Coburns bad judgments identified by the letters in his first name, T.O.M. That would stand for TARP, Obama & McCain. Let me explain.
First, for the (T). In 2008, when the economic calamity began, Dr. (T)om voted for TARP, the government bail out or as some have called it the “bankster” bail out. Dr. Cobrun bought into the establishment line, that if he didn’t vote for the measure, the next day Oklahomans would wake up and not be able to use their ATM machines. I believe Senator Coburn was sincerely “fearful” of what might happen if he did not vote for the $750 Billion bailout. Senator Inhofe and Congressman Frank Lucas used better judgment as they both opposed the measure. It was a risky time, but we would have been far better off to begin righting our ship at that time than today as we now have almost twice the debt and are making no gains on solving our problems. Remember, the longer we wait to solve our problems, the more painful will be the solution.
Second, for the (O). In the summer to fall of 2007 Senator Coburn was speaking at OCPAC. I asked the final question which was: do you believe Senator Obama will run for President (Obama had yet to announce)? Senator Coburn’s answer was:  I don’t think he will this time (he was wrong on this one) but I am sure he will someday and I am sure he will make a fine President! Sorry folks, but I would suggest he showed the poorest judgment of his life on this answer.
Third, for the (M). In 2008 during the Republican primary, during the heat of the South Carolina primary and at a crucial time, Senator Coburn used his “conservative persona” to endorse Senator John McCain and boost him above Governor Huckabee, Senator Santorum, Ron Paul and others.
Again, Senator Coburn used his conservative credentials to support one of the most liberal Republican Senators and worst Republican Presidential candidates to ever run for office.
While those big 3 should serve as enough evidence, please allow me the liberty to continue on as I am a little offended at Coburn’s editorial a week ago Sunday in the Oklahoman when he suggested the following to describe folks such as myself who oppose the call for another con-con.  Coburn said, “It is hypocritical for us to profess reverence for our Constitution while we shun the very process it provides for our protection; and it’s cowardly for us to shun it out of fear.”
I would agree with Senator Coburn that in the days of our founders when we had people like Madison, Washington, Jay, Jefferson, Henry, Franklin, Mason and many others making decisions, this would have been a measure that could rescue us from the tyranny of the central or federal government. However, we live in a far different day with far different people and the use of an Article V call for another Con-Con will ABSOLUTELY not result in reducing the excessive power and overreach of the federal government. A con-con today would be much more likely to do harm than good. Call that fear and cowardice if you want, I call it good sense, the kind of good sense that would cause a person heading toward the edge of a cliff in an automobile to change course before it was too late.
Let me explain real respect for the Constitution and courage versus the hypocrisy and lack of courage by Senator Coburn. In the fall of 2013, the courageous Senator Ted Cruz stood in the well of the Senate and for 22 hours or so exhibited real courage and leadership when he was using a filibuster to force the “do nothing Republican leadership” in Congress to use the “Constitutional means” of the purse to fund every part of the bloated federal government except for Obamacare.
The strategy may well have worked if every Republican lawmaker would have rallied around the strategy and not deviated from the message! What was Coburn doing as Cruz in the Senate and Bridenstine in the House were working to kill Obamacare? He was yelling from the housetops, “it won’t work, it won’t work” and he was right on, it would not work with people like him cutting the legs out from under the true leaders like Cruz and Bridenstine. They were using a Constitutional means to end Obamacare, he was working to thwart them. Did that failed government shut down hurt the Republicans in the 2014 elections, NO.
Coburn had the reputation of trying to bring some fiscal responsibility to Congress, especially in his great efforts to stop the earmark spending that was completely out of control. However, there were times he was an unconstitutional big spender himself. Somewhere during the Bush Presidency Senator Coburn voted for a bill to send  $50 Billion dollars (that is Billion with a B) to Africa to fight AIDS.
Right after the vote one of Coburn’s field reps came to an OCPAC meeting where I asked this simple question: “where does Senator Coburn find the Constitutional authority to send $50 billion dollars to Africa to fight AIDS and is that not a larger amount of money than any earmark he has ever fought? The answer was: “don’t ask me that question Charlie”. I said ok, then let me ask you this question, why did he vote for the bill? The answer was, he had fought hard to get a couple of amendments passed to try and make sure at least some of the money would be used for the benefit of those suffering from AIDS rather than just end up in the pockets of the local dictators. Therefore, he felt the need to vote for the measure since he had been successful in getting the amendments passed.
I understand Coburn working to make the measure better, but the measure was still unconstitutional and still fiscally irresponsible coming out of a government that is trillions of dollars in debt.
Now lets speak to courage. Approximately a year and a half ago, probably the last town hall meeting Senator Coburn held in Guthrie, I was in attendance along with a good size crowd of other folks. When it came time for the Q&A, I was standing along the elevated ramp with my hand up. Though he saw me several times he kept pointing to other folks for questions. About the 15th person he called on was OCPAC member, Steve Hampton. Rather than ask a question, Steve referred his question to me.
I then couched my question as follows: Senator Coburn, I give only a 3 or 4 percent chance of the federal government ever fixing our problems from within Washington. Therefore, I believe the only way to ever restore the proper balance between Washington and the states if for the states to push back against the tyranny of the federal government, and I believe the best way to accomplish that is through Nullification, what are your thoughts on Nullification?
His answer was: that is something the people of Oklahoma are going to have to decide, but I want to warn you, if the state of Oklahoma uses nullification the federal government may shut down our banking system! Really, where is the courage in that answer? The threat of such a shut down should show us just how serious the tyranny is and just how serious we need to begin to prepare ourselves to become as independent as possible and wean ourselves off of as many federal dollars and entanglements as possible and just as soon as possible.
Nullification USES the constitution we already have through the 10th Amendment rather than convening another Constitutional Convention where God only knows what might come out of such an effort. The Conference Of the States legislation Coburn is pushing through Senator Standridge doesn’t even call for a balanced budget Amendment. The balanced budget Amendment legislation being pushed by Representative Banz has a loop hole in it so large the Titanic could have maneuvered through it just before it sank.
I share Senator Coburn’s sentiment that Washington will never fix our spending problems even with a Republican President (unless it might be Ted Cruz but I doubt Coburn would ever support Cruz in the primary season).
If Senator Coburn and others which support another Constitutional Convention would spend their time, energies and the millions of dollars currently being spent to work to work toward nullification we could make a huge difference in short order. Working with lawmakers in conservative states to stand up to the federal government overreach such through nullification, such as is occurring at this time in Alabama, would give us a far better chance of reducing the overreach of the central government with much less risk then through their dangerous con-con  efforts.
Oklahoma lawmakers should oppose all con-con legislation based upon the risks as well as the IMPOSSIBILITY of ever getting anything ratified in our closely divided society, anything that would actually stop the federal overreach. They should make those decisions based upon reality rather than upon blind respect for a man that has done far more good than harm during his service in Washington and is deserving of a lot of respect, but not blind worship.

‘Nothing nefarious,’ Bridenstine Says Of Hiring

Congressman Jim Bridenstine has responded to word he’s hired a conservative operative on his office staff:

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/capitol_report/u-s-rep-jim-bridenstine-says-temporary-staffer-paid-for/article_790643e5-08a4-59c9-8211-c3a728eac436.html#.VRA2mo_83EE.facebook


Cole’s Office Taking Art Competition Entries

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The office of Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) is now accepting entries for the annual Congressional Art Competition.

Each spring, the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors An Artistic Discovery, a nationwide competition for high school students interested in the arts and looking for an opportunity to showcase their creativity. The annual contest recognizes and encourages artistic talent of young constituents across the nation, including those living in Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District.

The winner’s artwork is displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In addition, the winning prize includes travel to Washington with a guest for a reception, workshop and award presentation, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

All entries are accepted at one of Congressman Cole’s district offices or the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce by 5 p.m. on April 24, 2015. Those locations are listed below:

Norman Office

2424 Springer Drive, Suite 201

(405) 329-6500

Lawton Office

711 SW D Avenue, Suite 201

(580) 357-2131

Ada Office

100 East 13th Street, Suite 213

(580) 436-5475

Ardmore Chamber of Commerce

410 West Main

(580) 223-7765

The official entry form, contest rules and submission checklist are available on Congressman Cole’s website here. For other questions about the competition, please contact Elizabeth Norrie at (405) 329-6500.


Inhofe, Lankford Schedule Joint Radio Talk

Oklahoma’s junior Senator James Lankford will join Oklahoma’s senior Senator Jim Inhofe for a joint radio appearance on the KTOK 1000 Lee Matthews Show in Oklahoma City tomorrow (Friday) morning at 7:15am.

Lankford and Inhofe will discuss GITMO, foreign policy, and defense, among other issues being debated in the Senate.

 


Lankford Conducts Federal Rules Hearing

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Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today led his first Senate hearing as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. The hearing, entitled “Examining Federal Rulemaking Challenges and Areas of Improvement Within the Existing Regulatory Process” examined current federal regulations and the rulemaking processes.

“Today’s hearing focused on the federal government’s regulatory process; specifically, how regulatory process affects the quality, structure, efficiency, and accountability of agency rulemaking,” said Lankford. “Not all regulations are bad, but many are unnecessary, outdated and overly burdensome to companies and people. This was a good hearing to start the work of this this Subcommittee because the witnesses have clearly established that our process is in desperate need of reform.

“We are a nation of laws, not regulations. It is clear that there are also regulatory excesses and significant burdens. With over 25,000 pages of proposed rules published annually in the federal register by many of the federal government’s 430-plus agencies, federal regulations today place a $2 trillion dollar burden on the United States economy. In other words, the regulatory burden today equals 12% of the nation’s gross domestic product. At some point, individuals cannot make reasonable day to day decisions to advance their own family or business because they spend their time and treasure completing forms and federal requirements.”

Notable Witness Comments:

Drew Greenblatt, President and Owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products, LLC and Executive Board Member of the National Association of Manufacturers said, “Manufacturers believe regulation is critical to the protection of worker safety, public health and our environment… but that does not mean our regulatory system is not in need of considerable improvement and reform. New regulations are too often poorly designed and analyzed and ineffectively achieve their benefits. They are often unnecessarily complex and duplicative of other mandates. Their critical inputs—scientific and other technical data—are sometimes unreliable and fail to account for significant uncertainties. Regulations are allowed to accumulate with no real incentives to evaluate existing requirements and improve effectiveness. In addition, regulations many times are one-size-fits all without the needed sensitivity to their impact on small businesses.  We can do better.”

The Honorable  John Graham, Dean of Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and former Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs said, “Organizations regulated by the federal government are sometimes subject to multiple overlapping, and duplicative regulations issued by the same federal agency, by multiple federal agencies, or by multiple federal, state and local agencies.”

“Federal agencies sometimes make quasi-regulatory determinations of large economic import but with no supporting cost-benefit analysis… Typically, these activities entail issuance of guidance documents, policy statements, waivers for state and local regulation, and signing of consent decrees that compel regulation…”

Neil Eisner, Senior Fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States and former Assistant General Counsel for Regulation and Enforcement at the Department of Transportation said, “An agency may not adequately address public comments, it may not provide a reasonable basis for its actions, or it may take too long to make a decision, but those failures may have been directed by officials outside the agency.  It also may have been made by a political appointee in the agency who disagreed with career staff advice.”

Lankford was named the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management by Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) during a markup of the Committee’s rules on January 23.


Lucas Pushes Changes To EPA ‘Expert panel’

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Oklahoma Farm Report/Ron Hays
Oklahoma Radio Network

The House of Representatives passed the bipartisan EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act (H.R. 1029) this week, introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Vice-Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). The bill brings fairness, transparency, and independence to the EPA’s expert panel.

“The EPA’s Science Advisory Board was intended to provide a meaningful, balanced, and independent assessment of the science that informs federal regulatory decisions,” said Congressman Lucas. “However, the EPA systematically silences voices of dissent on the Science Advisory Board, ignores calls for independence and balanced participation, and prevents the Board from responding to Congressional requests. This is a good-government bill; it reflects the values we should uphold regardless of which side of the political aisle we are on. The bill recognizes the important role science should play in our policy debates and provides safeguards to give the public confidence in science. It restores the independent Science Advisory Board as a defender of scientific integrity.”


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