Congressman Tom Cole. a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, issued the following statement after President Barack Obama announced steps to “normalize relations” between the United States and Cuba. This policy change comes after Alan Gross, an American contractor who was held captive in Cuba for five years, was released today. In light of this prisoner exchange, the Administration announced that steps ahead will include efforts to re-establish diplomatic relations and open commerce by lifting sanctions.
“I am very disappointed that the president believes he can reason with a nation ruled by a corrupt dictator,” said Cole. “Time doesn’t change the past or the intentions of the Castro regime, which is set in its Communist ways and now further emboldened to continue mistreating its own people. Unless and until that nation shows promise of embracing democratic ideals and Communism is overthrown, it is dangerous and foolish to place trust in a country that has been designated by the State Department as a sponsor of terrorist.
“Certainly, we always celebrate the safe return of one of our own. Especially before the holidays, I can only imagine the relief felt by the family of Alan Gross, who was held captive in Cuba for five years. Unfortunately, the president has once again negotiated with known enemies of America and set a dangerous precedent in the process.”
Dec 18 2014 | Posted in Congress
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Senator-elect James Lankford today announced his appointment to four Committees for the upcoming 114th Congress in the U.S. Senate: the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.
“I am honored to bring our Oklahoma values of common sense, integrity and hard work to these important Senate Committees,” said Lankford. “These key assignments will enable me to promote conservative values within our long-lost appropriations process, encourage efficiency throughout the federal government, and relentlessly demand transparency on behalf of hard-working American taxpayers. The U.S. Senate needs to maintain an Oklahoma perspective on national security, intelligence and counter-terrorism strategies, as well as Native American affairs.”
The Senate Committee on Appropriations is the largest committee in the Senate, and is widely considered one of the most powerful Committees in Congress. The Committee produces legislation that allocates funds for the federal government on an annual basis and uses the power of the purse to conduct regular oversight through the funding process. The last Oklahoman to serve on the Senate Committee on Appropriations was Senator Don Nickles, from the 100th through the 103rd Congress (1987-1995).
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs maintains broad jurisdiction over the operations of the federal government, as well as specific oversight responsibility over the Department of Homeland Security. A recognized leader of congressional oversight, Lankford has served on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee throughout his four years in the U.S. House of Representatives. During the 112th Congress, he served as Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform, and Lankford currently serves as Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements. Retiring Oklahoma Senator Dr. Tom Coburn currently serves as the most senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence provides legislation to authorize, fund, and oversee all American intelligence-gathering operations. The Committee produces legislation that authorizes funding for the intelligence agencies and provides numerous legal authorities and requirements.
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has jurisdiction to study the challenges of American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native communities.
On Tuesday, January 6th, Lankford will be sworn in as the 18th U.S. Senator from the State of Oklahoma.
Senator Tom Coburn said goodbye to the Senate today in an emotional tribute to voters: http://youtu.be/vRfg5IyZVN0?list=UUVfmzzKSutzOyJIikyseNHg
Dec 11 2014 | Posted in Congress
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Congressman Frank Lucas, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, voted today to support passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIA), legislation that helps establish insurance coverage for acts of terrorism. This bill strengthens economic growth and security in our country by providing certainty over the next six years to American enterprises.
“The long-term extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance program means greater stability for our nation’s job creators. We cannot allow grave threats from the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations to stifle our country’s growing economy. Rebuilding is a critical element in standing up to terrorism, and I believe this wartime measure provides an extremely important piece of mind for consumers and industries in the United States,” said Congressman Lucas.
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act originally established the Federal Terrorism Insurance Program in 2002 to oversee a public-private system of compensation for insured losses due to acts of terrorism after many businesses were unable to purchase insurance protection following the attacks of September 11. Since its inception, the program has incurred a net cost of zero dollars to the United States Treasury.
Dec 11 2014 | Posted in Congress
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Congressman James Lankford released the following statement following the House Oversight Committee’s full Committee hearing, entitled, “Examining ObamaCare Transparency Failures,” which included former Obama Administration advisor Dr. Jonathan Gruber and CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner as witnesses:
“Despite the President’s assertions that his would be the ‘most transparent administration ever,’ between Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and numerous opaque EPA regulatory processes, the American people are rightly frustrated with the way the White House has handled and communicated these issues. Dr. Gruber’s comments about hiding the truth of Obamacare in a six-foot-high stack of onerous legislative and regulatory text are clear proof of this Administration’s malpractice. The implementation has been equally murky. Ms. Tavenner and CMS have failed to give accurate enrollment numbers to the American people and even inflated at least one set with enrollees in the dental plan. These are not the actions of an open-book administration seeking to be honest with American taxpayers about where their hard-earned tax dollars are spent.
“The people of central Oklahoma sent me to Washington to get answers and work on solutions to the problems we face as a nation. Proper congressional oversight is one tool we can use to hold agency officials accountable for their actions and prevent failures in the future.”
Congressman Tom Cole
Since our nation’s founding, we have been a nation of ideas, including common beliefs held by the vast majority of Americans but also stark differences. Especially in government, there will always be a number of issues that tend to divide us rather than unite us. But instead of focusing on the things capable of tearing us apart, it is important that we work together when and where there is common ground.
I am pleased that last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle showed that they can unite for the good of the entire country. As members considered and voted on legislation, there were items that showed a shared commitment to getting things done. That’s how government should operate, especially when it is a divided government.
On Wednesday, the House considered and voted on H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. Using the same idea of college saving funds, this legislation helps families of disabled children also plan for the future. It does so by giving states the option of establishing an ABLE program, in which families can put pre-taxed money away in ABLE accounts that operate similar to a Roth IRA. This allows money to grow and be used for future disability expenses without the penalty of taxes when the money is taken out.
The House also acted with strong bipartisanship to pass vital legislation that authorizes funds for our military personnel, readiness and operations. On Thursday, the House passed the negotiated agreement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) between the House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee. Without question, maintaining the strength of our military deserves our utmost attention and support, and I am glad that the House again showed its commitment to giving the military the resources needed both at home and abroad.
Very important to Tinker Air Force Base in the Fourth District, I am pleased that the defense bill included funding for several vital aviation programs including AWACS, C-130 and A-10. Earlier this year, the Administration recommended the deactivation of seven AWACS aircraft stationed at Tinker used for both wartime and peace missions. Such reductions to the size and capability of the AWACS fleet would significantly impact our Armed Forces in future conflict and make it more difficult to combat enemies.
With budget constraints in place across areas of government, I hope that the Department of Defense will manage future budgets carefully and weigh all competing variables when making readiness and workforce decisions going forward. Passage of this bicameral, bipartisan legislation provides hope that we will continue to prioritize our dedicated military personnel and authorize the funding needed to strengthen our national security.
As we continue to consider legislation in the remaining days of the 113th Congress and as we begin the 114th Congress with a fresh majority, I remain optimistic that we will find common ground with each other.
Dec 8 2014 | Posted in Congress
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Congressman James Lankford issued the following statement today after he voted in favor of H.R. 5759, the Executive Amnesty Prevention Act of 2014, which opposes President Obama’s executive action on immigration:
“The President announced blanket amnesty right before Thanksgiving and indicated his Administration would ignore clear, American law. The President took an oath to ‘faithfully execute the law,’ not pick and choose which law he likes and which law he does not like. This is a destructive precedent that must be addressed.
“Today, the House responded to the President with a bill from the American people and a message to the Judicial Branch, the arbiter of disputes between the Legislative and Executive Branches, that we do not approve of the President’s executive inaction. This is the first of several steps to prevent this President and future presidents from failing to execute the laws of the United States.”
Dec 4 2014 | Posted in Congress
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Chairman Fred Upton (MI-06) announced today that Congressman Markwayne Mullin will serve on three House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees: the Subcommittee onEnergy and Power; the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade; and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
The Committee’s jurisdiction is divided up among six subcommittees, which all handle specific issue subsets. This is done so that Members of Congress can more effectively address the wide range of issues that fall under the full Committee’s responsibility.
The Energy and Power Subcommittee deals with all laws, programs, and government activities affecting energy matters. The Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee focuses on regulation of commerce practices, consumer affairs, and consumer protection. The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee is responsible for the review and scrutiny of the agencies, departments, and programs that fall under the full Committee’s jurisdiction, which includes such entities as the Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, the Transportation Department to the Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, and Federal Communications Commission.
Dec 3 2014 | Posted in Congress
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