The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today named Senator James Lankford (R-OK) the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. Committee Chairman Ron Johnson announced the chairmen appointment of the three subcommittees during a markup of the Committee’s rules today.
“I’m honored to lead this important Senate Subcommittee,” said Lankford. “We will work hard to foster effective federal agency operations and shine a light on misuse and mismanagement. We will encourage common-sense regulation that keeps us safe, but will discourage unnecessary regulation that stifles private sector growth and innovation. The jurisdiction of this Subcommittee is extremely important to hold the federal government accountable for responsible and efficient governance on behalf of the taxpayer.”
The Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management jurisdiction includes:
Examination of the federal rulemaking process including regulatory review, and an evaluation of the effectiveness, efficiency, economic impact, legal authority and federal role for past and proposed regulations;
The management, efficiency, effectiveness and economy of agencies and departments of the Government, including the effectiveness of present national security methods, staffing, and processes;
The Federal Workforce; Federal employee issues, include employees’ classification, compensation and benefits, including federal retirement programs;
The District of Columbia, excluding appropriations, but including the judicial system.
During the past two Congresses, Lankford chaired subcommittees in the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. During the 112th Congress, Lankford served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform. During the 113th Congress, he served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements. Lankford led 40 hearings between the two subcommittees on issues including a review of the Administration’s regulatory process, federal contracting, and oversight of various entitlement programs. Many of his hearings led to the development of legislation like an update to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and development of the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act, which both passed the House in the 113th Congress.
Also named today, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) will chair the Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) will chair the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Chairman Johnson reduced the number of Subcommittees from four down to three.
In addition to serving on the Senate Republican Whip Team and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs during this 114th Congress, Lankford also sits on the Committee on Appropriations, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.
Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, today named Senator James Lankford (R-OK) co-chairman of the Prayer Caucus. The Caucus works to protect the fundamental human right of religious freedom and guards the right of individuals to pray and practice their faith freely.
This announcement comes the day before Religious Freedom Day, a time to recognize the important role of religious freedom in our nation’s founding. Each President has made a Religious Freedom Day proclamation for the past 24 years.
“The Congressional Prayer Caucus has worked successfully to advocate for and protect values that are fundamental to the fabric of our nation, and I’m honored to serve as co-chairman,” said Lankford. “This Caucus has worked together on a bipartisan basis to preserve the presence of religion, faith, and morality in the marketplace of ideas. It is vitally important that Congress respects these values in public policy, as well as culture.”
Lankford becomes the first senator to join the Caucus since its founding in 2005, making the Caucus bicameral. Lankford first joined the Caucus after his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010.
“As the Congressional Prayer Caucus continues to expand by including both Members of the House and Senate, I am pleased to announce Senator James Lankford will now be serving as our co-chairman,” said Forbes. “Throughout his service in Congress, Senator Lankford has demonstrated a staunch commitment to protecting the constitutional right of religious freedom, and fighting for the ability of all Americans to freely exercise and live by their religious beliefs. Freedom of conscience is part of who we are as a nation, and I look forward to working together with Senator Lankford to preserve this fundamental freedom.”
The Congressional Prayer Caucus exists to recognize the vital role that prayer by individuals of all faiths has played in uniting us as a people, and in making us a more generous, more cooperative, and more forgiving people than we might otherwise have been; and also to support Members in using the legislative process to continue to protect religious freedom so that our nation may continue to draw upon and benefit from this essential freedom.
During the 113th Congress, Forbes and former Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC) served as the co-chairmen. For the 114th Congress, the Prayer Caucus maintains a bipartisan group of more than 80 Members. The Caucus started in 2005 when Forbes gathered a small group of Members of the House who began meeting in Room 219 of the Capitol to pray for our nation.
On January 6th, Senator Lankford was sworn in as the 18th Senator from the State of Oklahoma. He will serve on the Senate Republican Whip Team for the 114th Congress, as well as the following four Committees: the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.
Senator James Lankford today co-sponsored the “Local Leadership in Education Act,” a bill that would protect states and local school districts from increased federal intrusion. This is Lankford’s first legislation co-sponsorship as a United States Senator.
“It is time for a major re-write of No Child Left Behind and the return of state innovation in education. Ever-expanding national education mandates are a prime example of a Washington-knows-best philosophy that does more harm than good in local communities across America,” said Lankford. “Testing is an appropriate measurement of academic evaluation, but its standards should be controlled by each state, not the federal government.
“The eyes of the nation are on Oklahoma since our state rejected the Common Core national standard in 2014. Now, Oklahoma state leaders, teachers, parents and administrators must develop and implement the best education policies for our children. The Local Leadership in Education Act takes a first step to ensure Oklahoma continues to have the authority to develop standards that work best for our children.”
· Mandating, directing, or controlling academic standards or curriculum;
· Incentivizing the adoption of any specific standards;
· Conditioning the availability of financial support on adoption of any specific instructional content, standards, curriculum etc. or administration of tests to students; and
· Requiring states to test students annually.
The author of this legislation is Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), and other co-sponsors include: Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
In the U.S. House last year, Lankford co-sponsored H.Res.476, which denounced the Federal Common Core State Mandate and allowed each state to voluntarily participate with other states as they chose.
The last time there was a speaker vote, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) didn’t vote for John A. Boehner, protesting against the Ohio Republican by voting for no one.On Tuesday, he did vote for Boehner. And he had some not-so-nice things to say about the movement to try to defeat the top Republican.
Below is his full statement, which is remarkably blunt and the kind of thing that is rarely seen from a member of Congress. (Seriously, it’s worth reading the whole thing.)
“There was an attempt to oust John Boehner as Speaker of the House today. I didn’t participate in it. That may make some people back home angry. I understand that, but I’ve got some experience with coup attempts against the Speaker, and what I learned two years ago factored heavily in my decision today not to join the mutiny.
First, I learned two years ago that people lie about how they are going to vote. And you cannot go into this kind of fight with people you do not trust. We walked onto the floor two years ago with signed pledges – handwritten promises – from more than enough people to deny Boehner his job. But when it came time to vote, almost half of those people changed their minds – including some of those who voted against Boehner today. Fool me once, shame on you… Today was even worse: there were never enough votes to oust Boehner to begin with. On top of that, some people who had publicly said in the past that they wouldn’t vote for Boehner did just that. This was an effort driven as much by talk radio as by a thoughtful and principled effort to make a change. It was poorly considered and poorly executed, and I learned first-hand that is no way to fight a battle. This coup today was bound to fail. And in fact, it failed worse than I expected, falling 11 votes short of deposing the Speaker. At least two years ago we only failed by six.
I also learned that the Floor of the House is the wrong place to have this battle. The hard truth is that we had an election for Speaker in November – just among Republicans. THAT was the time to fight. But not a single person ran against Boehner. Not one. If they had, we could’ve had a secret ballot to find out what the true level of opposition to John Boehner was. In fact, we could’ve done that as late as Monday night, on a vote of “no confidence” in the Speaker. But that didn’t happen…and at least one of the supposed challengers to Boehner today didn’t even go to the meeting last night. That told me a lot.
Some people wrote me encouraging me to vote for Louie Gohmert. I like Louie, but let’s be clear: Louie Gohmert was – is – never ever going to be Speaker of the House. I respect his passion, but he isn’t a credible candidate. That was proved today by the fact that he got three votes, despite all the national media attention he managed to grab. My colleague who got the most anti-Boehner votes was Daniel Webster of Florida who got 12 votes. I like Daniel. He is a nice guy, and a good thinker…but his lifetime Heritage Action score is 60% (by comparison, mine is 91%). And this was supposed to be the savior of the conservative movement? Would the House really have been more conservative if he had won?
The truth is, there was no conservative who could beat John Boehner. Period. People can ignore that, or they can wish it away, but that is reality.
Some people tried to argue that voting against Boehner would give conservatives leverage, or somehow force him to lead in a more conservative fashion, even if the coup attempt failed. All I can say to that is that the exact opposite happened two years ago: conservatives were marginalized, and Boehner was even freer to work with moderates and Democrats. My guess is that the exact same thing will happen again now. And I fail to see how that helps anything that conservatives know needs to be done in Washington.
I understand people’s frustration and anger over what is happening in Washington. And I also acknowledge that John Boehner may be partly to blame. But this was a fool’s errand. I am all for fighting, but I am more interested in fighting and winning than I am fighting an unwinnable battle.
Finally, the most troubling accusation I have heard regarding the Boehner vote is that I have “sold out” my conservative principles. All I can say is this: take a look at my voting record. It is one of the most conservative in Congress. And I was joined today by the likes of Jim Jordan, Raul Labrador, Trey Gowdy, Mark Sanford, Trent Franks, Tom McClintock, Matt Salmon, Tom Price, Sam Johnson, and Jeb Hensarling. If I “sold out” then I did so joined by some of the most tried and tested conservative voices in Washington.
I can say with 100% confidence that I have done exactly what I said I would do when I came to Washington: fight to cut spending, stop bad legislation, work to repeal Obamacare, and hold the President accountable for his actions. That will never change, and neither will I.”
Former 5th District congressional candidate Harvey Sparks is going to work for the winner of the race, Congressman Steve Russell.
Sparks’ wife, writing on Facebook, announced the event:
“After months of waiting and praying, Harvey was offered a position on the staff of the newly elected congressman for Oklahoma’s Fifth District, one of Harvey’s former opponents in the congressional race. Next to actually winning the election and becoming a congressman himself, working back on the Hill was Harvey’s first choice as he considered the possibilities of what he could do next. He will be a legislative aide to the congressman, advising him in certain areas of policy. Harvey has great respect for his boss, and he is excited to be a part of the shaping and direction of his new office.”
Before running for Congress, Sparks was an assistant to Tulsa Congressman Jim Bridenstine.
Sparks also is an ordained minister who spent his earlier career in ministry and service. He has served as a pastor at churches in Oklahoma City, Norman, and Tulsa. He also served two years as a missionary in southern Africa with his wife, Jenifer.
Congressman Steve Russell writes that while his vote for House Speaker John Boehner has caused controversy, he is at peace with it:
“What has been surprising in the last two days are the attacks (many uncivil) some are fomenting without even having an understanding of my vote. Some reached out not understanding my actions and I appreciated that and the prayers.
“Like Daniel, God controls my heart. Imagine if Daniel had told Nebuchadnezzar what a godless evil tyrant he was who was unfit to lead? What influence then? Instead, the Jews were able to preserve their culture, language and faith and ultimately returned home. All because Daniel listened instead of following some emotion or passion.
“Psalm 1 cautions us to not seek the counsel of the ungodly but it also tells us to be planted in such a way to bear fruit in due season. Romans 13 reinforces the same point.
“I am sorry some feel disappointed but I am very much at peace. There was no leader, no plan and a terrible outcome. If you are going to spring an ambush, you better have superior firepower, violent action and surprise. They had nothing. No one even knew who the supposed leader was to be. Instead of pushing 300 or more pieces of legislation to the president we would have seen upheaval and no vision. Without a vision the people perish.
“Instead, we have already taken the first vote to dismantle Obamacare with the Hire Heroes Act which exempts the mandate on vet hires. It is now on its way to the senate. There is so much more we are organizing and doing but instead all that is being fomented is division and confusion. We must be mindful who the author of that is.
“Again, thanks for the prayers for those who still care to pray for me. I am not worried about the pressure. I have been under far worse than anything going on here.”