The American Airlines maintenance facility in Tulsa is one of the largest employers in Oklahoma. I was able to visit with many of the hard-working people who keep us safe in the skies and hear firsthand the issues they face. It is essential that we keep great jobs like these in Oklahoma.
I held a Java with James with the Okmulgee community last week. It was great to have a cup of coffee and conversation at Lokal while I was traveling around the state. When I’m in DC, I hold a
Java with James
every Wednesday we are in session at 9am. If you plan to visit the nation’s capital, please stop by the office.
As we talk about regulations, tax reform, and infrastructure in Washington, I was privileged to visit the employees at Pump & Motor Works in Okmulgee last week to hear their concerns.
While in Muskogee, I was able to tour the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center to see the construction issues, get an update from the staff, and to hear from veterans who use the center.
I fielded questions from members of the Edmond Chamber of Commerce during their monthly luncheon.
Dear Oklahoma Friends and Neighbors,
I am grateful for the time I got to spend last week traveling around Oklahoma to catch up with so many people in Edmond, Okmulgee, OKC, Muskogee, Stillwater, and Tulsa. Conversations and questions focused on infrastructure, immigration, national security, healthcare, tax reform, our national debt, and racial issues in our nation. I’m grateful to hear the issues you deeply care about and your suggestions as to how we can address the problems together.
As Congress returned to Washington, DC, this week, we had a number of issues to debate including taxes, passing a budget to fund the federal government, addressing our national debt limit, immigration reform, funding our military, and healthcare reform. As we tackle our national priorities, I hope you’ll stay in touch.
The response by Americans after Hurricane Harvey is a shining example of how love can transcend any difficulty. To all the Oklahomans who have donated time, money, blood, and equipment over the last few weeks—thank you for sharing our Oklahoma Standard with those who need it most. Now the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the East Coast are recovering or evacuating from Hurricane Irma. I hope you will join me in praying for all affected. If you want to donate to hurricane relief, please donate through trusted nonprofits. Many Oklahomans have already found a way to volunteer their time to assist in the clean-up—thank you for showing the Oklahoma Standard again.
Debt Ceiling, Continuing Resolution, and Emergency Funding for Hurricane Harvey
When Congress returned to DC this week, the priority was to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana. Unfortunately, disaster relief got caught up in the chaos of Washington politics. What should have been a simple vote to provide essential emergency funding for disaster victims became a legislative hybrid to postpone the budget debate another three months and raise the national debt ceiling with absolutely no spending reforms to address the nation’s growing debt. I am extremely disappointed that Republican leadership paired these issues together. A small group of Senators forced a separate vote for the disaster relief. I voted for the stand-alone disaster relief package, but many more Senators voted for the disaster relief bill with the debt ceiling package included.
We avoided the drama, but we only postponed the problem.
I have always had one simple rule on debt ceiling increases: if we are not making progress on solving the debt, we should not raise the debt ceiling. The reason Congress debates and votes on the debt ceiling is to provide an opportunity for the nation to create a plan to cut the deficit and make reforms. Lately, the debt ceiling debate is more about passing it rather than fixing it.
Months ago, I presented a plan to reform the appropriations process, structurally change the debt ceiling, and update the Senate rules. I am committed to doing more than complaining about the problem, I am committed to fixing it.
To read my statement,
On Tuesday, President Trump and his Administration announced their decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on March 5, 2018. DACA is an Executive program created by President Obama to circumvent Congress. It gave a two-year legal delay to individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children if they registered and paid a small fee. President Obama also created a similar program for adults, but it was immediately declared unconstitutional by the courts. Today DACA is still being argued in the courts to determine its constitutionality.
President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions were very clear that they believe the White House is responsible for immigration enforcement and border security, not immigration policy. The President was also very clear that he believes individuals who were illegally brought to the United States by their parents should receive some compassion and a legal resolution. Now it is up to Congress to resolve this legal issue.
We, as Americans, do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents, but it is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally broke the law. As all of us know, DACA is just one of many legal problems related to immigration. Our borders are not secure, we still do not have a reliable entry/exit system, e-verify is unreliable, our visa system is out of date, border patrol is understaffed, and much more. Congress should use this moment that President Trump has created to finally address border security and immigration enforcement.
To read my statement on the Administration’s announcement to end DACA,
Tornado Aftermath: Temporary Office in Tulsa
As you may already know, the late-night tornado in early August caused serious damage to parts of Tulsa, including the building in which my Tulsa office is located. No one from our team was hurt, but we have temporarily relocated to downtown Tulsa until we are able to return to the Remington Tower. We appreciate your patience as we set up a temporary office space to continue to serve you. If you need to contact the Tulsa office by phone, the number is the same: (918) 581-7651. The address for our temporary office is
224 South Boulder, Suite 210
As always, the
DC, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa offices
are here to serve you. I will keep you updated as we learn more about our Tulsa office.
Israel & North Korea
As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, part of my commitment is to stay engaged in the international issues we face as a nation. On separate occasions during the last year, I traveled to Turkey, Kosovo, Lebanon, Jordan, South Korea, Syria, Iraq, and Israel. These trips provided me a firsthand opportunity to evaluate anti-terrorism efforts, speak with diplomats, and meet with Oklahomans deployed in the region.
My bipartisan trip to Israel a few weeks ago was another opportunity to speak face-to-face with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Israel and the United States have a unique security and economic friendship. Our continued partnership is essential to confront the terrorism challenges we both face in the days ahead.
When I met with leaders in South Korea a few months ago, they reiterated their concerns with the military dictatorship located just a few miles north of Seoul. Six American presidents in a row, of both parties, have worked to limit the aggression of North Korea, but each generation of communist leaders seems to be more unstable than the last. The situation with North Korea is serious, but President Trump and his national security team have worked with South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia to de-escalate the tension and confront the international threat. I stay very engaged in the issue and grieve for the North Korean people, who suffer the most under the brutal Kim regime.
Keeping You in the Loop
Last week, I held a townhall-style Community Conversation in Edmond. If you missed it, you can watch it anytime on my
Next week, the Senate will likely consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets the annual direction for the Department of Defense. I support our efforts to increase manpower, procure new equipment, and improve readiness levels in both training and weapon system sustainment. These are the first steps to guarantee our military is ready and able to meet any threat.
While traveling the state last week, a number of Oklahomans asked me about the future of meaningful healthcare reform. Many people I met did not know that a bipartisan group of Senators started meeting in August to discuss a way forward. That conversation has progressed to hearings and roundtables this week. Healthcare costs and problems with the Affordable Care Act are not Republican or Democrat issues. Every American is affected by the major problems in the law. It is our hope that by the end of September, we can pass a first step in healthcare delivery reforms. Costs are rising and healthcare options are declining; we must find some agreement to help people escape the harmful consequences of the Affordable Care Act.
As I mentioned earlier in this newsletter, the debt ceiling tends to produce more crisis theater than actual debt reduction. It’s time Congress considers meaningful reform to the debt ceiling that actually works to lower our nation’s debt. To read an opinion piece I wrote about why we should reform the debt ceiling,
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee considered two US Attorney nominations for the Eastern and Northern Districts of Oklahoma. The nominations of R. Trent Shores and Brian Kuester both passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and now await approval from by the full Senate.
Tomorrow, Saturday, September 9, 2017, my office will host a Service Academy Information Day. The first event will be in the morning in Muskogee and a second event will be held in the afternoon in Lawton. Oklahoma students 8th grade through high school seniors who are interested in applying for a United States service academy will have an opportunity to meet representatives from all academies and learn more about the application process. For more information,
. The event is free and open to the public. No reservation is required to attend.
If you would like more information on these topics or any other legislation currently before the US Senate, please do not hesitate to call my DC office at (202) 224-5754. My Oklahoma City office can be reached at (405) 231-4941 and my Tulsa office at (918) 581-7651. You can also follow me on
for updates on my work in Congress.
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316 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5754
Oklahoma City Office
1015 North Broadway Ave, Suite 310
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Phone: (405) 231-4941
The Remington Tower
5810 East Skelly Dr, Ste. 1000
Tulsa, OK 74135
Phone: (918) 581-7651