Dear Oklahoma Friends and Neighbors,
This is a busy, noisy week in DC as Congress works to address a number of priorities, including healthcare, tax reform, and immigration. As we address the issues that are important to all Americans, I am committed to working toward solutions. Our government must be accountable to you.
It was great to visit with so many Oklahomans around the state and at the state fair recently. If you need anything from my office, please do not hesitate to reach out. You can reach me at www.lankford.senate.gov , Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or you can call or write me. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
This week, the Senate once again attempted to address the serious concerns with the failure of Obamacare with a better alternative to healthcare. The bill was authored by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy. Their proposal would have replaced Obamacare with healthcare-exclusive block grants given annually to states to help individuals pay for their healthcare while protecting patients with pre-existing medical conditions.The Graham-Cassidy bill was designed to return authority and decision-making to the states and allow each state to develop a system of healthcare delivery in a way that would best meet the unique needs of its citizens. Unfortunately, this last-ditch effort to provide affordable access and care to millions of Americans did not garner the votes necessary for passage and was ultimately unsuccessful.
The conversation is frustrating, but it is not over. We will continue to address the many concerns surrounding Obamacare in the days ahead. As we do, I will keep you posted. I have heard and read many unsubstantiated rumors about the recent healthcare proposals, so please feel free to contact my office for the facts on any proposal you may hear about.
Congress Funds Department of Defense
Thankfully, last week Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides certain authorizations to the Department of Defense and approves funding that is critical for the US military. As our nation continues to face serious threats from aggressors, our military needs this support to rebuild a mission-ready and capable force to protect our people and our allies.
To read more about the passage of NDAA, CLICK HERE . To read a column I wrote about the need for NDAA, CLICK HERE .
President’s Plan for Tax Reform
On Wednesday, President Trump unveiled his plan to reform the US tax code for the first time in over three decades. His plan focuses on simplification of the code for everyone, bringing businesses back to the US, taking less out of the paychecks of hardworking Americans, and creating and sustaining jobs. This is an important issue that Congress needs to accomplish before the end of the year, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate on solutions that will benefit our nation’s economy and provide the relief that hardworking taxpayers need.
Our economy has been flat for a decade, which has hurt job growth and wage growth. We must get our economy moving by responsibly confronting our outdated tax code.
In the days ahead, I’ll keep you updated on the tax reform discussions. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to my office.
On Monday, I introduced a bill to address the legal uncertainty facing undocumented children who were brought to the US as children. The Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers Employment Education and Defending our nation, or SUCCEED Act, is a fair, step-by-step process by which undocumented children can earn conditional permanent resident status through specific requirements by being gainfully employed, pursuing postsecondary or vocational education, or serving in the US military.
Earlier this month, President Trump announced his plans to rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program so this issue could be resolved the right way—through legislation by Congress. At that time, the President asked Congress to find a permanent solution for DACA youth and pair it with strong border security. The SUCCEED Act is a reasonable solution that allows DACA youth to have the opportunity to earn the right to call America home, but it also strongly discourages future illegal immigration. A couple of weeks ago, the President called me to expressed his support for this solution and express to me personally his commitment to finally solve our national immigration problems.
It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally enter this country illegally. However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents. Congress must stop ignoring obvious problems with our border security and immigration system and stop pretending that this issue will resolve itself—it will not. It will require action and a fair solution for all American citizens.
For more details on the SUCCEED Act, CLICK HERE . To watch the press conference from the release of the bill, CLICK HERE . To watch an interview I conducted with Fox News, CLICK HERE .
Keeping You in the Loop
Last week, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, which I chair, examined federal agency reorganization and duplication. This is not a partisan issue, and it was beneficial to hear from outside policy experts about how we can get this done. CLICK HERE to read more.
On Wednesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled “Threats to the Homeland.” This was an opportunity to hear from our nation’s top counterterrorism agencies on how we can isolate future attacks against our country. CLICK HERE to watch.
On Thursday, October 12, I will hold a Community Conversation at Tulsa’s historic Big 10 Ballroom from 6pm-8pm. I will be joined by State Senator Kevin Matthews, Mayor G.T. Bynum, and State Representative Regina Goodwin. We will discuss the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot’s upcoming 100th anniversary and take questions. I hope you can join us. CLICK HERE to read more.
Last week, my colleagues and I introduced a bill that will make houses of worship eligible for FEMA public assistance program grants—the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act. They should be able to apply for these grants just like other nonprofit entities. To read more, CLICK HERE .
Earlier this month, the Senate confirmed Brian J. Kuester to be US Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and R. Trent Shores to be US Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. I am confident they will serve our state well because of their experience and commitment to the rule of law, and I’m grateful they were confirmed by the Senate. CLICK HERE to read more.
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 Facebook or Twitter or Instagram for updates on my work in Congress.
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