ICYMI: Senator Inhofe’s Floor Speech on SCOTUS Nomination

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today spoke on the Senate floor on why a Supreme Court nominee should be left to the next administration and to let the people decide the future balance of the court. 

Senate Floor 3.2016

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As prepared for delivery:

Dear Senator Inhofe,

I have just learned of the death of Justice Scalia. I should only be feeling sadness at the death of this great patriot and man of the law, I am terrified of what I am sure is now already in the works, his replacement by President Barack Obama.

… The person who replaces Justice Scalia will have the potential to change the balance of power on the bench for decades and may have the possibility to reshape the political landscape immediately and unalterably.

I, therefore, beg you and all of your fellow Senators to not vote to affirm any candidate put forward by President Obama. This is an election year and the people should be given a chance to choose which direction this country will go and not have it decided by President Obama as he leaves the White House.

Please, do not vote for any candidate offered up by this Administration.

Robert from Tulsa, OK

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Dear Senator Inhofe,

I have just received word of the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia. His death is a loss for the conservative movement, but I fear it also puts our country in peril.

With Scalia gone, President Obama will certainly present a nominee for his seat. If it is a justice that holds to Obama’s progressive ideals and agenda, it could mean grave danger for our Constitution.

I urge you to hold fast and refuse to confirm ANY Obama appointee to the Court. Hold out until he is out of office. I feel the future of our nation depends on it.

Donald from Chickasha, OK

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Senator Inhofe,

I am contacting you in regards to the loss of Justice Scalia and his replacement. Justice Scalia was a brilliant man and a true patriot. Unfortunately, I do not feel any appointee by the President would follow the Constitution and serve with the same virtue as Justice Scalia. I am asking that you and the other members of the Senate do not confirm a new Justice until after the election, when the newly elected President can make the appointment. We have sent you to Washington to stop the agenda of the President that runs contrary to the wishes of the country. Please stand on your principles and do not allow the President to appoint another Justice that may be detrimental to our freedoms for decades to come. Thank you. 

Matthew from Claremore, OK


These are just a few examples of the hundreds of letters and calls from constituents I have received asking that the Senate wait to confirm the next Supreme Court nominee until we have a new president.

We’ve heard from our colleagues and pundits on the other side of the aisle that it is our constitutional duty to confirm President Obama’s nominations, and before they lost the majority, Senate Democrats used the nuclear option so all nominations except for the Supreme Court could be approved with a simple majority.

The Constitution says that the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint… Judges of the supreme Court…”

The Senate clearly has a role in this process and the Senate can either give its consent or it can withhold its consent and completely fulfill its constitutional duties.

It wasn’t long ago that Democrats were singing a different tune when a Republican was in the White House. Some of them, on this very floor, said the Senate does not have to confirm presidential nominations and urged that the Senate refuse to do so, especially in an election year.

 

Senators Obama, Biden, Clinton, Schumer and Reid all made statements to this effect and are now flipping the script.


You have to go all the way back to 1888 – 128 years – before you find a similar situation to the one we are in today. That is the last time a vacancy arose during an election year and was filled by a Senate from a party opposite of the president.

Furthermore, this president hasn’t worked with Congress on much, why should we work with him on this?

In fact, it is his very “go it alone” attitude that has created a situation where we really need to be cautious as to who will fill Justice Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court.

We have seen time and again that when President Obama is unable to get his liberal agenda through Congress he has turned to executive actions and agency rulemaking to implement his priorities.

These regulations and actions are making their way through our courts and are either going to be heard by the Supreme Court or are there right now.

President Obama’s executive amnesty was stayed by the lower courts and the Supreme Court will decide this term if that injunction will stand or not.

The Waters of the United States rule that would take the jurisdiction of our water from the states and turn it over to the federal government was stayed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals – this too will likely make its way to the Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court is split 4-4 in these two cases, the injunctions of the lower courts will stand until the underlying issues are fully litigated.

Before the recess, one of Scalia’s last heroic acts was a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court to stay the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, meaning the rule is on hold until litigation is complete.

The Clean Power Plan would cost $292 billion and mandates carbon dioxide cuts from the power sector to meet Obama’s climate pledge of reducing CO2 by 26-28% by 2025 – this would cause double digit electricity price increases in 40 states.

These and other executive actions and regulations will have a big impact on our people and our economy and will all likely be decided by the Supreme Court.

And it’s not just executive actions at stake, it is the moral direction of our country too.

Just last week the Supreme Court heard a case challenging the state of Texas on its new abortion regulations that require abortion clinics meet the same standard of other out-patient surgical clinics and mandates abortion doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

With the balance of the Supreme Court at stake, the choice to fill this vacancy will shape our nation for at least the next generation.

It is the American people who will bear the burden of these court decisions and therefore they should have a say on who will fill Justice Scalia’s vacancy.

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ICYMI: EUCOM Commander Says Ending U.S. Oil Exports Ban Will Help Diffuse Russia’s Influence

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), participated in a SASC committee hearing Tuesday with EUCOM Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove where they discussed the foreign policy advancements being made due to Congress ending the 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports. 

In Inhofe’s questioning of Gen. Breedlove, Inhofe expressed his agreement with Gen. Breedlove’s opening statement that European’s dependency on Russian oil has served to “bolster” Russia’s ability to coerce nations like Ukraine to achieve political gains. He asked Gen. Breedlove if the United States, now being capable of competing in the oil market overseas, is helping to dilute Russia’s influence in the region.

In the hearing, Gen. Breedlove responded to Inhofe by saying, “Russia is very apt to use energy dependency and energy capabilities as one of the tools [against other countries], adjusting prices, restricting flows, etc. And so, more available sources I think would help to diffuse that tool that they could use.” 

In December, Congress took action to force the president’s hand to end the 40-year ban on oil exports. As exemplified in the committee hearing, this action is becoming a helpful and necessary foreign policy “tool” for the United States to aid our allies and weaken Russia’s leadership. 

SASC Hearing 3.2016

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ICYMI: Sen. Inhofe Calls for a Strategy to Defeat ISIS and to Stop Gitmo Prison Closure on The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), spoke with FOX’s Gretchen Carlson about the need for the President to develop a strategy to defeat ISIS and the dangers of the president’s desire to close Guantanamo Bay.

interview on ISIS and gitmo

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On Nov. 16, 2015, Inhofe called for a “pause” in the United States’ acceptance of Syrian refugees until Congress can thoroughly review the Obama administration’s vetting process. 

On Nov. 10, 2015 Inhofe voted in favor of the revised National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2016. The final bill prohibits transferring Gitmo detainees to the United States through Dec. 31, 2016, and tightens restrictions on transferring Gitmo detainees to certain foreign countries, language Inhofe strongly supported.  It also includes language that prevents the closure of Gitmo through Dec. 31, 2016, rejecting Senate language that would have allowed the facility to be closed following Congressional approval of a plan. When the NDAA was on the Senate floor in June, Inhofe filed two amendments that would have prevented individuals being detained at Gitmo from being transferred to the United States. Neither were brought up for a vote, but Inhofe successfully fought to remove the Senate language during conference. 

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ICYMI: Senator Inhofe Discusses Bergdahl Case on CNN

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today discussed with CNN’s Brianna Keiler the developments on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s charges of desertion.

CNN 12.10.15

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ICYMI: Sen. Inhofe Discusses the Republic of Burundi’s Current Situation and Way Forward

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today gave a U.S. Senate floor speech on the current situation in the Republic of Burundi, highlighting the importance of working together to end the violence and beginning a dialogue between both sides in Kampala.

Burundi

Click here to watch the floor speech

As prepared for delivery:

I rise today to speak about Burundi, its people, and the future.

Despite a history of outside interference, civil wars and social unrest, Burundi has emerged as a largely cohesive society, overcoming the ethnic divisions that plagued it in the 20th century. 

On April 3, I led a Congressional Delegation of six Members to Burundi where we visited with President Nkurunziza and members of the Parliament of Burundi.

We saw continued growth as a democracy and signs of movement towards a diversified economy under the leadership of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

President Nkurunziza's announcement on April 25 to run for president again was met by increased protests and criticism from the international community, charging that it violated Burundi’s constitution which allows the president to be elected for a mandate of five years renewable one time.

On May 4, Burundi’s Constitutional Court ruled that President Nkurunziza’s first term did not count because he was picked by parliament rather than elected by the people.  This was followed by a failed coup attempt that ended on May 15.

Leading up to the presidential elections, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union urged “all Burundian stakeholders to respect the decision of the Constitution Court, when delivered.”

On May 29, I along with Senator Rounds and Representatives Buchanan, Barton, Kirkpatrick, and Walberg voiced our support for the decision of Burundi's Constitutional Court and called on the international community to support the court’s ruling.

President Nkurunziza won the election for president on July 21 with 69 percent of the vote.

Instead of working with Burundi and its people, the international community denounced the election and stepped up pressure on the newly elected government via sanctions and the withdrawal of support.

The United States suspended military training in July, announced that Burundi will no longer benefit from trade preferences under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act beginning in 2016, and sanctioned four individuals who have contributed to the turmoil, including threats to peace and security, actions that undermine democratic institutions and human rights abuses.

I am concerned that the responses by the United States and international community will do more harm than good in terms of finding a resolution to the current political crisis.

Young people denied jobs will become recruitment fodder for terrorist organizations, making a bad situation worse.

According to a New York Times article written on December 5, the violence seems to have shifted from what appeared to be government-sponsored to rebel-sponsored, “There have been more assassination attempts, more grenades tossed at government property and more random shootings all thought to be the handiwork of the opposition.”

Yesterday, December 8, nearly 100 Burundian protesters who opposed President Nkurunziza during months of violence in Bujumbura have been released from prison.

We must continue to support and stand with the people of Burundi and their growth as a democratic nation.

The United States and international community should support and encourage a political resolution, not drive division and further unrest.

While the violence and the loss of life that has occurred in Burundi cannot be condoned, the situation could have been much worse if it were not for the actions taken by President Nkurunziza, the opposition forces and the people of Burundi.

I have been working to bring all parties together to resolve their differences and was encouraged by comments made at Burundi’s National Prayer Breakfast by President Nkurunziza and representatives of different political parties about looking forward and not behind, and calling for dialogue to resolve differences.

I echo President Museveni’s confidence that a lasting solution to the conflict in Burundi will be found and I encourage all sides to meet together in Kampala as soon as possible to begin resolving political differences. 

I consider President Museveni a friend and I believe he is the leader that can facilitate efforts to find a lasting solution to the political situation in Burundi.

The way forward begins first with putting the elections behind us and acknowledging Pierre Nkurunziza is the president of Burundi.

Second, an immediate agreement by all sides to work together to end the violence and provide the time needed to resolve differences in Kampala.  This also includes the international community who I charge to take positive actions to help enhance peace versus merely demand it through punishment.

Finally, begin all-inclusive meetings in Kampala under the leadership of President Museveni.

I understand the fears that Burundi may regress toward ethnic violence, but I do not agree it is a likely outcome of the current situation. 

We must work with Burundi, not isolate it and its people – only by working together and maintaining stability and calm can we avoid the widespread bloodshed the harshest critics are predicting will come true.

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