BY: Adam Kredo, The Washington Free Beacon, July 15, 2014
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D., Nev.) refusal to permit a key defense bill from coming to a vote is endangering U.S. troops around the world and allowing terror groups to gain strength, according to Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), who is spearheading a new campaign to expose Reid’s dangerous behavior.
The entire U.S. defense apparatus, as well as the U.S. military, depends on a key yearly spending bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a piece of legislation that outlines and funds the nation’s national security priorities.
The 2015 NDAA already passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate, where Reid has near absolute control over which bills receive a vote.
Inhofe, in a new video first provided to the Washington Free Beacon, outlines the danger posed by Reid’s obstruction and urges Americans to call the majority leader’s office and demand that the bill be voted on before Congress leaves town in August. If the current NDAA does not come to a vote before the end of the fiscal year, there will be a funding gap for national security priorities.
Inhofe’s campaign is a sign of mounting frustration with Reid, who has alienated GOP senators and others by refusing to allow important pieces of legislation to receive an up or down vote.
The NDAA also is Congress’ main mechanism to provide oversight over the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which in many cases has been run around Congress via unilateral executive orders.
“We’ve got a serious problem,” Inhofe warns in the video, which explains how a failure to pass the NDAA will negatively impact U.S. troops and national security interests across the globe.
The NDAA, among other things, provides funding to joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense projects, such as the Iron Dome, which has helped protect Israeli citizens from Hamas rockets bombarding the Jewish state.
Funding to reinforce and bolster these programs will not reach Israel in a timely fashion if Reid continues to prevent the NDAA from coming to a vote.
The NDAA additionally contains measures to stop Russian spy flights, boost the U.S. military presence to combat Iran, provide Congress with oversight authority over the Iran nuclear deal, and force the Treasury Department to sever financial ties with companies that support the Iranian regime, among many other things.
All of these security priorities are in jeopardy because of Reid, Inhofe said.
“We rely on our men and women in uniform to keep us safe,” the video states. “They should be able to rely on Congress.”
Inhofe told the Free Beacon that Reid’s refusal to bring the bill to a vote is interfering with Congress’ ability to conduct oversight.
“The NDAA ensures vital oversight of the president’s policies and ensures that our men and women in uniform are provided the equipment and training they need to defend the United States and return home safely to their loved ones,” said Inhofe, the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), which drafted the NDAA.
“At a time when our men and women in uniform are being challenged by unparalleled threats around the world, they need our support more than ever. The NDAA must come to the floor now, before the August recess, so that we can debate these important issues and move quickly to conference,” Inhofe said. “We need to demonstrate to our military that their well-being is our priority and show the American people that the president’s national security policies will not go unchecked.”
Inhofe explains in the video that America’s credibility and security is on the line.
“In Iraq, al Qaeda-inspired terrorists have returned, contrary to the claims of some that al Qaeda is on the run,” he says. “It’s clear they’re operating in more countries and control more territory then ever before.”
“Iraq and Syria have become the largest terrorist safe haven in the world, serving as a breeding ground for the next generation of jihadists,” Inhofe states. “We’re empowering Russia and Iran to lead and become key influencers in the region. If anyone out there is naïve enough to think we can depend on Iran to help our situation there is sadly mistaken.”
Inhofe warned that the chaos caused by last year’s late passage of the bill would only repeat itself this time around.
“If there is anything that we should learn from this, it’s we don’t let happen this year what happened last yar” when Reid also held up the NDAA bill, he said. “Let the people know, and the kids know who are over there risking their lives, that we support that and will be putting together an NDAA bill.”
Reid has not communicated with top Republican senators why he is refusing to permit a vote on the NDAA.
Senior Senate insiders familiar with the debate say he could be protecting Democrats who are up for reelection from having to take tough votes on measures pertaining to Iran and other issues.
Now is not the time to play politics with America’s security, Inhofe said.
“There needs to be an open and honest debate about the rising threats to our national security and the future of our military,” he said. “We’ve entered a period of unprecedented instability where violent terrorist groups operate in more countries and control more territory than ever before and countries like China, Russia, and Iran increasingly dictate global events.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today shared stories on the Senate floor from Oklahomans who are suffering from President Obama’s broken promise of access to affordable healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.
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As prepared for delivery:
Mr. President, many Oklahomans have come to me with truly heartbreaking accounts of how Obamacare has impacted them. Their family budgets are taking the hardest hits, both directly with increases in premiums and deductibles and also indirectly by having their work days and week hours cut. In turn, they are also telling me their health care access or quality has not improved, and in some cases has even worsened.
Since the disastrous roll out last fall, my office has been flooded with stories from Oklahomans who found ObamaCare to be one massive broken promise from President Obama. These stories include a woman from Broken Arrow who reported a 20 percent increase in her monthly premiums. A father from Owasso, shared a story of his son and daughter, who serve as missionaries in Indonesia and their healthcare deductibles in the U.S. have more than doubled from $1200 per person to $2600 per person.
One teacher from Copan who teaches adjunct college classes, shared that not only did she have her work hours cut, but she is now paying $950 a month in premiums for health care, with a $6000 deductible. Another teacher from Sallisaw, shared that her deductible increased by $1,000 from last year.
A man from Noble told us that his company modified their health plans to match the ObamaCare requirements outlined by the Department of Health and Human Services. He said these changes cost him a 40 percent increase in his out of pocket expenses and premium costs.
One Tulsa man, with a family of five, who works for a small business shared with us that he is now paying over $4,000 more for insurance than what he paid just a year ago.
This November, a new open enrollment period will begin and at least one state, Virginia, has already reported an astounding 22 percent in increases to one of their insurers’ premium costs for 2015. While my state of Oklahoma has yet to release its numbers, I suspect, and fear, that we could follow.
I continue to oppose Obamacare, and will do everything I can to roll back its devastating effects and ensure that Oklahomans, and all Americans, have truly affordable health care that fits their personal needs in a fiscally responsible manner with the most choices available.
President Obama has spent about $120 billion on climate change initiatives since taking office. That is the equivalent of 1,400 F-35s — the Pentagon’s most expensive fighter jets, according to estimates by Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Pentagon, dealing with unprecedented spending cuts, plans to slash the Army’s size to pre-World War II levels. Top brass are grappling with which programs to cut and are questioning military readiness.
At the same time, the White House is pushing its climate change agenda at the expense of other programs and perhaps national security, Mr. Inhofe said.
“When you have the top person in the military — the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [Gen.] Martin Dempsey saying our force is so degraded and so unready that it would be immoral to use force. That’s big time, that’s serious,” said Mr. Inhofe in an interview with The Washington Times.
“Our capabilities historically since World War II have been what our strategy was: to be able to fight in two fronts in two separate wars — we can’t do that now,” said Mr. Inhofe. “I’ve got 20 kids and grandkids, and when I bail out of here I want to make sure that we have a military that’s going to take care of them.”
That means spending a little more than 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product on defense — roughly the level to which payments have dropped under the Obama administration, Mr. Inhofe said.
Last year, Russia outspent the U.S. in defense for the first time in more than a decade, allocating 4.8 percent of its GDP to military arms, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
“There are people who don’t want to believe that the threat is real out there,” said Mr. Inhofe, noting that China has increased its arms spending by 300 percent while the U.S. has been cutting back. “And it’s so convenient not to believe it. I’d give anything to say, ‘Oh we’re still the strongest, and have the most modern stuff,’ when we don’t have the capabilities that the American public believes we have.”
Military analysts agree with the senator. The president’s defense cuts, combined with sequestration — automatic cuts that are scheduled to shave $492 billion from the military’s budget over a period of 10 years — are having a negative impact on the readiness and ability of our nation’s defense.
“The sky technically is falling for the Defense Department, but it’s more of a slow bleed rather than one significant event or precipitous moment,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, a national security analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. “All defense priorities are taking a hit including readiness and people — the two things that politicians have hoped to avoid. There’s a squeeze and it’s real.”
In a May hearing, Gen. Dempsey told Congress that budget cuts were causing the military to “hemorrhage readiness and cutting further into modernization. [This means] risk to the performance of our mission and risk to those who serve continues to grow.”
With sequestration, military and combat readiness are usually the first to go because they are the easiest to cut with the fastest monetary return, said Nora Bensahel, a fellow at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security.
“The defense cuts of the past few years and that will extend as a requirement of sequestration really are having an effect on the military readiness,” she said. “There is great pressure to find savings quickly to meet the required level of cuts. Operations and maintenance funds — the funds the forces use for readiness — are the easiest way to get your hands on money really fast. That includes everything that a unit needs to operate, to deploy on a rotation to the national training center, to maintaining equipment, and buying ammunition comes out of those funds. So when they get cut, readiness levels go down.”
Yet the White House has other spending priorities.
In 2009, the White House guaranteed a $2.1 billion alternative energy loan to Solar Trust of America — which later went defunct — leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. That money was enough to patch the 2015 budget shortfall for military pay and housing, Mr. Inhofe notes.
This year, the president has pledged $757 million for the Global Climate Change Initiative to help build green power plants abroad. That is the equivalent of 50 Black Hawk helicopters that the National Guard and reserve units need under the Army Aviation Restructure initiative.
Even the Defense Department’s budget is full of green initiatives that the president ordered. To cut fossil fuels in the combat theater, the military has been taking action such as adding solar panels to tents and backpacks and sealing camps with an insulating coating so cooled that air does not leak.
The Defense Department now dispatches energy teams to operating bases with policy knowledge of how renewable energy systems can be used, and they can work with soldiers on the ground to ascertain the best practical implementation. Biofuels have been ordered to be used to fuel equipment, and a pilot program is underway to try all-electric vehicles on six bases in five states.
Last month, a Government Accountability Office report found that the military was spending as much as $150 a gallon on alternative jet fuel derived from algal oil rather than $2.88 a gallon for conventional jet fuel.
“Why should the Defense Department be paying for solar panels? Why should defense be paying for biorefineries? Those are not defense items. We have a Department of Energy that’s supposed to be doing that stuff. The disarming of America is not just what he’s been doing in cuts or delays like the F-35s, but less obvious is what he’s puts in [the defense budget] that we’re spending money on that should be spent on defense as opposed to his agenda.
“Now, [the president’s] true to his agenda, and you may agree with it and that’s fine. I don’t,” Mr. Inhofe said.
Still, the Pentagon is no harbinger for fiscal responsibility, said Sen. Tom Coburn, a fellow Oklahoma Republican.
In his 2014 infamous waste book, Mr. Coburn found it offensive that the Department of Defense was destroying $7 billion worth of usable vehicles and other military equipment — rather than selling it or shipping it back home — as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were drawing down, and that $82.5 million was gifted to local law enforcement agencies in the form of surplus mine resistant ambush protected tactical vehicles.
Mr. Inhofe acknowledges that fiscal strings could be tightened. He is proposing putting more authority in the hands of the military — rather than other government bureaucrats and contractors — to decide how to modify plans when a ship or plane encounters cost overruns.
He also is recommending no contract cancellations after a certain milestone has been met. Many times, projects are almost completed before they are canceled, he said, which has been a significant contributor to time and money waste.
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U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, spoke on the Senate floor yesterday on why we need to progress the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
As prepared for delivery:
It was just over two years ago that President Obama came to Cushing, Oklahoma, gave a speech on national TV with all of the pipeline tubes in the background, andtold the American people that he would “cut through the red tape, break through bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”
Since then, he has done everything to destroy the pipeline.
The Southern leg of the pipeline may be finished, but that was the part of the project the President didn’t have any say in. It was a separate project that did not require presidential approvalbecause it did not cross an international border.
The portion between Canada and Cushing (the crossroads of all pipelines), however, remains stalled, and at this point I think the only reason is billionaire Tom Steyer.
If you haven’t heard of him before, let me introduce you to him.
Back inFebruary, Tom Steyer revealed that he was planning to spend $100 million tomake two things happen: make global warming a national issue again and keep the Keystone Pipeline from being built. And these are his words, not mine.
A few weeks ago, he said explicitly that “it is true that we expect to be heavily involved in the midterm elections…we are looking at a bunch of…races…My guess is that we’ll end up being involved in 8 or even more races.”
And we just learned this week that, as the President marks the 1-year anniversary of his Climate Action Plan that Tom Steyer is going to meet personally with him.
I don’t know how much of the $100 million will be spent on a report to falsify the impact of global warming, but everyone knows that enacting global warming regulations will cost the nation $300 billion to $400 billion per year in lost economic activity (WEFA – MIT – Charles River).
The Keystone Pipeline, which Tom Steyer wants to stop, would create 42,000 jobs and tens of thousands more would be supported in the manufacturing sector.
But Keystone is just the tip of the iceberg. If you look at this Chart [Chart 3] you can see all of the domestic energy resources that are being developed around the country right now. We’re going through a shale revolution, and the only thing getting in the way is the federal government.
Since President Obama came to office, oil production on private and state lands is up 61%.
Natural gas is up 33%. On federal land, however, oil production is down 6% and natural gas production is down 28%.
ICF International, a well-respected consulting firm, released a report last month that said that U.S. companies will need to invest $641 billion over the next twenty years in infrastructure to keep up with growing oil and gas production.
What does this mean for jobs? According to the analysis, the spending on these new pipelines alone will create 432,000direct jobs, and that’s based on a conservative estimate that does not assume we develop all of the resources in our country. If it included that, it would likely be far higher.
Keepingthis from happening would be the real impact of imposing anti-energy globalwarming policies. We need to build the Keystone Pipeline and provide regulatory certainty for the entire energy infrastructure sector. Without it, we’ll never reach energy independence.
The Keystone Pipeline needs to be built. We know all about the jobs, but more importantly there is not a single good reason why it should not be approved. Tom Steyer’s goal is to stop the oil in Canada from being developed and used, but he can’t do it. The Canadians have already had conversations with China about building a pipeline to Canada’s Pacific coast so they can ship the oil to Canada. So if the oil doesn’t come to the United States, Canada will just send it to China. Sorry Tom Steyer, you can’t win on this one.
Stopping the Keystone Pipeline is all pain for no gain. We need to get it built.
Distinctly Oklahoma Magazine
By Keith A. Eaton
The preamble to our constitution spells out the core values of America. Upholding those values just happen to be the guiding principles that motivate Senator Jim Inhofe in his quest to be the best Senator he can be, for Oklahoma and the nation.
Securing the blessings of liberty for our posterity and ourselves reflect Inhofe’s sense of urgency as he conducts his duties with an eye to directness, efficiency, clarity and pace while incorporating the long view in his legislative proposals. No quick fix, knee-jerk legislation is likely to gain his support.
“The constitution spells out only a limited number of duties that the central government is to perform, certainly not the myriad of actions currently undertaken, particularly by the current administration, that seek to intervene in the lives of everyday citizens at great cost to their liberty.” - Inhofe states his concern.
The Senator performs his duties, not based on polls, but on information he personally gathers by visiting his Oklahoma constituency every weekend in direct face-to-face meetings with business men, civic leaders, blue-collar working people, farmers and ranchers.
Inhofe has served in Oklahoma’s state legislature, both house and senate and served three mayoral terms in his home city of Tulsa, where he executed a successful business career and completed a B.S. degree from the University of Tulsa. This extensive resume of life experience complimented with a tour in the U.S. Army has proven invaluable to his twenty years in the U.S. Senate. But those twenty years have not made him victim to Potomac Fever, as his schedule makes clear.
“The reason I’m not constantly seen on the Sunday television talk shows is that I’m either in Oklahoma, the middle-east or Africa assessing for myself the issues I need to address in behalf of the American people and Oklahoma in particular.” – Jim explains.
As the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services committee Inhofe is positioned to influence policy, budgetary, and legislative actions that directly affect his primary interest, the defense of our country through a strong, well financed, trained and equipped military.
“The current administration had consistently sought to diminish our military readiness in every aspect through the cancellation of weapon systems, retrenchment of our offshore installations and lowering morale among both enlisted personnel and our career leadership.” - Inhofe pulls no punches in his assessment.
An examination of the administrations record supports his position considering the effort in the president’s first budget to kill the F-22 Raptor jet fighter, opposition to continued production of the C-17 military transport plane and cancellation of the ground based interceptor installation in Poland.
Intercepting such budgetary proposals designed to diminish our capability and capacity to defend our freedoms and protect our allies is not the first time Jim has acted decisively to thwart such attempts. First in 1995 and continuing periodically the dovish members of congress, usually with administration support, attempt to act under the umbrella of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) to accomplish their downsizing of lour military. Inhofe led the successful fight against another round of closures in last year’s congressional session.
Inhofe’s efforts have resulted in creating 4,000 new military and civilian jobs based in Oklahoma installations, including a 3.8 million square foot hanger for the Tinker Aerospace Complex, KC 46A aircraft maintenance facility improvements and moving Boeing C-130 contract work from California to Tinker resulting in the relocation of some 500 engineering and technical jobs. Additionally, Inhofe’s efforts have directly benefited Vance AFB with funding for a $10 million dollar traffic control tower. Ft. Sill benefited from dollars for barracks, firing range infrastructure and modernization of the Paladin mobile artillery system.
The Senator’s second major focus is national infrastructure. Maintaining our national interstate highway complex, interchanges and bridges is another job that is a responsibility of the federal government in partnership with state authorities. Again our Senator’s efforts achieved results benefiting Oklahoma and the nation’s economy.
As a major supporter of the TEA-21 legislation Inhofe’s efforts rewarded Oklahoma by moving the state from a net tax donor to the National Highway Trust Fund to a net receiver. In concrete terms Oklahoma went from a decade average receipt of $269 million to a six-year average of some $400 million, an increase of fifty-six percent. Similarly as author of TEA-LU, the Senator’s work sent three billion in taxes back to Oklahoma for road and bridge improvements.
Not one to relax, Inhofe has continued his fight to make Oklahoma a net receiver of funds. As so-sponsor of MAP-21 legislation, Inhofe indeed accomplished that goal with Oklahoma’s receipt of $600 million annually for the period 2012-2014 to support the continued repair of our state’s roads and bridges.
Traveling the state on a regular schedule, visiting Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers has given Jim the information he needs to fight the EPA’s regulation overreach (attempting to regulate DUST in farm country). The input from constituents has focused Jim’s efforts to make water supply and distribution adequate to the demands of our state agricultural community. His persistence in the effort to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is evidence of his commitment to the Oklahoma Agra community. In particular, he has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce regulation and increase water supplies to critical areas of Oklahoma farming and ranching in Southwest Oklahoma.
Beyond domestic affairs, Inhofe keeps his finger on the pulse of the Middle East by traveling to the various hotspots of the region every fifth weekend to assess personally the morale of our troops, the state of unrest in the Iraqi and Afghan governments and remain prepared to make knowledge based decision in his various committee roles.
Africa has occupied Inhofe from a geopolitical, economic and humanitarian perspective for the last decade. During one of his many trips to that continent he encountered a small, malnourished child who was subsequently adopted a compassionate and loving Arkansas family. The child Zagita Marie Inhofe is now twelve and has spoken at the senator’s annual Africa Dinner.
“There are hundreds of American families willing to adopt one of these African orphans and provide them a loving home. The political and bureaucratic red tape bordering on corruption and bribery stands in the path. It’s a human tragedy that I care deeply about.” - Inhofe relates.
The senator has made clear his intention to seek another term to continue the work he has dedicated a significant part of his life to accomplishing.
“I have more to do to restore America’s national defense, military and economy.” – Inhofe affirms.
Inhofe has clearly and articulately stated his views on the current debate over climate change, previously known as global warming, on the floor of the senate and in his book, The Greatest Hoax.
“The EPA, White House and the environmental alarmists headed by Al Gore have proposed the most damaging tax and regulatory burden imaginable in the name of an unproven and highly contested scientific theory alternately called global warming or climate change. If cap and trade legislation were to be enacted, it would ultimately destroy our free market economy.” - Inhofe warns.
The efforts of the current administration to curb development of our natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas through the technological miracle of horizontal drilling combined with the sixty years of experience of fracturing denies America the opportunity to be energy independent. By opening up opportunities to develop fully these resources we can achieve a lowered cost per btu of energy. In turn, we can retrieve lost manufacturing jobs from overseas and avoid paying billions of dollars to countries hostile to our way of life. Jim would likely say it’s a no-brainer. But for the extreme elements of environmentalism even a no-brainer is a high bar to reach.
Oklahomans have historically supported traditional values, a strong military, limited government and have cherished personal and economic freedom.
Their confidence in Jim Inhofe is well placed and Distinctly Oklahoman.