Edmond Sun: INHOFE: Funding the Federal Government the Right Way

By:  U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe
Edmond Sun

When Republicans regained the majority in the Senate, we promised to restore regular order. This began with passing a budget resolution, setting Congress’s funding priorities to include defunding ObamaCare, redirecting priorities to national defense and infrastructure, and balancing the budget over the next 10 years without raising taxes.

Following its historic passage, the Senate focused next on getting committees back to work. Last year, the Senate Appropriations Committee made a notable step forward by processing all 12 regular appropriations bills, directing federal spending, for the first time since 2009 when the Democrats gained the majority in both Chambers.

This year, the committee did it again — this time processing all 12 bills a the quickest rate since 1988. Each funding bill includes notable victories for Oklahomans:

1. State Department and Foreign Operations:  Increases aid to Israel. Prioritizes funds to promote religious freedom. Blocks taxpayer funding of any abortion. Enhances U.S. embassy security to prevent terrorist attacks.

2. Labor, Health and Human Services, Education: Blocks new funding for ObamaCare. Prohibits bailouts for the health insurance industry. Supports implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act that repealed Common Core.

3. Financial Services and General Government:  Blocks IRS funds from targeting groups or individuals based on ideological beliefs or for exercising First Amendment rights.

4. Interior and Environment: Forces EPA to return to its core mission of environmental cleanup instead of costly climate mandates. Prohibits EPA from implementing the Waters of the U.S. rule. Prohibits the Lesser Prairie Chicken from being added back onto the endangered species list.

5. Defense Department (DOD): Funds defense at spending levels set by the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. Prioritizes funds to improve combat readiness and support wartime efforts. Blocks funding for moving Gitmo detainees to U.S. Soil.

6. Homeland Security:  Provides for the hiring of 40,000 new border law enforcement positions. Requires the agency to enforce all current immigration laws. Requires the agency to submit a report on visa overstays and investigate refugees who could be affiliated with terrorism or committed criminal offenses.

7. Commerce, Justice, Science: Blocks the use of taxpayer dollars, at my request, to implement the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. Reprioritizes funding to the FBI to defend American soil against terrorism and foreign intelligence threats.

8. MilCon-Veterans:  Provides Oklahoma with $77 million in military construction to continue making our state the most attractive for future military growth. Prioritizes increased VA spending to focus on improving patient access to healthcare.

9. Transportation-HUD:  Fully funds the FAST Act, my legislation to support our nation’s transportation system, and provides Oklahoma over $707 million for the next fiscal year. Includes a provision at my request to support the development of natural gas vehicles. Fully funds the federal Contract Tower program.

10. Energy and Water:  Funds key Army Corps projects, to include 20 Oklahoma lakes that provide essential water resources. Directs the agency at my request to prioritize projects in drought-stricken areas. Funds a program to support state-based regulation of oil and natural gas development.

11. Agriculture, Rural Development: Blocks new regulations imposed on restaurants. Funds a flood prevention program that has not received money since 2010, which would help dams and levees across Oklahoma.

12. Legislative Branch:  Freezes the pay of Members of Congress.

The Majority Leader has worked to bring these bills to the Senate floor for debate, but Senate Democrats have shut down the process, demanding more spending for their liberal programs by hamstringing funds for military and veterans.

The fiscal year comes to an end in September, and we are facing another cliff. Please sign up for my weekly e-newsletter updates at www.inhofe.senate.gov where I will explain in more depth how the Senate is working to avoid another omnibus.