While I can criticize both the process and part of the content of the omnibus bill, I want to point out 10 victories that the public needs to be aware of.
First, it’s important to note that for the first time in six years, the Senate, under a new Republican majority, and the House passed all 12 annual appropriations out of their committees. When it came time for Senate floor consideration, Democrats blocked the appropriations and forced an omnibus spending bill.
As I said on the Senate floor last week, we can fix this problem by changing Senate rules so that appropriations bills can be considered with a simple majority instead of the current 60-vote threshold. Until this change happens or there is a new administration, Republicans have to use the omnibus to force the president to sign into law the following 10 conservative provisions:
1. The bill repeals the crude oil export ban and the president can’t reverse that. Oklahoma has lost 20,000 jobs in the last year because of an inability to trade oil. This provision will help us create jobs again and help our allies who have been left turning to Russia and Iran for energy.
2. The bill protects the unborn. Provisions in the bill were included that prohibit federal funding of abortion, abortion funding in federal employees’ healthcare, and abortion funding in the District of Columbia.
3. The bill continues to dismantle “Obamacare.” In the omnibus bill, we successfully delayed significant funding sources of “Obamacare” until the next administration, including the medical device tax. It also defunds the Independent Payment Advisory Board known as death panels. Important to note is that “Obamacare” was repealed and Planned Parenthood was defunded in the Senate-passed reconciliation bill. The House will send that bill to the president’s desk in the coming weeks.
4. The bill provides no money for the Green Climate Fund. Despite the president pledging billions of taxpayer dollars to a slush fund for other countries as part of his final climate agreement in Paris, we blocked this funding in the omnibus.
5. The bill protects the Second Amendment. At my request, a provision was included in the omnibus to block funding for the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which would give U.N. bureaucrats the ability to regulate our guns.
6. The bill keeps Gitmo open. If the president could have his way, he’d bring dangerous terrorists housed at Guantanamo Bay to the United States. A needed annual provision in the omnibus bill blocks this.
7. The bill fully funds national security. With this omnibus, Republicans provided our troops with the resources needed to effectively fight ISIS on the enemy’s turf and keep America safe. We also provide new funding to guard Americans against electronic threats from Iran and China, which not only want to do us harm economically but also rob us of our personal sense of security.
8. The bill reins in EPA. The omnibus cuts a half-billion dollars in funding for EPA from the president’s request, so the agency will have less ability to operate outside its mission. The omnibus also blocked the president’s request for additional funds to implement the new Waters of the U.S. rule, and we denied his request to hire additional lawyers to defend his regulations in court.
9. The bill helps small businesses. The omnibus makes permanent a number of temporary tax provisions key to Oklahoma job creators. Small business expensing was made permanent, allowing small businesses to expense $500,000 in equipment every year, significantly lowering their tax bills.
10. The bill helps our allies. It provides funding for lethal aid to Ukraine where Russia is trying to expand its territory.
This list is by no means comprehensive; none of these provisions would have been signed into law independently. It took using the power of the purse, Congress’ constitutional responsibility, to force the president to accept these conservative policies. The omnibus wasn’t perfect, but it was a step toward reversing course on the past seven years.
Jim Inhofe, a Republican, is Oklahoma’s senior U.S. senator. Six of the state’s seven members of Congress voted for the omnibus funding bill. The only Oklahoma delegation member to vote against it was U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-First District.