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December 20, 2019

In Their Words: Praise for Inhofe's Work on Year-End Appropriations Bills

Stakeholders from Oklahoma and across the country praised Sen. Inhofe’s work on the appropriations bills which passed the Senate yesterday to fully fund the Department of Defense as authorized in Inhofe’s National Defense Authorization Act. In addition to defense funding, these bills provide the necessary funding for critical Oklahoma priorities. Click here for a comment from Sen. Inhofe and a summary of the provisions he secured in the legislation.

“The Army has been clear—long range precision fires is their top modernization goal, and the PIM is how we get there. Lawton knows the importance of this mission for the nation, for the Army and for our own community. We appreciate Chairman Inhofe’s work to ensure the PIM program is fully funded, which, in turn, fuels the economy of our region,” said Mike Brown, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.

“As the Chairman of the Altus Military Affairs Committee and on behalf of the Altus community, we applaud Senator Inhofe’s tireless commitment to policy and funding to continue fundamental KC-46A program stability and support to meet the Air Force mission.  Our nation’s air refueling aircraft are crucial to the future of our national security and the KC-46A ‘Pegasus’ has started the process of replacing our aging tanker aircraft inventory.  Senator Inhofe’s tenacious work as the Chairman of the United States Senate Armed Services Committee has been nothing short of remarkable in support of the United States Air Force and his commitment to the delivery and support of the KC-46. The men and women in our nation’s armed forces deserve our absolute best effort and Senator Jim Inhofe has been the champion for readiness, enhanced military capabilities, and predictable budgeting for stabilized National Defense Strategy and execution. With the addition of the KC-46A mission set at Altus AFB, the tanker and mobility community will be able to capitalize on the synergistic training benefit to both meet and exceed global force requirements for our nation’s security,” said Dr. Joe Leverett, Chairman of the Altus Military Affairs Committee.

“Tinker Air Force Base is the future home for all maintenance and sustainment efforts on the B-21 where our talented workforce and decades of experience will be utilized appropriately. As the largest single-site employer in Oklahoma and the hub of our aerospace defense industry, the continued growth of Tinker’s maintenance and repair work is also a positive sign of growth for the region’s economy. Tinker is the right location for this critical mission,” said Patti Ripple, Director of Military, Aviation and Aerospace at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

“We applaud Senator Inhofe’s attention to our Nation’s #1 Defense Department priority, ‘Improving Military Readiness.’ He was able to obtain additional funding for the Research and Development of Advanced Pilot Training. Vance AFB has led the way in developing improved and efficient methods to increase the number of U.S. Air Force Pilots trained in Oklahoma by at least 34 percent. Senator Inhofe also secured funding for the new Advanced jet trainer, the T-7A Red Hawk, which is the much needed replacement for the T-38 utilized for Pilot Training at Vance AFB,” said Mike Cooper, Chairman of the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission.

“Impact Aid is critical to our ability to provide quality education in support of the children of our nation’s heroes, and provides communities such as our Southwest Oklahoma communities, necessary resources to meet the educational needs of our future generations,” said Brenda Spencer-Ragland, Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce. “Our military families deserve the absolute best education possible and this can be a reality through the continued funding of Impact Aid.”

"The Oklahoma National Guard is very pleased for the continued support and funding for the Department of Defense STARBASE program,” said Major General Michael Thompson, the Adjutant General, Oklahoma National Guard. “We are proud to operate one of the nation's top STARBASE programs, exposing Oklahoma's youth to STEM instruction and activities as well as providing exposure to positive military role models found in our Oklahoma National Guard and Active Duty military installations."

“Because of Chairman Inhofe’s leadership, this year’s NDAA fully funds the Advanced Individual Training Barracks Complex on the base. These barracks ensure that Fort Sill can continue to accommodate key missions and priorities—ensuring that it will play an important role in Army modernization for years to come,” said Mike Brown, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.

"The military construction funding of $18.9 million to support construction at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base provides organic bulk fuel to support surge flying operations- critical to increasing the unit's overall readiness," said Brigadier General Brent Wright, Chief of Staff-Air, Oklahoma National Guard.

“Long range planning and funding of our nation’s transportation systems, including the interstate highways and inland waterways, helps lower freight costs and speed delivery to market,” said David Yarbrough, Port Director of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. “Funding included in the appropriations act will help inland states like Oklahoma enhance its multimodal transportation corridors, moving goods from the coastal ports to the interior, growing jobs and enhancing the state economy. Critical waterway infrastructure, such as locks and dams, must be maintained and improved to continue moving over 98 percent of the nation’s imports and exports that touch ports and waterways, representing 1.4 billion tons of freight annually, with a value of $2 trillion.”

“This certainty in federal transportation funding for 2020 is very good news for ODOT because it allows us to keep sensibly planning and delivering projects in a measured and accountable manner,” said Tim Gatz, Secretary of Transportation of Oklahoma and Executive Director of Oklahoma Department of Transportation. “I’m grateful for Senator Inhofe’s continued leadership and his carrying the torch to help Oklahoma get federal grants over the years to put to use on much needed projects. We are very pleased with the funding levels and additional discretionary funding included in the bill. ODOT is so fortunate to have a great working relationship with Oklahoma’s congressional delegation on transportation issues.”

“We sincerely thank Senator Inhofe for longstanding support of the airport community in Oklahoma,” said Spencer Dickerson, Executive Director of the U.S. Contact Tower Association, an affiliated organization of the American Association of Airport Executives.  With his steadfast leadership, the FAA contract tower program will now have the necessary funding to ensure that smaller airports in Oklahoma and throughout the country can operate safely and efficiently.  We are also very grateful for Senator Inhofe’s support for the increase in FAA airport infrastructure and safety grants.”

“Thanks to Senator Inhofe’s leadership, this Appropriations package will help ensure the aviation industry has a trained, well-qualified workforce,” said Christian Klein, Executive Vice President of the Aeronautical Repair Station Association. “By leading the effort to create and fund a new maintenance workforce development grant program, Senator Inhofe is helping address a technician shortage that is recognized as the biggest strategic challenge to the U.S. aviation maintenance industry. Over the next several years, thousands of workers in Oklahoma and elsewhere throughout the country will develop skills that will allow them to pursue careers in the growing, global, high-tech aviation sector. Those workers will, in turn, contribute to the economic life of their communities, help their companies compete on the international stage and build on the U.S. civil aviation sectors already outstanding safety record. ARSA and its members thank Senator Inhofe for making workforce a priority and look forward to working with him to ensure the new program fully achieves its goals.”

"We are pleased to see Congress show a commitment to increased funding for competitive research in the appropriations for agricultural research and Extension in the final appropriations bill and we thank Sen. Inhofe for his continued leadership on this front,” said Thomas G. Coon, Vice President for Agricultural Programs, Oklahoma State University. “Our country risks falling behind to other nations who are investing heavily into their agricultural research infrastructure. Increases in support for public research is critical to the future competitive strength of the American agriculture, food and natural resource industries."

“Manufacturing Extension Partnerships are the American backbone supporting small and medium-sized industrial firms,” said Dave Rowland, President of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. “Finding and retaining skilled employees remains the primary challenge of our manufacturers. The national network of Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers offers the technically-focused resources needed to address this workforce skills gap. The efforts in creating high-wage jobs while growing companies through the adoption of new technologies and expanded markets raises the standard of living in communities across the country. We applaud Senator Inhofe’s strong support for this program and the resources it brings to Oklahoma-based small businesses.”

“We are deeply appreciative of the strong support from Senator Inhofe across a broad front of important weather initiatives from radar, the mesonet to basic science,” said Berrien Moore III Dean, College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences and Director, National Weather Center. “This support will help us provide better forecasts of severe weather and save lives. This is our mission and dedication, and Senator Inhofe's support has been both steadfast and visionary. We thank him.”

“The Friends of the National World War II Memorial offers its heartfelt appreciation to our Congress and President for recognizing the 75th anniversary of World War II and for providing funding to support the organizations across the country that are working tirelessly to commemorate this significant and historic anniversary and to pay tribute to our ‘Greatest Generation’,” said Holly Rotondi, Executive Director of the Friends of the National World War II Memorial. “A special thanks to Senator James Inhofe for his steadfast leadership in ensuring the success of this important legislation and for helping to honor and preserve the national memory of World War II.”

“We are excited by the extension of the Former Indian Lands Tax Credit,” said Sean Kouplen, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development. “This is an important incentive that Oklahoma uses in our economic development efforts.  The incentive allows Oklahoma to recruit capital investment and jobs, especially to rural areas of the state, that strengthen and diversify our economy,  We appreciate Senator Inhofe’s leadership and his work to include this important incentive in the tax package.”

“OGE Energy Corporation applauds Senator Inhofe’s thoughtful leadership and steadfast support for extending the Indian Lands accelerated depreciation provision through 2020,” said Brian Alford, Director of Corporate Affairs, OGE Energy Corp. “While OGE strongly supports the Senator’s continued efforts to make the provision permanent, with this temporary extension in the year-end appropriations package Oklahoma and the rest of the Nation will continue to see highly beneficial job creation and economic development on property located on Indian lands.  The availability of accelerated depreciation provides much needed incentive and lends desirable predictability to investment decisions for entities considering capital projects on Indian lands. These investments benefit both Native Americans in Oklahoma and our State’s economy in general by generating increased employment opportunities and economic development in our state.”

“Senator Inhofe’s support to include the RURAL Act in the year-end Tax Extender’s package saved Oklahoma Electric Cooperative members and consumers millions of dollars,” said Chris Meyers, General Manager and CEO of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. “Preserving the tax treatment of FEMA and other federal grants received by Electric Co-ops to assist with disaster recovery ensures we can continue to provide cost-effective electricity across our networks.” 

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