WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today released an annual report outlining initiatives and accomplishments made by his office in 2014 for the people of Oklahoma to include passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act and the American Airlines employee retirement security legislation (H.R. 2591).
In the opening letter of the report, Inhofe wrote: “Each year, I strive to defend our state from Washington bureaucracy and oppressive regulations and to preserve our values by passing legislation that improves the livelihood of Oklahomans. This past year was no different. I worked to protect Oklahoma from the Washington-knows-best mentality and took action that spans from addressing unnecessary energy and environmental regulations to preventing politicized cuts to our national defense resources. The administration’s crippling regulations and attempts to change Oklahoma’s voice of reason will not be allowed as long as I serve our great state.”
Below are the top five highlights from 2014, to name a few:
Aviation: On July 16, 2014, Inhofe joined Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in introducing S.2614, legislation that extended to American Airline (AA) employees the option to contribute recently received bankruptcy settlements into retirement accounts without incurring a tax penalty. The Senate passed Inhofe’s legislation on Dec. 10, signaling strong bipartisan support for passage in Congress. Since all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives, the House took up the companion legislation, H.R. 2591, and passed it on Dec. 11, which in turn the Senate passed on Dec. 13 and sent it to the president’s desk for signature. AA employs nearly 100,000 individuals, including more than 5,800 Oklahomans, many who will be able to benefit from this new law.
Defense: As the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Inhofe worked to ensure passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. In the face of politicized budget cuts to our national security, Inhofe fought to maintain readiness of all our forces for another year while also protecting military members and their families from the president’s proposed budget cuts to compensation. Inhofe also preserved many national security measures that are supported by the Oklahoma community, to include retaining the full fleet of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, maintaining the delivery schedule of the first KC-24A to Altus Air Force Base by 2016, and securing 13 MC-12 aircraft for the Oklahoma Air National Guard as well as needed funding for sustaining and modernizing the total force – Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve Components.
Energy: On Feb. 27, 2014, Inhofe joined Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) in introducing S.2065 to streamline regulations imposed on automakers for the production of natural gas vehicles (NGV), while also providing consumers with non-financial incentives to purchase natural gas vehicles. The language modified the Department of Transportation’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulatory standards to create parity for natural gas dual-fuel automobiles. The CAFE related provisions were incorporated into the FY’15 NDAA as Section 318 and signed into law in December 2014.
Infrastructure: On June 10, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Water Resource Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), of which Inhofe was a member of the conference committee and secured several provisions to benefit the state of Oklahoma. Among those provisions, Inhofe secured a permanent exemption from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule for farmers and ranchers.
Veterans: On July 31, 2014, Congress passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill to reform the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). When the legislation was originally introduced, it included authorization for the VA Secretary to carry out 27 major medical facility leases in 19 states. As Congress worked through the legislation, the Tulsa VA clinic was removed from the bill, bringing the number down to 26 clinics. When this was announced, Inhofe immediately, upon return to Tulsa, toured the clinic and pledged to restore the needed funding to keep the facility’s services available and doors open after 2020. Inhofe worked behind the scenes pressing leaders on the legislation, which led to the Tulsa VA clinic’s funding being restored before final passage of the legislation.
A copy of the annual report is available online by visiting https://www.inhofe.senate.gov. Readers can also access the report directly with the following link: http://issuu.com/jiminhofe/docs/annual_report_final_2014
The office of Sen. Jim Inhofe has regularly published an annual report since 2008.