Six of Oklahoma’s seven member congressional delegation voted for the budget plan that passed both the House and Senate on the same day the President signed it.
Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK-1) voted against the trillion dollar “Omnibus” spending bill.
By filibustering annual appropriations bills, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats forced another crisis with a government shutdown looming. The Omnibus was negotiated behind closed doors by small number of Members of Congress and the White House. Members of congress were given less than 60 hours to digest over 2,000 pages and had to take an up or down vote with no amendments permitted.
Bridenstine said, “I cannot support a bill which funds Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, illegal executive amnesty, onerous EPA and Department of Labor regulations, and the Syrian refugee resettlement program, among other inappropriate government programs. The Omnibus also increases funding for the IRS and quadruples the number of low-wage ‘guest worker’ visas.”
The bill passed the Senate on a 65-33 vote after passing the House earlier in the day by a 316-113 margin.
It combined $1.4 trillion in new spending and $680 billion in tax cuts over ten years.
Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and James Lankford (R-OK) along with Congressmen Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2), Frank Lucas (R-OK-3), Tom Cole (R-OK-4) and Steve Russell (R-OK-5) each voted for the measure.
Cole said, “Divided government requires compromise, and this bill reflects that reality. Neither side got everything it wanted, but the end product reflects as much common ground as possible and allows lawmakers to restore regular order in the legislative process when we return in January.”
“This spending agreement fully funds our national priorities and contains policies that will help get our economy on track, many of which are aimed at supporting the success of rural America,” said Lucas.
“The repeal of the outdated crude oil export ban is a major victory for America’s energy future. Oil and gas businesses, which have been forced to scale back recently, are a major driver of our regional economy. Abolishing this export ban helps to alleviate the economic squeeze that has impacted producers, job growth and our state budget here at home.”
“This agreement also keeps the EPA in check by setting the agency’s funding to its lowest levels since 1989 and blocks any efforts to hit livestock producers with new climate change-related fees. Our country will also avoid over a billion dollars of punitive tariffs to our livestock industry through the repeal of COOL,” Cole concluded.
Russell said, “For perhaps the first time since 2009, we finally have been able to push back on the president’s harmful policies on national security and our economy. While the spending measure had several things lacking, it had many major wins. Namely, lifting the 40-year ban on oil exports will be a boon for the American economy. In Oklahoma alone, we can expect 11,000 new jobs in the energy sector by 2018. This strengthens our economy and reduces our trade deficit. Fixing the Visa Waiver Program will go a long way to secure our country against terrorists coming to our shores. On top of that, this bill offers the highest level of funding to secure our borders in the history of the country and adds 1,000 new agents. We have given our military certainty by fully funding our troops overseas as well as extending their benefits at home for them and their families. Small businesses will now have certainty on credits for new equipment. We have also severely reigned in overreaching agencies such as the EPA. Lifting these burdens will lead to economic growth for the country.
“While no comprehensive all-in-one bill will be perfect, the FY 2016 Omnibus has major wins that set the conditions to fight back even more next year.”