Dear Oklahoma Friends and Neighbors, 

Welcome to my first e-newsletter as a U.S. Senator for the State of Oklahoma. I'm grateful to have the privilege to serve you in Washington, and I don't take this responsibility lightly. Please allow me the opportunity to update you on the Senate.

My first few months in the Senate
On January 6th, I was sworn in as Oklahoma's 18th United States Senator and chosen for the following four Committees: the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Indian Affairs. I was also appointed Co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, along with its founder, Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-04). One of my key areas of influence this Congress will be in the role of Chairman for the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management. This Subcommittee's jurisdiction includes the federal rulemaking process; the evaluation of past and proposed regulations; the federal workforce; and the District of Columbia.

We are still in temporary office space in Washington D.C. and in Tulsa, but our staff has done an exceptional job in the transition. Oklahomans would be proud to see the tremendous group of men and women that work every day on your behalf in the U.S. Senate.

Taxpayers Right To Know
The first legislation I authored in the Senate was the Taxpayers Right To Know Act, a bill that would provide the American people with a better understanding of how their tax dollars are spent. This bill shines a light on the details, costs, and performance metrics of every federal program by creating a central database for financial data and performance metrics for every line item. This is a clear report card for every federal program.

Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Savings Act 
Runaway spending has created a massive growing debt. We must pursue entitlement reform, which makes up the majority of the federal budget, but we must also look for creative ways to save taxpayer money any way possible. That is why I co-sponsored the Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Savings Act, which will help save taxpayer dollars on repair of government vehicles by encouraging the use of less expensive automotive parts. The bipartisan measure requires federal agencies to encourage the use of remanufactured parts when doing so lowers costs, maintains quality and performance and does not compromise safety. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and I introduced this measure after a Government Accountability Office study we requested confirmed that the measure provided an opportunity to reduce federal vehicle repair and maintenance expenses for approximately 588,000 government vehicles.

Confusing Immigration Consequences
The President's Executive actions to guide legal status to individuals in the country illegally have been very disconcerting for me and many Oklahomans. Earlier this month, a federal district court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction against the President's immigration executive action last November – ruling the actions as illegal. Several days later, during an Immigration Town Hall in Florida, President Obama responded to a question about his illegal policy on giving legal status, in light of the U.S. District court ruling, and said, "...if somebody is working for ICE and there is a policy and they don't follow the policy, there are going to be consequences to it." I wrote a letter to the President asking for clarification on what appeared to be a threat to discipline ICE agents if they follow the law, but have received no response.

Immigration enforcement officials and border patrol agents shared my concern. National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said, "Border Patrol agents, when charged with enforcing a new law or policy, want and deserve clear guidance on how to accomplish that goal. The President's threat and unwillingness to answer Senator Lankford's inquiries make it more difficult for agents to accomplish their mission. Border security will only be further degraded by this confusion."

National ICE Council President Chris Crane said, "To publicly threaten law enforcement officers and their families for enforcing laws enacted by Congress is an unthinkable and unprecedented act by a sitting President; all while he essentially pardons and provides benefits to millions who have violated the nation's immigration laws. It's ironic to hear the President speak of consequences for ICE agents, when he and the millions he will pardon are the only ones who have acted outside the law."

Immigration enforcement is not a political issue – it is an important national security issue that requires clear direction. I will continue to press this matter. Federal employees who follow the law should not be threatened with "consequences."
Senate Passes a Balanced Budget
The federal debt is currently $18 trillion and, according to its current trajectory, will reach nearly $27 trillion in the next 10 years if our spending trend continues. This debt trajectory is not only unsustainable, it is irresponsible. The new Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget yesterday that responsibly balances the federal budget in 10 years without raising taxes on hardworking Americans. Although budget resolutions don't carry the force of law, they set tax and spending priorities for the year ahead – like an architect's blueprint.

This budget puts a stop to trillion dollar annual deficits, it provides a clear path to a balanced budget, and it provides more certainty for our economy and the private sector. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, this budget will lead to private sector economic growth of 1.5% over the next ten years, with perhaps as many as 1 million additional jobs.

Washington must live within its means just like families and businesses do across Oklahoma. Republicans promised the American people they would get Washington working again. Passing a budget is one large step in the right direction.

Stay Connected! 

If you would like more information on these topics or any other legislation currently before the U.S. Senate, please do not hesitate to call my D.C. office at (202) 224-5754. My Oklahoma City office can be reached at (405) 231-4941 and my Tulsa office at (918) 581-7651. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram for updates on my work in Congress.

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