Dear Oklahoma Friends and Neighbors, 

Over the past two weeks, the U.S. Senate has focused on passing an education plan to replace the broken No Child Left Behind law (more to follow below). In the final weeks in July, the Senate will consider legislation concerning the national highway system, cyber security, Iran and terrorism. 

In our first six months, our new Republican-led Senate has put the Senate back to work. The Senate has passed the first balanced budget in over a decade, passed more than 40 bipartisan bills, reported over 110 bills from committees, and signed 18 bills into law. I have introduced 11 bills and co-sponsored 65 bills since January. I will continue to work on behalf of Oklahomans on issues that will remove burdensome regulations and federal red tape, and fight against the growth of federal government in our everyday lives.

Planned Parenthood Floor Speech

Yesterday, I delivered a speech on the Senate floor about Planned Parenthood and the recent video regarding their abortion practices. Click the picture to watch the speech, or CLICK HERE. To read the transcript, CLICK HERE.

Every Child Achieves Act

Since 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has determined K-12 education policy. Traditionally, it’s been reauthorized every five years, most recently through the 2001 No Child Left Behind law. Early in the Obama Administration, the President began to advance Common Core education requirements in every state. Then, in the past two years, states have been required to make a choice. They must either submit an annual federal education waiver to Washington DC for approval or use the Common Core requirements in order to continue receiving federal tax money—money that our citizens put in. For the past two weeks, the Senate considered and passed the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA), a long-overdue bill to remove harmful restrictions on student success while empowering our parents, our educators, and state and local governments to best serve students. 

During the debate last week, I co-sponsored the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) amendment with Senator Steve Daines (R-MT). The amendment, which failed to receive the necessary support to pass, would have provided states and local leaders even more flexibility to completely opt out of any federal education program. It has been far too long since Congress addressed the deficiencies of No Child Left Behind and it’s time to do the right thing for parents, teachers and students. The passage of ECAA accomplishes these goals.

To view my statement on the A-PLUS amendment, CLICK HERE. To watch my speech on the Senate floor regarding ECAA, CLICK HERE

Iran Nuclear Agreement

On Tuesday, July 14, President Obama announced the United States and five other nations had reached a nuclear deal with Iran. By law, once all documents associated with the agreement are submitted by the Administration, Congress will have 60 days to review the terms.

While I remain hopeful the US has reached a diplomatic solution, I am deeply skeptical since Iran is the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism. Initial reports suggest the UN will have limited access to challenge inspections and no Americans can be directly involved in the on-site inspections. The agreement struck by Secretary Kerry and the President allows for rapid sanctions relief, delayed inspections in most areas of the country, and a clear path to a nuclear weapon in the future. It also allows Iran to begin purchasing conventional weapons from around the world in five short years.

I look forward to hearing from fellow Oklahomans as we see more of what’s in the proposal. I will spend significant time going through the public and classified details of the agreement in the days ahead. If you would like to read the public details of the Iran Nuclear Agreement CLICK HERE.

To view my full statement on the Iran Nuclear Deal, CLICK HERE

Export-Import Bank

There has been an active debate in Congress on whether or not the federal Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank should continue to exist and how it should operate. The Ex-Im Bank is an export creditor that is run as an independent agency of the federal government (one of 20 programs in the federal government to promote American exports). The issue with the bank is based on the proper role of the federal government in our economy and the efficiency of the programs we have in place.

While our government will always have a role in facilitating trade and access to overseas markets, the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization deadline provides an opportunity to debate whether or not the program is effectively serving the taxpayers who fund it. The Ex-Im bank subsidizes foreign-owned banks, subsidizes foreign companies that are also subsidized by their host government, and provides taxpayer funded guarantees to prosperous regions of the world that do not need the US taxpayer-backed financing. 

Unless there are major reforms in the next few weeks to the Ex-Im Bank operation, I cannot support its reauthorization. Americans should not have to backstop a bank that lends with their tax dollars.

To watch my video statement on the Export-Import Bank, CLICK HERE.

10th Annual Oklahoma Prayer Breakfast

On Thursday, July 16 the Oklahoma Congressional delegation joined together in prayer, marking the 10th annual Oklahoma Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC.

The annual prayer breakfast serves as a great opportunity for Oklahomans working and living in DC to come together to pray for our state, our leaders and our country.

This year we welcomed former Senator Don Nickles as the event’s emcee. 

To see a short video highlighting the event, CLICK HERE

Cutting Federal Red Tape

In an almost two hour hearing, the Director of the Federal Agency, charged with restraining the regulatory burden on Americans, answered questions in front of my subcommittee on federal regulations. We talked at length about clearing out old rules, determining the costs for new regulations, determining how to prevent agency overlap and how to make sure people’s voices are heard. We also talked specifically about the new Waters of the US Rule, energy rules, banking rules and much more. Three different legislative proposals were also discussed to restrict runaway regulations. It is time to stop the rising regulatory burden on every American. 

To watch my opening statement and Q&A with Administrator Howard Shelanski, CLICK HERE

Miami Tribe of Oklahoma Bill becomes Law

In January, I introduced legislation along with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) to remove an outdated charter that limited business and economic development opportunities for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. In June, the bill passed both the House and Senate; last week it was signed into law.

The Tribe was not using their federal charter, yet its existence raised concerns for prospective business partners due to the restrictive conditions outlined in the agreement. Our bill eliminates any future uncertainty for perspective business partners for the Tribe.

Too many Oklahomans struggle with outdated laws and regulations that continue to hold them back. Our work with H.R. 533 is an example of how we can work together to find solutions to eliminate federal barriers for Oklahomans.

To read my full statement, CLICK HERE.  

Keeping You In The Loop

  • On July 2, I discussed the heightened national security concerns prior to July 4th celebrations on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer. To watch the full interview, CLICK HERE
  • On July 8, my office released a Biannual Activity Report regarding the first six-months serving Oklahomans in the US Senate. To view the full activity report, CLICK HERE
  • On July 8, I participated in the second public hearing of the year for the Senate Intelligence Committee. During the hearing, I questioned Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James B. Comey on the appropriate balance between lawful, Fourth Amendment searches and a commitment to protection of personal privacy, as well as the implication for cyber security. To watch the full Q&A from the hearing, CLICK HERE
  • On July 15, I signed on as a co-sponsor to the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2015 with Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming. This bill will protect faith-based charities to continue their work according to their deeply held values. To read the legislation, CLICK HERE
  • The next bill on the Senate floor is the Highway bill, written by Senator Jim Inhofe. To read the full text of the bill, CLICK HERE
  • In addition to major regulatory process changes, our office is hard at work on major reforms in Social Security Disability, budget process, community banking, religious liberty, oil exports, military procurement, Indian Affairs and multiple other legislative areas. Our staff has also crossed the state to meet with Oklahomans to discuss key federal issues and solutions. Please let us know how we can connect with you in the future.
  • Are you planning a trip to DC? Would you like to tour the Capitol or the White House? My office can assist your organization, family or just you in organizing tours. All you need to do is call the DC office, your Oklahoma Embassy in the nation’s Capitol, and they will assist you with any tour plans!


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.

Notice: If you wish to stop ALL electronic communications from my office, visit this link to opt out permanently from this list. If you have any questions about this Notice or your right to decline future electronic mail from this office, please contact us at United States Senate, 316 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510.