Dear Oklahoma Friends and Neighbors, 

It’s been a busy summer, and the Senate still continues to work to deliver the promises we made at the start of the year. We’ve passed legislation to grow our economy, reform government and increase accountability, support our nation’s heroes, and protect our most vulnerable.

This new Republican-controlled Senate has had more roll call votes on amendments in the last seven months than the last two years combined. We passed a Budget Resolution with the House for the first time since 2009, and the Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, has passed all 12 annual bills for the first time in six years.

As we transition into a state work period, the focus of delivering results will not end. August is the one time of the year Congress isn’t in session. This will give me the ability to spend more time traveling Oklahoma to hear from you and the priorities you have. I look forward to visiting with you in the days ahead.

Iran Nuclear Agreement

In September, the US Congress will vote on one of the most consequential issues of our time: what will be required to stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons? This is not a partisan issue; it is a national security issue.

After multiple hearings in the Senate the past two weeks, reading all the public and classified agreement documents and meeting personally with Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew, I have very serious concerns. The agreement provides only limited access to Iran’s research sites, allows Iran to start purchasing conventional weapons, releases billions of dollars to the Iranian regime, and has very few options for recourse. The agreement does not allow any American to inspect nuclear sites; instead the UN conducts all inspections.

On August 5, I gave a speech on the Senate floor regarding the Iran Nuclear Agreement to give a partial explanation why I have decided to oppose this deal. I encourage every Oklahoman to get informed on this issue by reading the unedited agreement on my website. Please CLICK HERE to review the text. 

To watch the floor speech, CLICK HERE

Redirecting Planned Parenthood Funding

Following the release a few weeks ago of the disturbing Planned Parenthood videos showing executives haggling the price of aborted body parts over lunch, my colleagues and I joined together to redirect the federal funding of the organization. The bill introduced last week would redirect taxpayer funding to other entities that provide women’s health care services, including community health care centers. 

There are 9,000 community health centers around the country and only 650 Planned Parenthood locations. Planned Parenthood can only refer patients for health screenings while community health centers have the ability to actually perform health care for women. This bill would shift taxpayer dollars from the middleman, Planned Parenthood, to the organizations that can actually perform screenings and testing needed to support women and children’s health.

Unfortunately, the bill failed on Monday, August 3 by a vote of 53-46 in the Senate. I’m proud of the fight we waged on behalf of the unborn, and I will continue to work on their behalf to ensure they have the same opportunities as every American. The focus of this fight is the most vulnerable in our nation, the unborn.

To view my speech on the Senator floor prior to Monday’s vote, CLICK HERE. To read an op-ed I co-authored with Iowa’s Sen. Joni Ernst and Kentucky’s Sen. Rand Paul in Time Magazine, CLICK HERE. To read an op-ed I wrote for USA Today, CLICK HERE

Regulatory Improvement Bills

Last week, I announced, along with the Democratic Ranking Member on the Subcommittee for Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, three bills that focus on greater transparency and accountability in the federal rulemaking process.

The Smarter Regulations Through Advance Planning Review Act would require agencies to plan for and conduct regular mandatory retrospective reviews; the Early Participation in Regulations Act of 2015 would allow Americans to participate in the regulatory process earlier; and the Principal Rulemaking Act of 2015 would ensure that agencies propose rules that address real problems. 

Through hearings in my subcommittee and many conversations with fellow Oklahomans, it is clear we need to update the regulatory processes and work to prevent bad regulations. The federal government regulates too much and dictates too many aspects of our day-to-day life.

Our American Energy Strategy

On Tuesday, I gave a speech on the Senate floor about our domestic energy production, the Keystone Pipeline decision delay, and Monday’s Climate Action Plan announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We need to have an honest climate debate in Congress centered around facts, not fear. None of us want dirty air or water, but we do want a growing economy, lower energy prices and local control of our farms, businesses and homes. 

CLICK HERE to view the video

Social Security Trustees Annual Report

On July 22, the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees released their annual report. The report details the financial outlook of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for the next year.

I have been a vocal advocate for reforming SSDI and the impending insolvency of the program if we do not act soon. Some in Congress have suggested that we should address SSDI insolvency by reallocating tax dollars from the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance to the SSDI fund. The report released by the Board of Trustees clearly outlines that merely shifting funds from other programs will not sustain the program, and I agree.

We can protect seniors and disabled Americans by creating true reform within the program. Since my time as the Chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements, I have pushed for major reforms. I will continue to work on this issue on behalf of Oklahomans who rely on these programs. Look for a major proposal on Disability insurance reform from my office this fall.

CLICK HERE to read an opinion piece I wrote entitled, Social Security Disability Insurance Is a Looming Crisis.

EPA Power Plan Rule

As I alluded to earlier, on Monday, August 3, President Obama released the final rule to his climate change proposal, which will be overseen by the EPA. The rule would regulate greenhouse gas emission from power plants. The President’s effort to regulate climate change through the EPA comes after his failed attempts of trying to garner support from Congress to push his international climate treaty.

The proposal calls for a 32 percent reduction in Carbon emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels. From the initial read, the most glaring issue is the rule alone will not achieve the mandated CO2 reductions, but it will have major economic repercussions on Americans who will face higher energy costs and food costs. Early reports indicate that Carbon concentrations would be reduced by less than one percent with negligible environmental affect. For example, China emits around 800 million tons of Carbon emissions each month; the costly new emissions rule from the EPA would reduce Carbon US emissions by 450 million metric tons per year.

Innovation has brought many new sources of energy to our nation, but none of them can provide base energy for the foreseeable future. We should work to have clean, reliable, inexpensive energy for America so we can continue to produce jobs, grow the economy and raise healthy families. Oklahoma is truly an “all of the above” energy state. We should not have to fight our own federal government to continue to produce power for our state and nation. 

Inside Defense

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) proposes a variety of changes to compensation, benefits and retirements. Through the conference process, members of the Senate and House are actively negotiating for our Vets. The final negotiations between the two versions will pick up again in September. We will continue to work to maintain the promise and keep our national defense strong. Stay tuned. 

Vet’s Corner

Filing a disability claim can be frustrating. You can file your claim online, by mail or a VA employee can assist you in person at a VA regional office. To find a location near you, call one of the three Vet Centers in Oklahoma: Lawton Vet Center at 580-585-5880, Oklahoma City Vet Center at 405-456-5184 or Tulsa Vet Center at 918-628-2760. CLICK HERE for more information about filing a disability claim.

Keeping You In The Loop

  • The week of August 31, I will hold Community Conversations, public forums for face-to-face Q&A, across the Panhandle; northern Oklahoma; and Tulsa. I will announce the details on social media and my website soon! Follow me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter or visit
  • One-year anniversary: On August 8th of last year, the President signed into law the bill authorizing a special envoy for religious freedom in the Middle East, yet the position remains vacant. The Senate State, Foreign-Operations Subcommittee voted to appropriate $1 million for the Special Envoy for Religious Freedom and the bill notes that the Committee expects the position to be filled quickly. The Middle East is one of the worst places on earth for religious freedom, for the sake of the many diverse people across the region; it is time we stand up for their right to practice their private faith. 
  • Waters of the US: This week Senator Inhofe and I sent a letter to the EPA to challenge their very questionable practice of soliciting “comments” from environmental groups to offset legitimate concerns with their expansive regulations. To read our letter, CLICK HERE.
  • On August 3, I was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss the Senate vote to redirect taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood to community health centers. To check out the video, CLICK HERE
  • On July 24, the Appropriations Committee passed all 12 annual Appropriations Bills out of committee for the first time in six years! To read more, CLICK HERE
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) earlier this summer issued new guidance on Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. This new rule imposes significant obligations to many independent refiners and small manufacturers in Oklahoma. I plan to address OSHA’s proposal at a September 17 Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Examining the Use of Agency Regulatory Guidance.”
  • On July 24, I signed a letter with Sen. Lamar Alexander asking the Department of Labor (DOL) to extend the comment period for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. On July 6, DOL issued a notice inviting interested parties to submit written comments on a proposed rule that would double the salary threshold exemption for overtime pay. Comments are due September 4, 2015. The extension will allow a reasonable opportunity to review the proposal and allow us to thoughtfully respond. CLICK HERE to read the letter.
  • On July 22, I appeared on Fox Business Network’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight” to discuss redirecting funds from Planned Parenthood and the Iran Nuclear Deal. To watch the interview, CLICK HERE
  • On July 22, the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank regulations, I spoke on the Senate floor to discuss the constant overreach of the federal government into private businesses. To watch the speech, CLICK HERE
  • Oklahoma Forestry Services grants are available to rural fire departments for the purchase of equipment or fire station construction. If you are a fire station in a town with a population of less than 10,000, you can apply through the Oklahoma Forestry Services website by September 1, 2015, or call 405-522-6158.
  • Are you interested in a fall internship? My office is currently seeking fall interns for the DC, OKC and Tulsa offices. If you are interested in applying, CLICK HERE for more information.  
  • Did you know my office has a local contact in each region of the state? If you ever need to contact me, please reach out to any of the following Field Representatives: 




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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