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Dear Oklahoma Friends and Neighbors, 

This week, I had the pleasure of traveling to Antlers, Hugo, Broken Bow, Idabel, Valliant, Atoka, Coalgate, McAlester, Muskogee, Claremore and Bartlesville. It’s always great to visit with Oklahomans face-to-face and hear the issues they face. It is good to be out of DC the week before Easter. As my office continues to work on behalf of Oklahomans, I hope you’ll contact our office to provide feedback or thoughts on the many important issues facing our country. 

I also wish you and your family a very happy Easter celebration.

National Security

Tuesday’s coordinated terrorist attacks in Belgium are a painful tragedy for Europe and a reminder that terrorists, with all their hate, will seek to deter the resolve of any people to stand up for what is right. As a member of the Senate Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees, I want to, once again, thank our national heroes—the intelligence and law enforcement officers who work tirelessly, and the members of our military on the front lines of the counterterrorism fight.

This week was also a reminder that border security, national intelligence and visa restrictions are essential for any nation that wants to defend her people.

#CutRedTape Anniversary

This week marks the anniversary of the bipartisan launch of the #CutRedTape Initiative. #CutRedTape is an online portal to allow American families and businesses easy access to communicate their concerns about federal regulations and how they impact them. Prior to the launch of #CutRedTape Initiative, there was no single location where Americans could provide insight about out-of-date or burdensome federal regulations that negatively impact them.

If you have a federal regulation that negatively impacts your business or family, please CLICK HERE to submit your story.

State Department Recognizes Genocide in Middle East

On the eve of the US State Department deadline to submit a report to Congress regarding whether the persecution of religious groups in the Middle East constitutes genocide, Secretary John Kerry finally announced that ISIL is responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing of Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims.

While the recognition of these horrific crimes is important, we cannot lose focus on the need to protect the fundamental right to religious freedom as a source of stability for all people around the globe. America must lead the World in calling out human rights abuses wherever they exist. Much more needs to be done, but calling genocide ‘genocide’ is a step in the right direction.

Restore Regulatory Accountability

Last Thursday, I introduced a bill called the “Separation of Powers Restoration Act.” The point of the bill is to restore accountability to the President’s regulatory decisions and correct a judicial decision from a flawed 1984 Supreme Court decision. If the bill is adopted into law, it would stop any future president from redefining old laws in creative, new ways to fit their regulatory wishes. Regulations must always connect to a clear reading of the law. When it does not, the courts should step in and stop its implementation and the American people should have the ability to shape any future regulation.

To learn more about the hearings I held on the 1984 decision by the Supreme Court and the effect it had on the regulatory process, CLICK HERE.

To read the full statement on the release of the “Separation of Powers Restoration Act,” CLICK HERE.

To read the opinion piece I wrote last July on the topic, CLICK HERE. 

America’s Growing Opioid Problem

Too many American families painfully know first-hand the historic epidemic of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse that our country faces. Oklahomans, sadly, are no stranger to this issue. Oklahoma suffers from high rates of drug addiction and, because of our central location, our highway system is attractive to global drug cartels. Since 2000, the national rate of deaths from drug overdose has increased 137 percent, and there has been a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed, and I supported, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act which focuses on programs to combat overdoses, support law enforcement and expand access to rehabilitation treatment. 

To read more about my thoughts on the eradication of drug abuse in the US, CLICK HERE.

SCOTUS Nominee

A number of Oklahomans have contacted my office about the Supreme Court vacancy, including a large number of Oklahomans who want to let the people decide who choses Justice Scalia's replacement with the November election.

This is a lifetime appointment to the Highest Court in the land. It is a monumental decision that will impact America for decades. Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President and the Senate an equal 50/50 responsibility in the process of filing a Supreme Court vacancy. The President makes the initial nomination and the Senate decides if this is the best time or the best person for the task.

Last month, I announced that I did not believe that a presidential election year is the right time to nominate a new Justice to the Supreme Court. Obviously people have opinions on both sides of this argument, but I think it is important to know there are a lot of myths out there about the Supreme Court vacancy. Last week, I released several graphics to dispel some of the misinformation that is floating around the Internet. The Court is still hearing cases and making decisions, they have not stopped. The Senate is also still working on many other nominations, legislation and appropriations.

As this process continues, I hope that you will stay in touch. If you have thoughts on the Supreme Court nominee, please contact my office.

To watch my floor speech on why Congress should let the American People decide the future of the Supreme Court, CLICK HERE. To view my press statement on the President’s nominee, CLICK HERE. To view the ‘Fact v. Fiction’ social media campaign, CLICK HERE.

Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary in OKC

Two weeks ago, I along with Senator Inhofe, met with the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Sloan Gibson, in Oklahoma City.

Our goal, during the meeting, was to reaffirm the VA’s commitment to improving the quality of care at Oklahoma’s VA medical facilities, and to ensure that our VA facilities have new directors coming soon. While the Deputy Secretary was in OKC, he announced a new director for the Oklahoma City VA Health Care System, Kristopher Vlosich, and that the VA will announce a new director for the Muskogee center within the coming weeks.

To view my comments from the Deputy Secretary’s visit, CLICK HERE.

Keeping You In The Loop

  • Yesterday, the US Supreme Court began oral arguments on the Little Sisters of the Poor case that also includes four Oklahoma universities as plaintiffs (Zubik v. Burwell). This case represents the serious concern many Americans have with their First Amendment rights and the ability to live out their convictions in everyday life. To read my full statement, CLICK HERE.
  • Last week, the Senate voted to hold the site “BackPage”, known for enabling child sex trafficking, in civil contempt because of their lack of response to the Department of Justice and the US Senate. 
  • During a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing earlier this month, I pressed then-Acting Secretary of Education, John King, on the Department’s continued overreach. I questioned Secretary King on the Department’s use of of ‘guidance documents’ to mandate policy for colleges and universities without adhering to the transparent regulatory process as required by law. To read more about my Q&A, CLICK HERE.
  • Last week, I opposed the nomination of Secretary of Education, Dr. John King. Regrettably, Dr. King has refused to commit to stopping the Department from writing ‘guidance documents’ if he were confirmed. We must stand against federal agencies creating their own rules. CLICK HERE to read more. 
  • This week, I visited with the Exploring Energy radio show to discuss the administration’s decision to not open the southeast Atlantic coast to offshore drilling, Iran sanctions and the price of oil. CLICK HERE to listen to the conversation. 
  • Veteran’s Corner: If you are a Veteran having problems with care or receiving benefits, please contact Mike Yates in my office at 918-581-7651.  


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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