Dear Oklahoma friends and neighbors,

On Veterans Day, our nation honored the men and women who have faithfully and fearlessly served our country in the military. Oklahomans are grateful every single day for the sacrifices our veterans, their spouses, and their children have made to protect our nation’s freedoms. Thank you for your commitment and service.

Last week, our nation had another historic election. I am truly honored and humbled to return to Washington, DC, to serve on your behalf. There is much work to be done to address our federal debt, to rein in executive and regulatory overreach, and to protect our national security as threats of terrorism remain around the world.

The world is consistently amazed at the peaceful transition of power in the United States after elections. As is true each election year, it is important that all citizens work to resolve our differences and work together for the good of the nation. We do not have to surrender our ideas, but we should honor our differences and exhibit common respect for our neighbors.   

This week, Congress will begin the transition process and work on funding the federal government before the end of the year. We also have important bills on national defense, health research, and regulatory oversight to accomplish in the days ahead.  

Senate swearing-in and the Presidential Inaugural Ceremony 

The 115th Congress, of which I am a Member, will be sworn in on January 3, 2017. If you plan to visit DC on January 3, let us know and please drop by the office as we prepare to start the new Congress.

On January 20, 2017, the new President will be sworn in at noon on the West Lawn of the US Capitol. My office will receive a small number of tickets for the swearing-in. CLICK HERE to submit a request for inauguration tickets. The deadline to submit your request is Friday, December 16, 2016. The tickets are standing-room only and will be outdoors. Everyone, including infants, small children, and adults, needs to request tickets. The office will only accept requests submitted online. Oklahomans will be selected through a lottery, and winners will be notified by email by Wednesday, December 21.  

If you have additional questions, please contact my DC office at 202-224-5754.

Second annual release of “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball
Waste, inefficiency, fraud, and apathy. At a time when few people focus on the magnitude of our nearly $20 trillion federal debt, our team has not forgotten about the deficit or given up on solving it. On November 28, I will release my second federal government waste report entitled, “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball”. Last year’s report listed $105 billion in wasteful federal spending and about $800 billion in negative regulatory impact on the economy. This year’s book will continue to highlight areas where the federal government can improve or eliminate wasteful spending practices and also include solutions to address these problems. Our federal debt is out of control, but there are practical solutions to rein in spending, eliminate waste, and manage out-of-control regulators.

When we release the massive report in 10 days, I will send you an electronic copy so you can see for yourself the problems we face.

CLICK HERE to read a copy of last year’s report.

Antipoverty Forum at The Heritage Foundation

I was honored to join The Heritage Foundation for the 2016 Antipoverty Forum, along with other Members of Congress and leading experts who are working to overcome one of America’s greatest issues: poverty. Yesterday, I spoke about the Senate Opportunity Coalition, the federal policies that promote upward mobility, the benefit that stable families provide in reducing poverty, and the importance of religious freedom in the antipoverty effort. To learn more about the forum, CLICK HERE

Supreme Court addresses executive overreach case

Last month, the United States Supreme Court announced it will hear the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. I led an amicus brief about this in September. This case began when the Obama Administration tried to use federal authority to force public schools across the nation to provide special accommodation for transgender students.

No school wants any student to be bullied or discriminated against, and every student should be protected and given an opportunity to academically prepare for a bright future. But the Department of Education went too far in its rule-making to function as a national school board and impose a one-size-fits-all regulation on schools that are and should be controlled at the state and local level. There are thousands of different school buildings, school schedules, and unique situations in local education. The Obama Administration cannot mandate the same solution to all schools—especially since the Department of Education did not follow the law, which defines how to create new regulations.

I will continue to challenge the Department of Education’s inappropriate use of power as we watch this process play out in the Court. To read more about the hearing I held in September on this issue, CLICK HERE.

REAL ID update

Last month, I updated you on the status of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it will affect Oklahoma’s tag agencies. Although there hasn’t been much change, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has changed Oklahoma’s ID status from “under review” to “noncompliant." 

As we continue to push back on the DHS requirements, our team has also worked with state and local leaders to find a resolution to this issue. Obviously we want every Oklahoman to be confident that any ID that is used is reliable and resistant to fraud. But we also want to keep our efficient and convenient tag agency system.

In the meantime, if you need to visit a federal building or military installation, please plan to call ahead and ask what ID that facility will accept. As new information arises, I will keep you updated.

CLICK HERE to read more about REAL ID and how it affects Oklahoma.

Oklahomans will see Obamacare premiums rise

Day after day this fall, my office has heard the real-life stories of Oklahomans who face huge cost increases and dramatic negative changes to their healthcare. Obamacare continues to devastate so many middle class families in Oklahoma. Last month the Obama Administration announced that premiums for Obamacare will increase by an average of 25 percent next year. Oklahomans will see much worse as 2017 premiums will rise by 76 percent, and our state is down to only one health insurer offering plans on the federal health insurance exchange.  

This has been a long process. It took three years for the Administration to roll out the first massive healthcare changes, and new changes continue to roll out each year. Earlier this year, Congress put a bill to repeal Obamacare on the President’s desk, but he vetoed it. Both the House and the Senate have well-developed plans to fix the healthcare issues we face by increasing competition, expanding health savings accounts, and allowing each state to manage healthcare for its citizens. This is an issue that will certainly be addressed early next year, but it will take years to correct the damage done and to implement a better healthcare solution. 

Keeping You in the Loop

  • Every year, November is recognized as National Adoption Month. This November, please remember the children in Oklahoma foster care and consider making a difference in a child’s life by giving what he or she desires most: a place to call home. CLICK HERE to learn how you can get involved. 
  • Last month, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and I sent a letter to President Obama concerning the presidential policy directive with the communist Castro regime in Cuba. This directive violates congressionally-enacted sanctions with Cuba and clearly contradicts America’s commitment to human rights. To read more, CLICK HERE
  • Are you or someone you know interested in an internship in my office? My Washington, DC, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa offices are now accepting applications for spring 2017. CLICK HERE to learn more about the opportunities available. 

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 DC 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.