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Dear Oklahoma Friends and Neighbors,

Last week, the Senate wrapped up another stretch of session in Washington, DC.

Over the next two weeks, I am happy to be back in Oklahoma to meet with people in Weatherford, Woodward, Bartlesville, Ochelata, Tulsa, Duncan, Collinsville, Skiatook, and Norman. I look forward to connecting with many of you in the days ahead. 

Congress Passes a Budget for FY2019

Last week, the Senate passed a $1.3 trillion, two-thousand-page "omnibus" spending bill following the five Continuing Resolutions that were passed earlier this year to keep the government open. The text of the omnibus bill was released at approximately 8:30 pm on Wednesday night and votes were quickly scheduled for the next day. Members did not have the opportunity to read the text, to offer amendments, or to make changes. The process guaranteed no oversight on the additional $300 billion in spending. Clearly, our nation needs a new process for budgeting. 

If it feels like we talk about this every year, it is because we do. The current process has only worked correctly four times since it was put in place in the 1970s. Some may remember the infamous moment during the 1998 State of the Union speech, President Reagan placed a 43-pound omnibus spending bill on the podium and called on Congress to pass smaller, stand-alone spending bills as the law intended. But since 1986, 23 omnibus spending bills have passed and 18 since 1998. 

Not all the aspects of the spending bill are bad. The bill includes spending for the military, to help secure our elections, for medical research, to fight the opioid epidemic, to improve background checks for gun purchases, and for border security. But there was little to no effort to prioritize spending; the bill spends more money. Congress's spending habits are not sustainable as the national debt now exceeds $21 trillion and continues to climb. 

The process is clearly broken. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, which is a bipartisan, bicameral panel tasked with proposing a set of solutions to significantly overhaul the budget and appropriations process. We cannot get a better product until we get a better budget process.

I look forward to providing real solutions that address the issues with the budget process and fix them for good.

CLICK HERE to read my full statement following the vote on the omnibus spending bill. CLICK HERE to watch my floor speech on budget reform. 

Election Security

In 2016, Russian entities attempted to hack presidential campaigns, launched cyberattacks against the election systems of at least 21 states, and actively worked to seed chaos in our election starting in 2014, at the earliest. Last week, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing on election security and the threats to election infrastructure. The hearing examined the failed attacks on state elections in 2016, discussed DHS and FBI efforts to improve election security, and heard directly from states on their work to secure cybersecurity in their elections. This hearing confirmed the need for America to make the security of elections a priority. 

Last time the Russians attacked our election system, next time it could be another nation-state or a domestic group that attacks our elections. We need to be prepared. States run their elections, but they need federal engagement to help protect their systems from a foreign attack.

Last Thursday, I introduced a revised bi-partisan version of the Secure Elections Act to streamline cybersecurity information sharing between federal intelligence entities and state election agencies, provide security clearances to state election officials, and provide support for state election cybersecurity infrastructure. I have also met personally with DHS leadership to make sure they are ready to defend our election systems. 

CLICK HERE to read about the press conference. CLICK HERE to read about the revised Secure Elections Act. 

Reforms to Dodd-Frank

Two weeks ago, small businesses, homeowners in rural areas, small banks, and credit unions across America breathed a sigh of relief after the Senate passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which is a bill to reduce regulations for small community banks and credit unions. After the largest banks in America brought down the worldwide economy in 2008, President Obama worked to pass the "Dodd-Frank Act" to add heavy regulatory demands on all banks and credit unions. 

Community and regional banks did not cause the financial crisis in 2008, but they received thousands of new rules and mandates that make it costly to loan money to small businesses and home buyers. The bill the Senate passed applied to 98 percent of all banks in America, but only consume 15 percent of the total banking value in the country. These are the small banks and credit unions around the nation that you know and rely on to get credit and short-term loans. 

CLICK HERE to read my full statement after the vote. CLICK HERE to watch my floor speech where I provide specific examples of how this bill helps Oklahomans. 

Presidential Nominations

Senate confirmation of Presidential nominees is moving at a record slow pace. It takes an average of 82 days for a nominee to be confirmed. Since Friday, March 16, 364 of President Trump's nominees have been confirmed compared to the 564 for President Obama. In the past, nominees have moved through a background check, committee hearing, and then confirmation from the full Senate. Now, the nominees are routinely slow-walked through the committee process and then delayed on the Senate floor. The constant delay hurts the American people who need the services that these individuals would provide if they were able to be confirmed. 

CLICK HERE to read my solution to reform the Senate Rules to end the needless delay in confirming nominees to serve American people in the Administration and federal courts. 

Nonpartisan Report Finds Billions of Tax Dollars Fund Abortion Providers

Earlier this month the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a detailed report on the amount of federal tax dollars spent from 2013-2015 by three abortion providers, including the  Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA), Marie Stopes International (MSI), and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). I joined Senators Joni Ernst, Roy Blunt, and Steve Daines and more than 120 Members of the Senate and House to request this report in 2016. 

The GAO report sheds light on the outrageous amount of money taxpayers are forced to pour into clinics that provide abortions in the US. Regardless of our differences of opinion as to when life begins, I hope we can all agree that no taxpayer should be forced to fund some of the world's largest abortion providers. Every human life has dignity from conception to death. I support redirecting these tax dollars to support Federally Qualified Health Centers, which offer a wider variety of health services than PPFA and its affiliates.

CLICK HERE to read more. CLICK HERE to read an opinion piece from The Oklahoman

Letter to President to Reevaluate Tariff Proposal

Trade has dominated the headlines for months. Our nation has conducted trade all over the world for two centuries. In fact, one of the complaints in the Declaration of Independence was the restriction on trade from the King of England. But trade should have fair rules for both sides. This month, I sent a letter to President Trump from several Senators to express our concern with a world-wide aluminum and steel tariff because the effects would negatively impact US national security, raise prices for consumers, and strain relationships with international allies and partners. We should target the countries that are dumping steel and aluminum on our market not put a tariff on everyone. Since that letter, the President excluded many of our allies from the tariffs but there is still a need for more clarity. 

The US benefits from trade, and when there is free and open competition American workers and consumers always win. 

To read the full letter, CLICK HERE

Keeping You in the Loop

  • Earlier this month, President Trump announced that he has agreed to meet with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un. I am encouraged by the conversation that could lead to a path of denuclearization and the release of three Americans currently detained in North Korea, but I am also aware that North Korea has deceived the international community before. To read more, CLICK HERE
  • Last week, the Senate passed legislation that would ensure justice for victims of online sex trafficking and ensure that websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking are held accountable and brought to justice. The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act update decades-old laws that prevent the punishment of websites such as, which allow sales of individuals for sex on their websites. To read more, CLICK HERE
  • A few days ago, my Indian education bill, the Johnson O'Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act, passed the Senate. The bipartisan bill updates decades-old data that the federal government uses to distribute funds to benefit Native American students. The Johnson O'Malley Act is an important program that provides cultural and academic assistance to American Indian students and opens the door to a number of valuable resources. CLICK HERE to read more.
  • Last year, Congress passed and the president signed into law a tax reform bill that makes major improvements to the nation's federal tax code. Now Oklahomans are seeing firsthand the benefits from the tax reform bill. CLICK HERE to read an op-ed I wrote for the Tulsa World regarding the benefits Oklahoma families and businesses are seeing from the recent tax reform bill. 
  • The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on which I serve, recently held an open hearing to examine Security Clearance Reform. The two-part hearing included witnesses from industry and Executive Branch officials and provided an opportunity to Members of Congress to understand the difficulties in the security clearance process for both private contractors and government employees. To learn more about the hearing or to watch my Q&A with the panel, CLICK HERE.
  • Congratulations to Jillene Sroczynski! Jillene was honored this month as Provider of the Year by the American Legion during their annual conference Jillene works for the medical intensive care unit at the VA Medical Center in OKC. CLICK HERE to read more.

Stay Connected! 

If you would like more information on these topics or any other legislation currently before the US 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.

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