Photo Gallery

ImageIt was great to catch up with folks at Langston University to see how this great school is helping its students succeed and some of the future projects coming their way.














I always enjoy meeting students participating in the Close Up program when they come to see their government “close up” in Washington, DC.












Brian Kilmeade brought his acclaimed national Fox News Radio show to Tulsa’s KRMG earlier this month.













ImageI was honored to attend several Veterans Day events. We will continue to thank our heroes and their families and remember those who gave their last full measure of devotion in defense of our













ImageAttending the Leehan Memorial Bridge dedication in Moore on Veterans Day was one of the highlights of this season for Cindy and me. The bridge was dedicated in the memory of Lt. Damon Leehan, who gave his life fighting for our freedom while serving in Afghanistan in 2011.













ImageI sat down with a great group of concerned citizens known as the Mustang Positive Posse this
month to talk through some of the issues facing our nation.













ImagePeppers Ranch of Guthrie recently received the Angels in Adoption award in Washington, DC. Congratulations to this haven for families who love and care for foster children in a beautiful environment.











ImageI stopped by the Mustang Police Department to thank them for their work to protect all of us and to hear some of the issues facing law enforcement in our communities.













ImageI continue to connect with Oklahoma classrooms, even when the Senate is in session, to answer questions and hear from students across our state. These students from Minco High School asked great questions and were very engaged.













ImageThe Oklahoma Farm Bureau asked me to preach for their Sunday morning vespers to conclude their state meeting on November 10. It was a beautiful breakfast and a pleasure to see so many
friends from around the state.

Dear Oklahoma friends and neighbors:

Happy Thanksgiving! Next week, most Oklahomans will get to enjoy at least a day of food and family traditions. As you sit down with your family and/or friends to enjoy this time of gratitude for the freedoms we have as Americans and for God’s many blessings, remember those serving our nation away from their families in law enforcement and the military. Please also consider giving to or volunteering to help others in need during this season.

Lately, several people have told me that they dread the inevitable Thanksgiving political argument around the table and in the kitchen. Just about every family has some political differences, but we should not allow our political differences to separate our families and friendships. 

Let’s try something for Thanksgiving: turn off the news and turn on the gratitude. 

There are so many good things to talk about in our state and nation. Find a family project to do, serve a neighbor in need, get outside, watch the parade, share old stories—anything but bringing up more politics. Make the commitment to change the subject to something or someone you are grateful for every time someone brings up politics. Even though we have so many tough issues right now as a nation, maybe it would be helpful for all of us to take a break from the political noise and remember how much we have to be thankful for. A little more caring and a little less complaining sounds like a good recipe for Thanksgiving.

Government Funding through December

One of those ongoing, tough national conversations right now is the funding for our government. This week, Congress voted to once again delay the deadline until December 20 to fully fund the government through the passage of yet another continuing resolution (CR), a bill that extends funding at current levels. I supported the measure because, with the House’s preoccupation with the impeachment inquiry, Congress needs more time to consider and pass appropriations bills and consider government shutdown prevention legislation.

However, every CR has consequences. When our government has temporary funding, federal workers worry about a government shutdown, contracts cannot be completed, agency leaders spend all their time on short-term budgets, and costs go up for everyone. The government is open, but it is not working well. That is why I have worked for months to end government shutdowns and make sure short-term funding is really short term.

My bipartisan Prevent Government Shutdowns Act has already passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), and we are currently working to bring the bill to the finish line during the current federal spending conversation. Oklahoma is home to 45,868 federal employees. It’s time Congress, not the American people, were held responsible for our lack of action. We can continue to solve our debt and deficit issues and take government shutdowns off the table by forcing Members of Congress to stay in Washington until the work is done on federal spending.

CLICK HERE to watch my floor speech this week on our bill and on the current funding conversation in Washington.

UPDATE: Impeachment

Article 1, Section 2 of the US Constitution states, “The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment.” Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution states, “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”

Just like the rest of the country, I am tracking the House impeachment hearings and testimony. But the Senate is not involved in the process unless the House chooses to impeach the President. If the House chooses to impeach the President, it will force a trial in the Senate. Until that time, I have plenty of work that needs to get finished. I sat down with one of the former Senate parliamentarians to talk about the Senate rules for impeachment on my latest podcast, the Breakdown with James Lankford. This is a deep dive into the quirky Senate impeachment rules and what you could expect if the House chooses to impeach President Trump.

CLICK HERE to listen to my fascinating conversation with former Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin about the impeachment and trial processes.

UPDATE: Border Security

Last week, I questioned officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Justice Department at a HSGAC hearing to obtain updates on immigration, learn more about the issues with state E-Verify participation, assess government immigration attorney shortages, and hear about ongoing border security issues including detention facility bed shortages.

Last July, I visited border security and immigration facilities along our southern border to see first-hand the overcrowding issues and apprehension processes for illegal crossings along our southern border. In addition to having an opportunity to thank our border law enforcement agencies and personnel directly, my Q&A focused on how we must be ready for a potential surge at our borders this coming spring and summer.

CLICK HERE to watch my Q&A.

Turkish President Erdogan’s Visit to the White House

Last week, I spoke on the Senate floor regarding the visit of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to the White House. Numerous times over the last couple of years, I have publicly expressed my disappointment in the Turkish regime’s increasing relationship with Russia, particularly its acquisition of the S-400 missile system from Russia, which is designed to take down the American F-35 aircraft. In October, I was outspoken in my support of President Trump’s announcement to issue sanctions on Turkey amid the aggression in the region, and I was pleased our government prevented Turkey from acquiring America’s modern F-35 jet.

CLICK HERE to watch my speech on our relationship with Turkey.

UPDATE: Election Security

Earlier this month, I questioned Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray, Under Secretary for DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis David J. Glawe, and Acting Director of National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) Russell Travers, during a HSGAC hearing on “Threats to the Homeland.” This annual hearing addresses some of the most pressing issues facing the nation’s national security and how FBI, NCTC, and DHS work together to thwart potential threats. I focused my Q&A on DHS’ responsibility to address election security.

CLICK HERE to watch my Q&A on election security.

As I have said many times before, we need federal legislation to ensure each state can confidently and securely run their elections. Our states have already put in place most of the recommendations from my Secure Elections Act, so we are definitely in a better position for election security now than we were in 2016. But there is still more work to be done.

In addition to overall election security efforts, I recently worked with Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Gary Peters of Michigan, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin to introduce a bipartisan bill to strengthen local government cyber security defenses by switching to the .gov domain for websites and email addresses. The DOTGOV Online Trust in Government Act of 2019 directs DHS to provide resources and assistance to local governments wanting to adopt .gov web addresses.

The internet has become a main source of information, but you certainly can’t always trust what you read or see. Our bill expands the federal government’s ability to offer a city, state, county, or Tribal government the .gov domain, which will provide more communities access to safe, secure, online resources. Federal and state government agencies commonly use the .gov domain, but it is not widely used on a local level. This trusted domain increases resilience to cyber crimes that frequently target local government systems.

CLICK HERE to learn more about my bipartisan election cyber security bill.

Federal Fumbles is Coming!

In just over a week, our team will release our annual Federal Fumbles, our guide and solutions to federal inefficiency and government waste. We want to do more than complain about the waste; we want to put a spotlight on it and then fix it.

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Keeping You in the Loop

  • On November 6, I met with Assistant Secretary for Army-Civil Works R.D. James to discuss civic projects and work at the US Army Corps of Engineers, with particular attention to the recent flooding in Green Country. In our meeting I had the opportunity to talk through flood control options and stress the importance of finding a solution to the chronic flooding issues in northeast Oklahoma. We also discussed land-lease issues in eastern Oklahoma and ways to improve all of the Corps processes for local communities and individuals.
  • On November 4, Oklahoma City commemorated 168 days until the 25th anniversary of the tragic loss of 168 lives in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. As we move closer to the 25th anniversary, we should remember well what hatred can do to a community and continue to remember those we lost, those who survived, and those whose lives were changed forever. Let’s embody the Oklahoma Standard in our everyday lives. Please visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial website to get involved and to learn about our beautiful memorial and museum in OKC. If it has been a few years or if you have never been to the Memorial Museum, I would encourage you and your family to spend a day there to learn about that horrible day so that we #neverforget.
  • On November 4, I led Members of Congress in an amicus brief to urge the US Supreme Court not to enforce a rule issued by Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Obama Administration that forces organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their religious beliefs. The Supreme Court has sided with the Little Sisters of the Poor twice. It’s time for the government to stop bullying the people who are actually doing good work for our nation and allow the Sisters to return to their vocation. CLICK HERE to read more about the case and my amicus brief.
  • During the week of Veterans Day, I joined a bipartisan group of senators to introduce the Protect Veterans’ Education and Training Spending (Protect VETS) Act of 2019, which would protect military and veteran students by closing the 90/10 loophole and require for-profit schools to secure at least 10 percent of their revenues from sources other than taxpayers. More than two decades ago, President George H.W. Bush signed a bipartisan bill into law that limited how much federal funding for-profit schools may receive from taxpayers. Now called the 90/10 rule, this limit requires for-profit schools to obtain at least 10 percent of their revenues from non-federal sources. However, a loophole in the law excludes veteran and active duty education funds like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Tuition Assistance (TA) from being considered as federal funds. Some for-profit schools have exploited this loophole by using aggressive recruitment practices and deceptive marketing to enroll service members, veterans, and other GI Bill beneficiaries. The Protect VETS Act would close the 90/10 loophole by counting VA and DOD funds as federal dollars. This helps protect Vets from some for-profit schools that are taking advantage of them and it protects the taxpayer by forcing for-profit schools to find other sources of funds besides hard working tax payers. CLICK HERE for more information on this commonsense measure to fix the loophole.
  • Last month, Senator Jacky Rosen from Nevada and I launched the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism. The mission of the Task Force will be to collaborate with law enforcement, federal agencies, state and local government, educators, advocates, clergy, and other stakeholders to combat anti-Semitism by educating and empowering our communities. Watch for more information on our work to combat Anti- Semitism together. CLICK HERE to read our op-ed about the Anti-Semitism Task Force.
  • On November 13, Attorney General William Barr announced a new plan to combat gun violence in our nation known as Project Guardian. The plan enforces existing laws by setting federal law enforcement protocols for information sharing with state law enforcement to ensure individuals who legally are prohibited from owning, possessing, or purchasing a firearm are barred from doing so. I have cosponsored a bill called the NICS Denial Notification Act, which would require federal law enforcement to notify state law enforcement when an individual fails a NICS background check. Project Guardian would enforce similar guidelines as well as greater enforcement of gun revocations from convicted domestic violence offenders and better information sharing among state and federal law enforcement regarding mental health-related denials of firearms. I have also cosponsored the RESPONSE Act, which provides increased resources for law enforcement and mental health training, as well as school safety to address active shooter training. I remain a staunch Second Amendment advocate and believe enforcement of existing law, like Project Guardian, or clarifying legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and improve training for law enforcement are helpful as we confront gun violence in our nation. CLICK HERE to read the AG’s full memorandum on Project Guardian.
  • Between the State of Oklahoma and our partners in federal agencies, we continue to work toward an overall reduction of opioid-related deaths by treating drug addiction and dependence and focus on the mental health aspects of both. After the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy visited eastern and central Oklahoma earlier this year, the Director shared data that shows Oklahoma has already seen a 1.4 percent overall decrease in overdose deaths - down but not by very much. All of us should help people we know who struggle with addiction of any type. I have met multiple times with the National Institutes of Health to encourage them to keep up their work to discover non-addictive pain treatment alternatives. CLICK HERE to watch the video.
  • The Senate continues to work through Judicial and Executive Branch nominations, including several for courts and legal positions affecting Oklahoma. This week, the nomination of Judge Bernard M. Jones to serve as judge on the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and now heads to the Senate floor. The Judiciary Committee also approved the nomination of Mrs. Jodi Dishman, a nominee to serve as a district court judge for the Western District of Oklahoma. Senator Inhofe and I were also both pleased to see President Trump’s nomination of John Heil to serve as judge on the US District Court for the Eastern, Northern, and Western Districts of Oklahoma. We will continue to work through these and other nominations through the advice and consent process in the Senate. CLICK HERE to read more about Bernard Jones. CLICK HERE to read more about Jodi Dishman
  • I was recently joined by a bipartisan group of senators, including Senator Inhofe, to introduce the Harmless Error Lesser Penalty (HELP) for Small Businesses Act (S. 2757). This simple good government bill would waive fines for first-time paperwork violations by small businesses, excluding fines for violations that endanger the public health or safety, criminal activity, IRS enforcement, and issues that could cause harm to the public interest. Small businesses have difficulty wading through the vast quagmire of federal paperwork, so let’s give a little grace, instead of giving a fine for one small harmless paperwork error. CLICK HERE to learn more about the bill.
  • Households will soon be able to respond to the 2020 Census online, over the phone, or through a paper questionnaire. Additionally, if you are interested in being a census-taker, the Census Bureau is working hard to recruit and hire local census takers from local communities. You can find more information on how to participate in the 2020 Census HERE. It is important for every Oklahoman to complete their Census form.
  • I recently stopped by several Oklahoma City-based TV stations to talk through the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the impeachment inquiry in the House, our work on the Finance Committee to combat rising prescription drug prices, and other issues. CLICK HERE to visit my YouTube page and watch these and other recent interviews.

In God We Trust,
James Lankford
United States Senator for Oklahoma

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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