Photo Gallery

ImageOur Oklahoma National Guard is an essential part of our state and national security. Grateful to get some time with a few of our Air Guard leadership to hear their perspective and plan for their future mission.















Spoke to a group of OU law students to answer their questions and encourage them as they study and prepare to lead our state.















Met with some of our Oklahoma ag leadership about the slow progress of the farm bill and the essential work they do every day to feed the world.
















Grateful for time with my friend from Ukraine, Pavel, who came to Washington, DC, to thank all Americans and to share the details of the bloody assault he and his family face everyday from Russian invaders using weapons from Iran and North Korea. The Ukrainian army was trained by the Oklahoma National Guard in 2017. Their air defense soldiers were trained at Ft. Sill in Lawton, and their civilian surgeons are currently being trained in Oklahoma City. Our state is a significant part of saving lives halfway across the world in Ukraine.
















Members of Hunger Free Oklahoma came to Washington, DC, to share about their work to make sure our vulnerable Oklahoma neighbors have enough to eat.
















I host Java with James at 9am every Wednesday the Senate is in session to meet directly with Oklahomans in my Washington, DC, office. Sometimes people bring dogs, too, which is always a plus.















Connected with the great folks of the Broken Arrow Chamber while they were visiting Washington, DC, who for fun brought me a hooded Tulsa Tech sweatshirt to wear on the Senate floor. I am very proud of the work Tulsa Tech does for our state, but I am going to stick with a suit and tie on the floor of the Senate (But I will be glad to wear the hoodie on weekends this fall.) 

Dear Oklahoma friends and neighbors:

Yes, it has been a noisy week in Washington, DC, I have some thoughts on the week in Congress and the long-term challenges we face below. 

Keep praying for the nation. 

Before I get to life in Washington, DC, I want to celebrate for a moment that fall temperatures have finally arrived in Oklahoma. The football and soccer fields are full around our state and basketball is around the corner. There are fun high school football games all over our state tonight.

Families are about to get a “gap” during fall break. I hope you’re able to spend time with family and friends at some of our great museums and historical sites in Oklahoma. The Talihina Drive in southeast Oklahoma is a great fall road trip. My family has enjoyed hiking at Mt. Scott, time at Heavener and Roman Nose State Parks, and driving the sand dunes in Little Sahara State Park in Waynoka. 

Strong families are our nation’s greatest asset.

Grown-up Conversations on Funding the Federal Government

September 30th comes around every year at exactly this time. Yet this year, like many years in the past, we had another fiscal cliff threat because the work to fund the government doesn’t become a priority until the deadline is looming. 

This year, three key issues dominated the latest government funding fight, all of them are significant: our national security/border security, our economy, including the $33 trillion in federal debt, and America’s role in the world. Those are significant areas where Americans disagree, and we should have a real policy debate to determine the direction of the nation. But if we have those fights during a government shutdown, the argument is about the shutdown and not about the economy, security, and foreign policy. Let’s have the argument about cutting spending, securing our border, and confronting authoritarian regimes around the world in the days leading up to a shutdown, not during a shutdown. 

Shutting the government down makes a hard situation harder when our military is not paid, federal agencies get even less efficient, and federal law enforcement are not paid as they work massive overtime on our broken border. Federal workers and their families should not be used as leverage in a shutdown. The pressure should be on the leaders in Washington, DC.

For the last five years, I’ve worked with Senator Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire on a common-sense solution to take shutdowns off the table for good. Our Prevent Government Shutdowns Act is a simple idea: if you don’t finish your work on time, you have to stay until it’s done. Every Member of Congress has to remain in Washington, DC, seven days a week, until the 12 appropriations bills have passed the House and Senate. That puts real pressure on Congress to do its work. 

CLICK HERE to read more about my vote to keep the government open while we continue to work on full spending bills.

CLICK HERE to read more about my bipartisan, bicameral bill to get Congress to focus on the actual work of funding the government.

The House of Representatives

The leadership fight in the House is a result of years of neglect, or as I call it, deferred maintenance. For years Congress and the president have been unwilling to balance the budget, secure the border, increase energy permitting, define our foreign policy, and much more because whichever bill contained the fix was not “perfect.” Now the problems have grown so large and increased so much that it’s easier to fight over who’s going to lead rather than fight over how to solve the problem. The problems that have grown out of control over decades cannot be solved in months, but we have to get started. We also cannot wait until we can solve every problem before we solve some problems.

We have an equally divided Senate and House, with Democrats barely in the lead in the Senate and Republicans barely in the lead in the House. In that kind of moment, both sides have to have honest, grown-up conversations about how to fix an issue so we can get busy working on the next issue. 

The problems are getting larger by the minute. Let me give you two quick examples:

Debt – From the early 1800s to 1983, our nation’s debt grew to $1 trillion. From 1983 to 2023 the federal debt has grown to $33 trillion—the problem is accelerating. We have the highest inflation in 40 years. In the past three years, the cost of everything is up more than 17 percent, with energy inflation much higher. 

Border – Last year was the highest number of illegal crossings on our southern border in history. The previous high was the year before. There have been more illegal crossings in the last three years than the previous 12 years combined. The problem is getting exponentially worse. 

We should not surrender our values and principles when we solve the problem, but we have to do more than just fight about the problems. We have to solve this. Let’s have the argument, then come to a decision. 

UPDATE: Southern Border Chaos

One of the biggest issues surrounding the government funding battle has rightly been our open southern border and the effect a shutdown would have on the men and women in law enforcement who are defending our nation’s border.

CLICK HERE to watch my remarks on the Senate floor about how a government shutdown would negatively impact Border Patrol.

In September, DHS shut down the international rail crossing at the Eagle Pass, Texas, because of the flood of migrants. CBP officers were re-tasked to transportation duties for processing the migrants. But when the international crossing closed, it caused an enormous backup of train traffic in the US that stretched half way across the country. I was on the phone with DHS leadership within hours to get the crossing back open and clear the backlog of trains. Our open border causes new problems for our economy and national security everyday. 

Border Patrol counted nearly 260,000 migrants illegally crossing our southern border just last month. Last week, there were almost 11,000 illegal crossings in one 24-hour period. We had tens of thousands of migrants from Mauritania, Pakistan, Russia, China and the Middle East in just the past few months, the vast majority of whom were released into our country, even though we have no criminal history on any of them. 

After the DHS Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office flagged wasted funds, fraud, and abuse with the operation of soft-sided facilities along our southern border, I demanded more details about how these massive tents are used and why we continue to spend billions of dollars on temporary facilities for migrants. 

CLICK HERE to read my letter to get answers about wasted money along with the southern border.

I am not just complaining about the open southern border; I am working to close it by fixing our very broken asylum process by writing a solution and working to find 60 votes in the Senate to get it passed. The Mexican cartels teach most of the migrants coming to our border the magic words to say to claim asylum, or “credible fear” in their home country. The asylum process is meant for people fleeing violence and/or retribution in their home country because of their faith, belief, or their ethnicity to get to the next safe place, not to travel half way around the globe and then demand asylum in America. Even DHS Secretary Mayorkas admitted to me that asylum is being abused.

America is the greatest country in the world. I don’t blame people for wanting to come enjoy our amazing freedom. But when they come to the US illegally, we don't know if they are fleeing poverty or fleeing justice. Every country has the right to protect its borders. Our Border Patrol should not be reduced to hotel check-in staff when they signed up to catch criminals and stop dangerous drugs coming into the US.


After 2018, when Oklahoma passed the medical marijuana state question, Oklahoma had more land sold to foreign owners than any other state in the nation, thousands of acres. Chinese criminal organizations quickly exploited our state’s liberal marijuana licensing law by buying up American farmland and properties. The international crime and loss of land was undoubtedly part of the reason Oklahomans overwhelming rejected “legalizing” recreational marijuana earlier this year.

Oklahoma has more than 7,000 licensed marijuana grows. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics believes that at least 2,000 of those farms have Chinese connections. The illegal marijuana market in Oklahoma has brought human trafficking, forced labor, execution-style murders, and money laundering.

I introduced my bipartisan Security and Oversight of International Landholdings—or the SOIL Act — to make sure that foreign purchases of agriculture land in our nation must go through a similar federal review process as other types of foreign purchases in the US—particularly focusing on adversarial nations trying to buy land. China isn’t buying up farmland in the US because they love America. We should at least review who wants to buy it and what they plan to use it for.

I called on my Senate colleagues to get on board with my bill by testifying recently in the Senate Agriculture and Senate Intelligence Committees about the challenges in Oklahoma and the risks we face nation-wide. I want my colleagues to join me in supporting the SOIL Act to close a gap in our national security.

CLICK HERE to read more about my SOIL Act.

I also recently rallied support for my Deterring Escalation Through Economic Retaliation—or the DETER— Act, which would deter conflict in the Taiwan Strait by setting in law that if China invades Taiwan, their “Most Favored Nation” trade status would immediately be revoked. Revoking China’s trade status with the US would dramatically cut China’s exports and would deeply hurt their economy. My bill is simple, but it sends an important message to China that we don't seek an altercation with Beijing, but we're not afraid to use our trade and diplomatic tools to prevent a war with Taiwan. 

CLICK HERE to read more about my DETER Act.

I also introduced the Belt & Road Oversight Act to strengthen America’s ability to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s economic coercion and predatory lending tactics in nations around the world. China has been able to secure mineral rights and many other important agreements that overwhelmingly benefit China over the US or other nations.

CLICK HERE to read more about the bill.

We must stay vigilant of the Communist Chinese Party and be certain that we are not dependent on Beijing for critical minerals or pharmaceuticals.

Keeping You in the Loop

  • Doing the People’s Work – As Congress works to finalize funding for Fiscal Year 2024, we have several other important tasks to complete this fall. We are continuing to work to fully reauthorize the FAA, work through the farm bill, finalize the National Defense Authorization Act, and sort out several tax provisions that our businesses in Oklahoma count on.
  • Medicare Open Enrollment Starts October 15 – If you’re a senior adult or a family member caring for a senior adult, open enrollment for Medicare begins October 15. Several of the plans have significant changes this year. If you have question or need additional information about which Medicare plan is right for you, please call the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 800-763-2828 or CLICK HERE to visit the OID website and learn more about Senior Health Insurance Assistance Programs.
  • Protecting disabled Oklahomans’ ability to save for emergencies – For decades, the Supplemental Security Income benefits for disabled Americans could be cut off if a person saves money for emergencies or their future. SSI’s outdated caps on savings and assets from the 1980s need a serious update to meet the economic realities of the 21st Century. Inflation is high and emergency savings are dwindling. We need to fix this. CLICK HERE to read more.
  • Standing Against Biden’s Unreasonable Endangered Species Act Listings – I voted to override two vetoes by President Biden on resolutions to nullify the listings of the northern long-eared bat and the lesser prairie-chicken. The Biden Administration continues to weaponize the Endangered Species Act to control more land, agriculture, and economic development in rural Oklahoma. I will continue to stand against it. We can protect our wildlife and still protect our land rights. CLICK HERE to learn more.
  • Ensuring Tax Regulations Don’t Fly Under the Radar – President Biden’s IRS announced that they are no longer accountable to the same oversight as other agencies when they create new rules. I threw a flag on that play. I introduced the IRS Accountability and Transparency Act to require that tax regulations be subject to review. Every agency needs oversight, especially the agency that has the power to tax Americans and has recently had a leak of thousands of tax files to media outlets. No agency should have the ability to make up new rules or guidance without following the Administrative Procedure Act and the law. CLICK HERE to learn more about how I’m standing up to Biden’s IRS.
  • Sounding the Alarm on Major Delays in new Veterans Affairs program – I called out the extended delays veterans are experiencing in processing times and reimbursements from travel expenses as a result of the transition to the Beneficiary Travel Self Service System. If you don’t use this system, you might not know what it is, but our veterans use it regularly. A recent transition from one system to this new system has resulted in much slower processing times due to system issues that require increased manual attention. Unfortunately, the transition has burdened our nation’s veterans and the Veteran Health Administration workers who are diligently serving those who served us. CLICK HERE to read more about how this is affecting our heroes.
  • Questioning FBI targeting Catholics – The FBI’s Richmond Field Office pushed a memorandum targeting members of the Catholic Church. The memo titled, “Interest of Radically or Ethically Motivated Violent Extremists in Radical Traditionalist Catholic Ideology Almost Certainly Presents New Mitigation Opportunities.” Months ago, I questioned FBI Director Wray and led a letter with several of my colleagues to challenge the agency about their targeting of Americans based on their religious beliefs. I recently followed up to demand answers to my questions. I’m not letting this go. No one in our nation should be targeted for their faith—the Constitution protects our ability to live our faith or have no faith. CLICK HERE to read more.
  • Challenging Biden on Removing Marijuana’s Schedule I drug status – President Biden is trying to unilaterally increase marijuana access and use in the United States by removing it from the list of Schedule I drugs. That list is maintained by the DEA and is based on scientific research, not political pressure. I directly contacted the DEA to urge them not to down list marijuana without the appropriate scientific evidence. CLICK HERE to read more about my challenge against the Biden Administration’s attempt to de-schedule marijuana.
  • Enjoy some football this weekend! We could all use a break and some rest.

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

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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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