Current Issues

This webpage serves as a resource of information for current issues being debated in the United States Senate, as well as information about where Senator James Lankford stands on the issue. This webpage will be updated on a regular basis as the Senate debates important topics.

 

Net Neutrality Regulations Are Unnecessary:

  • Senator Lankford believes in consumer protection and fair business practices of the internet for ALL providers. 
  • Despite the internet’s decades of freedom and innovation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in 2015 (Open Internet Order) to add more regulations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs), like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, to prevent the possibility of them slowing internet traffic or charging fees in the future on internet companies, like Facebook and Netflix. To date, internet traffic has not been slowed and fees have not been charged.
  • The 2015 Open Internet Order regulations created “net neutrality,” which is the idea that Internet Service Providers should be forced to treat all internet traffic the same, despite how much bandwidth is being used. For example, Netflix uses a significant amount of all available bandwidth but wants to be charged the same as someone who doesn’t use much data at all. 
  • The change made by the FCC in December 2017 was not a dramatic reversal of regulations, but it returned rules (that were in place for less than two years) to 20 years of well-tested consumer protections and regulations originally adopted in 1996 under President Clinton. 
  • Like any regulation, Senator Lankford believes that we should be cautious about issuing preemptive rules, and instead examine the market need for such action. The Open Internet Order regulations put in place in 2015, under the former administration, were not backed by any regulatory or market failure or any pending change in the marketplace. In fact, since the commercialization of the Internet, there has not been a significant lapse in consumer protections or market failures for the nearly 4,500 Internet Service Providers to merit a regulatory restructuring. If Providers breached consumer protection laws, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which also regulates the rest of the internet, has investigated and initiated appropriate enforcement proceedings and will continue to do so.
  • The Internet thrived under both Democratic and Republican administrations and will remain open and free. Senator Lankford believes the FTC has the staff and expertise to regulate the Internet in a way that protects consumers and allows for expanded access to more Americans

 Gina Haspel Is Qualified To Be CIA Director:

  • Acting CIA Director Gina Haspel is well-qualified to be CIA Director. She has more than 3 decades of nonpartisan CIA experience during the administrations of President Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. 
  • Haspel has served as a non-partisan career intelligence officer since 1985.
  • Haspel has been endorsed by six former CIA Directors serving under both Republican and Democratic administrations, including Mike Pompeo, Leon Panetta, John Brennan, and Michael Hayden, as well as former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, ODNI Jim Clapper, and former AG Michael Mukasey.
  • Senator Lankford empathizes with Americans who remain curious about the secret details of Haspel’s work at the CIA, but to protect national security, we cannot reveal classified sources and methods. The Intelligence Committee will have a classified portion of the hearing Wednesday where these kinds of questions will be asked. It is appropriate for these conversations to be conducted in a classified setting.
  • Haspel has never conducted an interrogation and her involvement in the approvals for other officials to use enhanced interrogation techniques during the Bush administration came to light during the Obama Administration. The Obama Department of Justice conducted a thorough investigation and found those approvals to have complied with the law. Additionally, several other agencies, including the CIA, FBI, and the independent oversight bodies of Inspectors General for those agencies and DOJ, cleared her work during that time.
  • Haspel’s awards and recognitions include:
    • Presidential Rank Award, the most prestigious award in federal civil service for demonstrating strength, integrity, and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service
    • Intelligence Medal of Merit by the CIA for performance of particularly meritorious service or achievement above normal duties
    • George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism

Tax Reform:

  • Throughout 2017, the President and the Congress made tax reform a priority. 
  • On November 2, 2017, the House Republican leadership introduced a tax reform proposal (Tax Cuts & Jobs Act). The House passed this bill on November 16, 2017.
  • On November 9, 2017 the Senate Republican leadership also introduced a tax reform proposal (Tax Cuts & Jobs Act). The Senate passed an amended version of this bill on December 2, 2017. CLICK HERE to read Senator Lankford's statement in support of the bill. 
  • On December 15, a joint House-Senate Conference Committee merged the two bills. CLICK HERE to read a summary of the Senate-House tax conference bill. 
  • On December 19, the House passed the Senate-House tax conference bill, and the Senate passed it on December 20. CLICK HERE to read Senator Lankford's statement. CLICK HERE to view a special edition e-newsletter and video about the tax bill from Senator Lankford.