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Lankford Prioritizes Public Safety, Needs of Rural Communities in Spending Bills

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) announced important policy updates in federal communications policies, provisions for the safe disposal of chemicals, and several provisions supporting law enforcement and drug interdiction in the Fiscal Year 2021 funding bills released by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Lankford serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee on the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Subcommittee.

“Our rural Oklahoma communities are counting on coordination from the federal government to keep moving toward expansion of rural broadband internet, and this bill continues that momentum,” said Lankford. “This bill also supports our federal law enforcement, who continue to work to keep us safe, prevent illegal drugs from coming into our country, and ensure the necessary, safe oversight of dangerous chemicals. We can and should continue to support them in those efforts through sound federal policies and adequate funding. I look forward to these important provisions for Oklahoma communities making their way to final passage soon.”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bill maintains funding for the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Program, which provides oversight and security plans of chemicals at certain facilities. Lankford championed the CFATS authorization earlier this year.

In addition to pressing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure incarcerated individuals in federal prisons cannot harm innocent people outside of prison by using contraband cellphones, which Lankford announced last week, in the FSGG bill. Lankford also secured the following advancements:

  • $15 million to the FCC for Broadband Mapping to accurately assess the needs for broadband deployment and service areas, which was authorized in the Broadband Data Act cosponsored by Lankford
  • Requires the FCC to report on the lack of enforcement on potential violations of the Mobility Fund Phase II mapping rules by carriers because overstating coverage by carriers caused the FCC to pull the program after rural telecom companies spent millions on data collection

For the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, Lankford helped secure policy provision that require:

  • Reports on the marketing to children of certain THC products, like vapes, by using colorful packaging and candy flavors
  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) to prioritize hiring additional Assistant US Attorneys to assist in efforts to stop the flow of illicit drugs and violent crimes associated with the drug trade
  • The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prioritize the interdiction of methamphetamines and to evaluate whether Operation Crystal Shield should be expanded to other locations in the US
  • A comprehensive study on human trafficking 

In September, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution to fund the government at current levels through December 11, 2020. Last week, Lankford announced the major advancements made in the Appropriations bill for the defense and veterans communities in Oklahoma as well as in our nation’s foreign policy earlier. This week, Lankford highlighted that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) bill maintains important pro-life policies, makes important advancements in Alzheimer’s research and rural health service, while the Department of Education Appropriations bill provided clarity for Oklahoma’s rural school systems and for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that were made in Appropriations bills released. Additionally, Lankford called attention to updates and funding for agriculture, transportation, and energy and water in their respective bills.