Senator Lankford Disappointed in Continuing Resolution

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today expressed frustration that Congress had to resort to another continuing resolution (CR) to partially fund the government through February 8, 2019. The CR passed by voice vote and now heads to the House for consideration.

This vote marks the 179th CR to fund the government since 1977. In fact, Congress has not followed the correct annual process to fund the federal government since fiscal year 1995.

“I am disappointed that a year’s worth of work on appropriation bills stops in its tracks today,” said Lankford. “This was yet another sidestep in the broken federal spending process that not only fails to tackle our spending issues, it holds federal agencies in limbo and fails to take even a small step to fund border security or any of the other hundreds of issues that should be resolved.

“This year, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed all 12 bills to fund the federal government. Five of them have been signed into law, and the other seven are ready to go. The Subcommittee I chair worked tirelessly to bring the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) bill through the committee process. The FSGG bill had wide bipartisan support in the Committee, but like other appropriation bills, it will fail in this Congress because of a lack of commitment to finish negotiations.   

“The members of the bipartisan, bicameral committee to address our flawed federal spending and budget process agreed that CRs are not the way we should fund the government, and yet here we are again. CRs do nothing to reduce our deficit or our nearly $22 trillion national debt. We will not have a better budget product until we have a better budget process, and that means discontinuing the use of CRs among a myriad of other necessary reforms.

“The Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee had bipartisan agreement on a security funding package that included $1.6 billion toward a border fence and technology like seismic sensors and tethered drones to protect the border. It’s beyond frustrating that we were unable to work through the $900 million difference between one potential $2.5 billion proposal and the Senate Committee agreement of $1.6 billion.”

“In the last two years, Congress has provided $1.7 billion to build 124 miles of new or replacement fencing along the southern border. This new construction is working, and border agents at the southern border have confirmed that they have seen a decrease in illegal border crossings. But the effort is not over yet.

“This year, more than 75 Senators voted to support some version of border security and immigration policy. But all of the proposals failed. Instead of finding common ground and resolving our differences on national security, this Congress wants to just punt the hard decisions to another day. We need to actually make a decision. I hope we will use this short-term funding period to work out the disagreements that keep us from governing properly.”

Lankford has remained vocal on the need for border security and immigration reform. In June 2018, Lankford released an episode of his podcast, “The Breakdown with James Lankford” specifically discussing the immigration debate in Washington. And in July he spoke on the Senate floor in yet another attempt to urge Congress to act on immigration issues. Lankford has also expressed frustration at the Joint Select Committee on Appropriations and Budget Process Reform’s inability to make a number of key reforms to Washington’s spending culture.

Lankford serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending in the Senate. He serves as the Chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee. Lankford also served on the bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, which concluded its work last month.