Senator Lankford Opposes Fiscally Irresponsible Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued the following statement today on his opposition to the Senate vote on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, which includes $1.1 billion in additional debt spending to address the Zika virus:

“I am pleased that a more transparent and open appropriations process is moving through the Senate again. At times, transparency exposes spending behaviors that are irresponsible. I cannot support this bill because it is fiscally irresponsible and spends money outside of the previously agreed-upon budget caps. What is the purpose of a budget if we cannot stick to it? No one can say there are budget restraints when the Senate simply declares any new spending an ‘emergency.’

“For weeks, I have spoken about the need to address the Zika virus, but there is absolutely no reason to add a billion dollars in new federal debt when there is unobligated money in the budgets of several agencies that can be used instead. The Senate’s failure to find $1 billion in a $4 trillion total budget is poor governing. There are many areas of this bill to support, but I cannot support measures that ignore our federal spending. How can we say that we should protect our children from Zika, and at the same time expose them to even more debt?”

On May 12, Senator Lankford delivered a speech on the Senate floor to urge Congress to prioritize spending with already-appropriated funding for a Zika response. Lankford also wrote an op-ed on May 10 about the importance of prioritizing spending. Lankford also delivered a floor speech yesterday on this issue.