Senator Lankford Statement on Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued the following statement after voting for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, also known as the omnibus bill.

“In December, as Congress considered the Continuing Resolution, I argued that enacting another CR would further discourage Congress from appropriating in regular order, and would push last year’s budgeting process to this year. I could not support that and I did not. 

“There are two options to fund our government right now: pass a Continuing Resolution that continues to fund the government at the spending level of the last omnibus, or support the new omnibus, which funds the government for the rest of the year with much needed reforms to reduce spending, reductions in unnecessary regulations, and more transparency. Neither option is ideal, but there is no question that the latest appropriations bill is better than last year.

“The omnibus provides the Department of Defense with $15 billion to continue to deal with an unstable Middle East and tensions with Russia and North Korea, as well as $1.5 billion for additional border security. 

“As I support this path to fund the government until September 2017, I strongly urge Congress to reform the current budget process and produce a balanced budget. Since 1974, the budget process has worked as intended only four times; in fact, Congress has passed a continuing resolution 173 times. This is not a political issue, it’s a process issue, and Congress needs to fix the broken process. We must continue to work to reform the budget process to address the most predictable crisis in our history, rather than putting off this crisis until later.”

Specifically, the omnibus:

  • Adds $15 billion to the Department of Defense to address operations and improve readiness,
  • Adds $497 million to improve border security along the southwest US border, increase staffing,
  • Requires US Customs and Border Protection to submit detailed plan to Congress on securing the border so Congress can provide additional funding with the assurance the dollars are spent efficiently,
  • Caps funding for US contributions to UN peacekeeping budget in order to encourage more nations to pay their fair share,
  • Allocated no new funding for the Affordable Care Act,
  • Installs new safeguards for current dollars already allocated in the Prevention and Public Health slush fund,
  • Eliminates 150 existing federal programs. 

On April 27, Lankford spoke on the Senate floor to urge Congress to pursue budget reform, in light of the numerous appropriations and budget failures and constant continuing resolutions, omnibus bills, and government shutdown deadlines.