Senator Lankford Supports First Funding Package
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today supported Senate passage of the first appropriations package considered by the full Senate. The appropriations bill provided Fiscal Year 2020 funding for agencies supported by the following appropriations bills: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. The bill includes Lankford’s bipartisan amendment to require the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct a study on access challenges for its Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), to better capture data on underserved populations, specifically focusing on homebound and the elderly, who may be unable to physically go to a distribution location for food.
“Funding the federal government should be the top priority of Congress, but passage of the first four of twelve appropriations bills for this fiscal year has come 30 days late,” said Lankford. “While I am pleased that we have moved these first four bills, a lot of work remains as we get closer to yet another funding deadline on November 21. We should not have another government shutdown that hurts federal families and wastes tax dollars. We should come together in a bipartisan manner to do what is right by the American taxpayer and ensure the entire government is funded before current funding runs out on November 21. Americans want Congress to stay and do our job. They do not want another government shutdown; they want results.”
The highlights in the bill that Lankford advocated for include:
- continuing and increasing funding to combat human trafficking in Indian Country
- prohibiting funds for federal programs that do not protect against pornography on their networks
- encouraging consistency and oversight in the Indian Health Service’s Joint Venture Construction Cycles
- requiring a report to detail the Bureau of Indian Education’s implementation of Lankford’s Johnson O’Malley Modernization Act
- funding for criminal investigation services on unsolved missing and murdered indigenous women and an oversight report on streamlining data collection
- funding for the modernization of oil and gas records with oversight compliance on the management of Indian energy resources
- directing the Department of Agriculture to address the lack of performance measures in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program and address duplicative conservation efforts with the goal of making these programs function more smoothly for constituents
- continuing to delay the electronic logging device (ELD) requirements for agriculture haulers, which helps our livestock and agriculture industries
- directing the Department of Transportation to provide more transparency for grant selection processes so those competing for awards know that each application is reviewed fairly
- encouraging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to notify local law enforcement when possible when a felon in their jurisdiction tries to buy a firearm and encouraging ATF to notify and utilize the help of local law enforcement when retrieving firearms from those who fail a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check
- funding programs for homeless assistance, Section 8 vouchers, and Native American housing programs.
On the Appropriations Committee, Lankford serves on the following Subcommittees: Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; Homeland Security, Financial Services and General Government, and Legislative Branch.
In 2018, Lankford served on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, which is a bipartisan, bicameral panel tasked with proposing a set of solutions to significantly overhaul the budget and appropriations process for the better. He also spearheaded bipartisan legislation to prevent future government shutdowns by holding Congress accountable for not funding the government on time. The Prevent Government Shutdowns Act is simple. If all appropriations bills are not passed by both houses and signed by the President by October 1, no official travel will be allowed for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) leadership or staff or senators and representatives along with their committee and personal staffs.