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Senator Lankford Supports Senate Passage of Appropriations Bills

WASHINGTON, DC –Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today supported Senate passage, by a vote of 85-7, of the Department of Defense and Health and Human Services, Education and Labor Appropriations Act (H.R. 6157), the eighth and ninth (of 12) appropriations bills approved by the Senate this year. 

“I applaud the Senate for taking our appropriations work seriously and passing America’s essential funding bills in a timely manner,” said Lankford. “This is the fastest pace the Senate Appropriations Committee has worked to complete its funding bills since 1988. To avoid another omnibus disaster, we must be diligent about getting these done.”

Lankford continued, “I’m pleased that this bill makes a significant investment in NIH research towards finding cures for diseases and medical conditions. This bill gives our men and women on active duty a well-deserved pay increase, and it funds several programs on military bases in Oklahoma. Thankfully, this bill also makes reforms to our Social Security Disability Insurance program, to root out waste and fraud so that those who truly need the program will have it. This is something I have worked on for a long time, and I’m glad we’re starting to improve the program.”

The Department of Defense funding portion of the bill appropriates $675 billion for defense operations, while the Health and Human Services, Education and Labor portion appropriates $179.3 billion in discretionary funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. 

Within the Appropriations Committee, Senator Lankford serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, and he serves on the following Subcommittees: Energy and Water; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Homeland Security.  He also serves on the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform, which is a bi-partisan, bi-cameral panel tasked with proposing a set of solutions to significantly overhaul the budget and appropriations process for the better.

Department of Defense Bill Highlights:

  • Military Pay Raise – Increases funding for a military pay raise of 2.6 percent, the largest pay raise in almost 10 years, which is aligned with the authorization levels in the FY19 NDAA.
  • F-16 Squadrons in Tulsa – Provides $185 million for new F-16 squadrons, including the 138th Fighter Wing in Tulsa. 
  • KC-46A Tanker in Altus – Funds 15 KC-46-A tankers, including the delivery of the first tankers at Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base later this year.
  • Ft. Sill Programs – Funds the PATRIOT Mods program, the Paladin Integrated Management system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense which all maintain operations at the Fires Center of Excellence at Ft. Sill Army Base in Oklahoma.
  • E-6 Series at Tinker – Funds E-6 series training and equipment activities at Oklahoma’s Tinker Air Force Base.
  • MC-12 in OKC – Provides $5 million for the MC-12W, which is currently assigned to the 137th Special Operations Wing out of Will Rogers Air National Guard Base.

Health and Human Services, Education and Labor Bill Highlights:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Reform – Instructs the Social Security Administration to take specific steps to reduce the massive Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing backlog, improve the disability adjudication process, and update the medical vocational grid, which brings eligibility criteria into the 21st century.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Fraud Investigations – Provides funding for disability fraud investigations, to ensure that those who truly need SSDI can receive it. 
  • Opioid Abuse Treatment – Increases funding by $3.7 billion for cracking down on opioid abuse.
  • National Institute of Health (NIH) Research – Increases funding by $2 billion to advance groundbreaking disease research and medical treatment options.
  • National Institute of Health (NIH) Transparency – Ensures more transparency in National Institute of Health (NIH) spending to eliminate wasteful spending and ensure that tax dollars are only spent on research that promotes real scientific advancement.
  • Hyde Protections – Maintains the long-time prohibition of federal funds for abortion.