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Senator Lankford’s Office Releases 2015 Activity Report

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — To mark the one-year anniversary of Senator James Lankford being sworn-in as the 18th United States Senator for Oklahoma, Lankford’s chief-of-staff Greg Slavonic released a memo detailing the activities and accomplishments of the Senator’s first year in the Senate.

A PDF of the memo is available here, and the full text is below:

TO:                    ALL RESIDENTS OF OKLAHOMA
DATE:                JANUARY 6, 2016

Fellow Oklahomans

This memo highlights some of the activities of Senator James Lankford on behalf of Oklahomans during his first year in the United States Senate. Since he was sworn in a year ago today on January 6, 2015, to finish the remaining two years of Dr. Tom Coburn’s Senate term, Lankford has been very active both in Washington, DC and Oklahoma.

In Congress, Senator Lankford has been particularly involved in the areas of budget, life, national security, regulatory reform and energy. Lankford co-sponsored legislation (S.1312), which was eventually signed into law, to lift the decades-long ban on exporting oil, a major development that will help Oklahoma grow its economy and help address our state budget shortfall. Lankford has also led the fight in defense of unborn children by speaking out about the recently revealed practices of Planned Parenthood trafficking unborn children’s body parts. Lankford was the first Senator to speak on the Senate floor about this atrocity and sponsored legislation (S.1881) to redirect taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood to community health centers. Lankford also co-sponsored legislation (S. 1553) that would prohibit abortions after five months of pregnancy, a time that medical science now confirms unborn babies can feel pain.

Lankford is vigorously committed to addressing our nation’s debt crisis, as well. Since first being elected to the House of Representatives in 2010, Lankford has fought, alongside like-minded colleagues, to reduce the annual deficit by nearly $1 trillion (from $1.4 trillion to $450 billion this year). The projected deficit for this Fiscal Year is expected to decrease by another $12 billion, despite a sluggish economy. We still have a long way to go though. Lankford has stressed that we cannot eliminate our debt without significant entitlement reform, like the kind he proposed last Fall with the Social Security Disability program.

In November, Lankford released a federal government waste report entitled, “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball,” which listed $105 billion in wasteful federal spending, and about $800 billion in negative regulatory impact to the economy. The football-themed report also offered policy solutions to each of the examples of government waste. National news outlets like ABC News and Fox News covered the outrageous wasteful spending. For example, the report pointed out that the Department of Defense spent $43 million, from 2011-2014, to build a compressed natural gas station in Afghanistan. Not only was the station rarely used, it is no longer in operation! The report also found that the National Institutes of Health has spent $2.6 million on a weight-loss program for truck drivers, and the National Science Foundation is spending nearly $375,000 to study the dating habits of senior adults. Most Americans agree with Lankford that our federal taxes shouldn’t be funding things like this. In March, Lankford also launched a nationwide #CutRedTape Initiative to help Americans report wasteful and harmful regulations to the U.S. Senate. This initiative, along with the Federal Fumbles report, will serve as a “to do” list for Lankford to work to eliminate or reform programs and policies in 2016.

Lankford is also proud to be a part of a new Republican-led Senate that is working for the American people. This year, the Senate passed a bicameral budget for the first time since 2009 and the first balanced budget since 2001 (S.Con.Res.11). The long list of Senate legislative accomplishments also include: anti-human trafficking legislation (S.178), Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate reform (H.R.2), major Elementary and Secondary education reform in the Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177), and legislation to address the Department of Veterans Affairs’ disability backlog and cover-ups (HR 2029). On December 3, the Senate also advanced a budget reconciliation bill (HR 3762) to repeal major parts of ObamaCare and defund Planned Parenthood. The House passed it today, and it is on its way to the President’s desk.

The new Republican-controlled Senate is also getting the upper chamber back to an open and working process again. In one year, the Republican-led Senate has voted on more amendments, reported more bills out of committee, and approved more conference reports than the previous two years combined under Senator Harry Reid and Democrat control. In fact, there were nearly 13 times as many amendment votes in 2015 as there were in 2014. Lankford is also part of a group of Senators looking at ways to reduce Congressional gridlock and make the Senate more deliberative.

In 2016, we are eager to continue working hard on behalf of Oklahomans. If there is ever anything we can do to help you, please contact our offices in Oklahoma or in Washington D.C. Here is some additional information about 2015:

Traveling The Sooner State:

  • Visited 45 Counties and 3 military installations (Ft. Sill, Vance AFB & Tinker AFB)
  • Visited 8 higher education campuses: University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Langston University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma City University School of Law, Eastern Oklahoma State College, Northern Oklahoma College, and University of Tulsa
  • Held 115 state listening events, townhalls and roundtables
  • Notable State Events:
    • Delivered Commencement Address at Northern Oklahoma College on May 2
    • Delivered Commencement Address at Oklahoma State University on May 9
    • Held a Senate Indian Affairs Committee field hearing on May 27

Legislative Activities:

  • Attended over 230 Committee hearings and meetings in Congress
  • Spoke on the Senate floor 26 times 
  • Chaired 13 committee hearings and roundtables for the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management
  • Special Initiative: In March, Senator Lankford launched the #CutRedTape Initiative, a new way for American families and businesses to communicate with the Senate about how federal regulations impact them – more than 230 submissions on federal regulations have been received so far.
  • Bills/Amendments introduced: 26 (below are just a few)
    • (S. 144) Local Leadership in Education Act
    • (S. 282) Taxpayer Right To Know Act *passed Committee*
    • (S. 321) Bill to remove Miami Tribe charter *signed into law*
    • (S. 565) Federal Vehicle Repair Cost Savings Act *signed into law*
    • (S. 582) No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
    • (HR 2146 amendment #1273) Trade Promotion Authority Religious Freedom amendment *signed into law*
    • (S. 1109) Truth in Settlements Act *passed Senate*
    • (S. 1576) Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act *passed Senate*
    • (S. 1817) Smarter Regulations Through Advance Planning and Review Act *passed Committee*
    • (S. 1820) Early Participation in Regulations Act of 2015 *passed Committee*
    • (S. 1818) Principled Rulemaking Act of 2015 *passed Committee*
    • (S.1881) Redirect Planned Parenthood Funds to Health Centers *received Senate vote*
    • (S. 1919) Health Care Conscience Rights Act of 2015
    • (S. 2158) Production Tax Credit Elimination Act
  • Bills co-sponsored: 82 (below are just a few)
    • (S. 1) Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act *vetoed by President Obama*
    • (S.141) Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act
    • (S. 155) Fair Tax Act of 2015
    • (S. 248) Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2015 *passed Committee*
    • (S. 264) Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2015
    • (S. 269) Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015
    • (S. 339) Obamacare Repeal Act
    • (S. 690) Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act (sponsored by Sen. Inhofe)
    • (S. 1099) Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act *signed into law*
    • (S. 1553) The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act *received Senate vote*

Connecting With Oklahomans in D.C.:

  • Held 157 policy meetings with constituents in Washington D.C.
  • Responded to approximately 60,000 pieces of constituent mail, emails, phone calls, and faxes
  • Welcomed over 550 Oklahomans at weekly “Java with James” coffee open house receptions