Friday, December 23, 2022

His last hurrah: Inhofe stuffs omnibus bill with $498M in earmarks

Earmarks: political self-bribery. Vote and influence buying. "The gateway drug to runaway spending," as the late Dr. Tom Coburn used to say.

Earlier, I posted that U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe was the only Oklahoman to vote for the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill passed by Congress. Why was he in favor of the mega-spending bill?

That's easy. Inhofe stuffed almost half a billion dollars worth of earmarks in the bill -- second most of all senators and representatives. If anything was made evident by his time in Washington, it's that Jim Inhofe looooved him some earmarks and pork spending. 

Rep. Kevin Hern pointed out that the omnibus bill includes spending on:
  • $410 million for border security in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman.
  • $1.5 million to encourage people to eat outdoors in Pasadena.
  • $2 million for B360, a group that promotes dirt-bike culture in Baltimore.
  • $575 million for “family planning” in areas where population growth threatens biodiversity. [in other words, a Malthusian genocide against humans in favor of plants and animals]
  • Over $17 million for LGBTQ centers around the country.
  • $47 billion to Ukraine, plus the creation of a “Ukrainian Independence Park” in DC.
  • $8.6 million for “gender advisor programs” at the Pentagon.
  • $200 million for a Gender Equity Fund.
  • $286 million in Title X funding, which funds Planned Parenthood.

You can read Sen. Inhofe's Earmark-and-Pork's press release applauding passage of the mega-spending omnibus bill toward the bottom of this post, but I wanted to re-post his extensive earmarks that he bribed himself with.

And naturally, Inhofe made sure to mention in his press release that the omnibus bill "fully fund[ed] the Department of Defense as authorized in the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023" -- named after himself.

It should be noted that Inhofe's successor, current Rep. Markwayne Mullin, is a supporter of earmarks (here, here, and here).

Here are the Inhofe earmarks, as proudly touted in his press release:

Department of Defense:

  • $426 million for E-7 acceleration to replace E-3 mission at Tinker Air Force Base.
  • $25 million to fund Oklahoma-based Kratos Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft.
  • $9.8 million for University of Oklahoma and Epirus to continue radar research and development.
  • $5 million in support of university research efforts through a Counter-UAS Center of Excellence at Oklahoma State University.
  • $5 million for a supply chain study covering cyber security vulnerabilities in natural gas pipelines that the Army is dependent on. This will be done at the University of Tulsa in coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC).
  • $5 million for University of Oklahoma and Berry aviation partnership to develop relative positioning autonomous platforms.
  • $2 million for SkyDweller’s autonomous maritime patrol aircraft.
  • $2 million for Lawton’s Machine Learning for Army Integrated Fires at the FISTA.
  • $5 million for Oklahoma State University’s Counter UAS Technology Research.
  • $5 million for Oklahoma-based Firehawk Aerospace advanced hybrid rocket engine development.
  • $2 million to Berry Aviation for Hybrid Autonomous Maritime Expeditionary Logistics.
  • $2 million to FISTA and Camgian partnership to develop and integrate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms to improve advance kill chain automation of Army Counter – Unmanned Aerial Systems.
  • Fully funds Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) of the B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber at $2.8 billion and supports Air Force nuclear modernization by including $599 million for Long Range Standoff Weapon programs.
  • Funds Paladin Integrated Management procurement at $227 million for an additional 23 vehicles.
  • $129 million for 14 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries.

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs:

  • Includes language encouraging the Department of Veterans Affairs to adequately resource the completion of existing construction projects, including CHIP-IN projects, like the Tulsa VA hospital, impacted by surging inflation, supply chain shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $114 million for construction of KC-46A 1-Bay Depot Corrosion Control Hangar.
  • $90 million for construction of a KC-46A 2-Bay Program Depot Maintenance Hangar.
  • $49 million to construct a high 3-bay depot maintenance hangar for the KC-46A Pegasus Aerial Refueling Aircraft.
  • $15 million for the planning and design of the for E-7 Operations Center.
  • $13.6 million to construct petroleum oils and lubricants lines and add/alter the fuel yard on and around the KC-46A campus at Tinker Air Force Base.
  • $12.5 million for the 10th Flight Test Squadron’s Operations Facility.
  • $85.5 million to construct Fort Sill’s AIT Complex Phase 2.
  • $39 million to ensure adequate and proper facilities for employees to disassemble munitions at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant’s Ammunition Demolition Shop.

Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development

  • $40 million for construction of a new air traffic control tower at Tulsa International Airport (TUL) to provide a safe, functional and reliable facility for air traffic control services.
  • $5 million for construction of a new air traffic control (ATC) contract tower at Max Westheimer Airport (OUN) to provide a safe, functional and reliable facility for air traffic control services.
  • $4 million to add additional capacity to I-35, a nationwide freight corridor, in Love and McClain Counties by widening the road from four lanes to six lanes.
  • $4 million for the completion of planning activities and acquisition of the necessary right of way for improvements to upgrade US-412 as part of the effort to designation it as a future interstate to empower economic growth in the Tulsa area.
  • $2 million to reconstruct, widen and add shoulders and sidewalks to 20 miles of roadway on US-283 and US-62, also known as the Altus Economic Loop.

Energy and Water Development:

  • $10 million to continue deepening the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) to 12 feet
  • Urges the Corps to accelerate construction of 12-foot deepening and expeditiously complete construction of the Tulsa and West-Tulsa Levee system.
  • $87 million to continue and accelerate critical maintenance work on locks and dams along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). This includes $18.3 million in additional maintenance work above the president’s budget.
  • $5 million to convert open water irrigation canals to an enclosed pipe system to better conserve water in the Lugert-Altus Irrigation District in Altus.
  • $1.25 million for the University of Tulsa to support research into hydrogen transport in pipelines to increase pipeline safety.
  •  $1.5 million for the University of Tulsa to investigate produced water cleaning, conditioning and desalination.
  •  $1.25 million for the University of Tulsa to conduct research and experimentation in surface transportation of CO2 through pipelines, injection of CO2 into wells and flow assurance of carbon capture and storage (CCS).
  • $1.5 million for the University of Tulsa to create a platform on which to build and test cyber security tools to improve resiliency in the power grid.
  • $7 million for continued operation of the Risk Based Data Management System, an information system operating in state oil and natural gas and environmental agencies, including Oklahoma.
  • Interior & Environment:
  • $1.59 million to replace the Town of Canadian’s 40-year-old mechanical wastewater plant with a lagoon system.
  • $1.32 million to the City of Porter for a new disinfection facility.
  • $640,000 for the Town of Corn to replace five sections of sewer lines that are severely deteriorated and polluting the groundwater source.
  • $4 million to extend drinking water service in Cleveland County to cover underserved areas that run on small public water systems with frequent water quality violations.
  • $4 million to the Town of Maysville for improvements to their water treatment plant.
  • $80,000 to the City of Oilton for improvements to their water treatment plant.
  • $1.6 million to the City of Barnsdall for the replacement of the Waxhoma Dam spillway.
  • $880,000 to the City of Barnsdall for improvements to their water treatment plan.
  • $68,000 to the City of Wewoka for dam rehabilitation.
  • $320,000 to the City of Perkins for sewer line replacement.
  • $289,000 to the City of Hinton for improvements to their wastewater lagoon system.
  • $2 million to the City of Watonga for improvements to their water treatment plant.
  • $4 million to McCurtain County for water line replacement.
  • $3.89 million to the City of Waurika for improvements to their water treatment plant.
  • $1.5 million to the City of Ponca City for rehabilitation of major interceptor.
  • $4 million to the City of Lawton for alternate groundwater supply.
  • $4 million for Enhanced Aquifer Use and Research efforts in Ada, Oklahoma.

Homeland Security

  • $77 million to recapitalize the fleet of Waterways Commerce Cutters. These vessels are responsible for marking navigation channels on inland waterways like MKARNS and are over 50 years old—they must be replaced. Inhofe authored the provision in the 2018 U.S. Coast Guard Reauthorization directing the Coast Guard to cost-effectively recapitalize these vessels.

Commerce, Justice and Science:

  • $9.5 million to the University of Oklahoma for the construction of a new building to support the National Weather Center.
  • $500,000 to the OSU School of Forensics DNA Laboratory.
  • $1.8 million to the Oklahoma Center for Hydrological Integrated Monitoring, Modeling, and Mitigation (OCHIM3).
  • $20.9 million to NOAA for the engineering, digital architecture, operations studies, and scientific studies of Phased Array Radar technology.
  • $10 million for the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs for officer training on responding to individuals with mental illness or disabilities, consistent with legislation authored by Sen. Inhofe that authorizes a program for this same purpose. The funding is carved out of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) program to go toward grants for state and local law enforcement and correctional facilities to educate, train and prepare officers to respond to mentally ill or disabled individuals.


  • $4.177 million to address deferred maintenance needs at the Stillwater Wheat, Peanut, and Other Field Crops Research Unit Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Facility.
  • $1.544 million modernize facilities at the Woodward Southern Plains Range ARS Facility greenhouse.
  • $1.26 million for El Reno Grazinglands ARS Facility for maintenance to the gravel and unpaved roads.
  • $3.254 million for Stillwater Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit ARS for deferred maintenance and modernizing the siphon system.
  • $4.333 million for Rural Electrification and Telecommunications (RET) Loans Program Account, which helps rural Yukon property owners get electrical, telephone and internet service to their home.

Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education

  • $1.5 million for OSU Institute of Technology for the OSUIT XR Integrated Curricula initiative.
  • $96,000 for Rose State College’s Youth Aerospace Education and STEM Teach the Teacher Program.
  • $253,000 for Rose State College’s Private Pilot’s License Program.
  • $1 million for Oklahoma Children’s Hospital (OU Health) for Behavioral Health Technological Advances.
  • $714,000 for Mid-American Christian University ‘s Multipurpose Science Center.
  • $1 million for Northeastern University’s College of Optometry.
  • $350,000 for Connors State College’s Nightingale Project.
  • $1 million for Tulsa Community College’s School of Health Sciences.
  • $487,000 for Oklahoma City Community College’s Nursing Program Expansion.
  • $1.05 million for Seminole State College for simulation equipment and nursing equipment.
  • $810,000 for Western Oklahoma State College for nursing equipment.
  • $1.74 million for City of Altus for a Regional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Center.
  • $1.25 million for Oklahoma Blood Institute for facilities and equipment.
  • $3 million for Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City for equipment and information technology needs.
  • $60 million for colleges of medicine at public universities in the top quartile of states with projected primary care provider shortages, including University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
  • Includes the longstanding Hyde amendment, prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion.

Financial Services:

  • Includes S.419, the CONTRACT Act, legislation authored by Sen. Inhofe, which would remove the current financial penalty for retired FAA air traffic controllers to work at federal contract towers.
  • $3 million for repairs and alterations to the William J. Holloway Jr. U.S. Courthouse and U.S. Post Office in Oklahoma City.

Nothing like going out with a bang, right? Good riddance to one of the (if not the) biggest porkers in Oklahoma's history.


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