Saturday, June 03, 2023

Oklahoma delegation splits on debt ceiling increase vote

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to raise the debt limit by roughly $4T (trillion with a t) through January 2025 by a vote of 314-117 (165 Democrats and 149 Republicans in favor, 71 Republicans and 46 Democrats opposed). The U.S. Senate approved the measure on Thursday with a 63-36 vote (46 Democrats and 17 Republicans in favor, 31 Republicans and 5 Democrats opposed).

Among Oklahoma all-GOP delegation, Sen. James Lankford and Reps. Kevin Hern (1st District) and Josh Brecheen (2nd District) voted against it. Sen. Markwayne Mullin joined the moderate wing of the Senate GOP in supporting the measure, as did Reps. Frank Lucas (3rd District), Tom Cole (4th District), and Stephanie Bice (5th District) in the House. 

Below are statements from those members who have issued them since the vote (Hern appears to be the only one without a public comment).


Lankford Opposes Debt Limit Bill

WASHINGTON, DC (June 1st) – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) voted to oppose the bill to raise the debt limit. Despite Lankford’s “no” vote, the bill passed the Senate and now heads to the President’s desk for signature. Lankford spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to the bill earlier today.

“Washington overspending is saddling future generations with more and more debt. Unfortunately this bill does not significantly change the direction of federal spending,” said Lankford. “I’ve voted for debt ceiling increases in the past when they were accompanied by spending reforms or concrete spending reductions. But instead of cutting spending, as advertised, this bill actually increases spending. There are also numerous waivers and exceptions that make the bill’s permitting and other policy changes easy for the Administration to ignore. We should come to the table like adults and have the hard conversation about our skyrocketing $31.4 trillion debt.”

Congressman Josh Brecheen Votes NO on Biden-McCarthy Debt Ceiling Agreement

Washington, D.C. (May 31st) – Congressman Josh Brecheen voted NO on H.R. 3746, the Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling agreement. 

“Tonight, more Democrats voted for the Biden-McCarthy agreement than Republicans, and you have to ask why? The Biden-McCarthy agreement was another missed opportunity to cut spending on a scale that can truly start to turn our nation away from a fiscal cliff. In five years, just the annual interest payments on our national debt will reach one trillion dollars, matching what we spend on national defense every year,” said Congressman Josh Brecheen. 

“We don’t have time to wait for real spending reform when experiencing a 40-year high of inflation and devaluation of our dollar that is threatening our world reserve currency status. The spending cuts and policy reforms we passed last month in the Limit, Save and Grow Act were jettisoned in this deal for the most part. The Biden Administration has largely protected their bloated levels of spending and their policies,” Brecheen continued. 

“In terms of real first year cuts to spending, the Biden-McCarthy agreement only includes about 1% ($12 billion) of the first-year cuts to federal spending of The Limit, Save, Grow Act which cut approximately $900 billion in the first year,” Brecheen concluded.  

Fast Facts on the Biden-McCarthy Agreement:

  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now says the agreement’s adjustments to work requirements will not save money but will actually cost taxpayers $2.1 billion more over ten years and add 78,000 more people onto the rolls of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) because of this deal.   
  • This deal leaves in place green energy tax credit subsidies that will cost taxpayers $1.2 billion over the next decade, while pushing natural gas utilization aside. Permitting reform would have been a net positive absent its inclusion of expediating taxpayer-subsidized green energy projects. 
  • The deal, for the most part, upholds Biden’s student loan bailout and only delays the IRS expansion by just one year.
  • This bill included the “Massie Plan,” which would include an automatic 1% cut to a Continuing Resolution if Congress fails to pass appropriations bills. On its face, this could be a positive. However, the threat of it being thwarted by another bloated spending bill is real. 


Lucas Statement on Avoiding Default on Debt, Common-Sense Return to Fiscal Responsibility

Washington, D.C. (May 31st) - Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement: Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3746, The Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“House Republicans have warned President Biden and the Democrats of the consequences of their unsustainable spending spree. Since President Biden took office, House Democrats have increased the 10-year spending trajectory by $10 trillion. Republicans understand the imperative to rein in spending and defend the full faith and credit of the United States. Today’s vote to responsibly raise the debt ceiling and enact significant spending cuts saves American families and the U.S. economy from severe economic hardship,” said Congressman Lucas. “Our national debt stands at $31.8 trillion, a symptom of Washington’s fiscal irresponsibility. The Fiscal Responsibility Act includes important polices and reforms that will cut spending and strengthen our economy, a necessarily step to ultimately put our fiscal house in order.”

Cole Statement On Support Of Fiscal Responsibility Act

Washington, D.C. (May 31, 2023) – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 3746, the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“President Biden and Democrats’ needless delays to negotiate a responsible deal to raise the debt limit certainly put our country in a dangerous position,” said Cole. “Indeed, failing to responsibly raise the debt ceiling at all would be disastrous and would devastate the American economy. The Fiscal Responsibility Act is a product of compromise and reflects the realities of divided government, all the while accomplishing real reductions in spending. By passing this bill, House Republicans are keeping the promise to the American people of cutting spending year over year while giving an appropriate increase to defense spending and without cutting money for veterans.

“In addition, this legislation would claw back $28 billion in unspent COVID-19 pandemic relief money that is no longer needed, which is the largest rescission in history. Finally, it includes major reforms to work requirements for SNAP and TANF to incentivize able-bodied adults without dependents to rejoin the workforce and contribute to their communities, blocks the president’s demand for $5 trillion in new taxes and includes real permitting reform that will speed up the approval process for infrastructure and energy projects. At the end of the day, the American people expect lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to work together for the good of the country, and that is exactly what this bill achieves.”

Earlier this week, Cole delivered extensive remarks on the legislation in a Rules Committee meeting and on the House floor. Rules committee meeting video here and transcript here. Floor remarks video here and transcript HERE.

Rep. Stephanie Bice (5th District)

[Tweet thread pasted below, click here to read on Twitter]

To say that we cannot afford a default would be an understatement. Defaulting on our debt would bring catastrophic pain to Americans across the board. 

This is not an option.

We MUST act.

Make no mistake- there is still plenty of work to be done. However, with a Democrat controlled Senate & White House, [the] House GOP has been able to make significant changes, despite Biden refusing to talk with Speaker McCarthy for months.

This bill would:

1. Claw back tens of billions in unspent money for COVID funds.

During the pandemic, trillions of dollars left Washington with little or no oversight. This legislation even rescinds funds from the Global Health Fund which sends taxpayer money to the #CCP. This is the largest total recessions package in history. 

2. Cut red tape and streamline energy & infrastructure projects.

This would accelerate projects and cut costs with the first significant reform to NEPA since 1982. This will ultimately increase American energy production.

3. Slash funding for Biden's IRS agents.

This would nix the total FY23 staffing funding request of $1.4 billion for news IRS agents, preventing them from being implemented this fiscal year. 

4. Protect our seniors, veterans, and America's national security.

This ensures full funding for critical veteran's programs and national defense priorities. In an increasingly dangerous world and with our adversaries closing the gap, we must continue to ensure our warfighters have the resources they need to be successful.

This is the bottom line: with a divided government, no one is going to get exactly what they want. We must pass this bill & put Americans on a path to fiscal sanity.

To put it simply, these are the 3 options on the table:

Vote YES and rein in the Democratic spending spree that ran rampant for 2 years.

Vote NO and get a debt limit increase with NO SPENDING CUTS...

Or default on our debts. This would lead to economic catastrophe and turmoil, resulting in stagnation and high unemployment. 

Equally important is what is NOT in the bill. There are 

  • NO tax increases
  • NO new regulations
  • NO new spending

This bill is 99 pages and I’ve read every last word.

I want to make it clear that I hoped and even supported more cuts through the Limit, Save, Grow Act... but this is a marathon not a sprint. 


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