Dear Oklahoma Friends and Neighbors...
Keeping You in the Loop
• Yesterday, I was disappointed to see that the Administration once again decided to decrease the number of refugees we allow into our country. Over the last few months, the Department of Homeland Security implemented multiple policies that have resulted in a decrease in migrants at our Southern Border. While I appreciate the Administration’s focus on curbing illegal immigration and caring for asylum seekers, that does not mean we should continue to reduce the admittance of refugees who are fleeing persecution in their home countries to support these policies. The Administration should consult Congress and finalize an FY20 cap consistent with our nation’s values and foreign policy goals.
• This week, the Senate confirmed Mr. Eugene Scalia as Secretary of Labor and General John E. Hyten to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Senate continues to work to fill numerous Judicial and Executive Branch vacancies through the advice-and-consent process. I take this role very seriously and will continue to thoroughly review each nominee. So far, the Senate has approved 152 new federal judges.
• On September 22, President Trump addressed the UN General Assembly. Among several topics, he discussed the importance of and America’s dedication to international religious freedom and our nation’s work to protect the rights of religious minorities around the world from persecution. We can and should share our values of religious liberty with other nations and ensure that others have the opportunities to live by their faiths or have no faith at all around the world. We can help the world have fewer conflicts if we can help other nations understand the importance of religious liberty.
• This week, the Senate confirmed Oklahoman Kerry Pettingill to serve as the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. Thank you, Kerry, for your willingness to serve!
• On Wednesday, I introduced Mrs. Jodi Dishman at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mrs. Dishman was nominated by President Trump on August 14, 2019, to serve as a Judge on the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. She currently serves as an attorney at McAfee & Taft law firm in Oklahoma City and is President of the Oklahoma City chapter of the Federal Bar Association. She previously clerked for two judges on the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. I look forward to the Judiciary Committee’s consideration of her nomination and consideration by the full Senate.
• This week, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe negotiated a new trade deal to increase US agriculture exports, lower some industrial tariffs, and set rules for digital trade items. Our nation should continue to strive toward a broader trade agreement with Japan to cover areas including financial and telecommunications services, intellectual property concerns, and government procurement policies and regulatory practices.
• On September 12, I joined a bipartisan effort to review how the VA manages its contracts. I partnered with Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana on a letter to the top federal government watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), after the VA’s acquisition management was added to the GAO’s list of government programs at risk for waste and fraud. The VA acquires numerous goods and services for our veterans and their families. We should pay attention to the contracting costs and quality to ensure we protect taxpayer dollars.
• September is National Passport Month! Often people apply for their passports too late. Why wait? Submit an application in the lowerdemand fall and winter months for faster serviceeven if you don’t have a trip planned yet. If you ever have questions about international travel and how my office can serve you while abroad, please contact my Oklahoma City office at (405) 231-4941.
• Previously, the Lankford Letter has provided information on how to spot and report scams claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. I would also like to provide information on similar scam attempts from other federal agency impersonators and how to report them. If you ever wonder whether correspondence or a phone call claiming to be from the federal government is real, you can always call any of my three offices, and we can look into the call for you and make sure it is from a legitimate source. Additionally, senior adults who are the victims of scams should report to the US Senate’s Committee on Aging fraud hotline by calling (855) 303-9470.
• The Supreme Court of the United States will begin its next term on October 7. The Court will hear a number of important cases on topics including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the scope of the Civil Rights Act. The Court’s decisions in these and numerous other cases could have a profound impact on our nation.
• Earlier this month, I spoke on the Senate floor in honor of Constitution Day. We should always remember that our most enduring and unique national document has stood the test of time and directed our nation’s governance for over two hundred years. Please take the time to read our nation’s founding documents. We continue to grow as a nation, but it is hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been and who we are as a nation.
If you would like more information on these topics or any other legislation currently before the US Senate, please do not hesitate to call my DC office at (202) 224-5754. My Oklahoma City office can be reached at (405) 231-4941 and my Tulsa office at (918) 581-7651. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram for updates on my work in Congress.