Oklahoma's Delegation Reacts To Biden Administration's Busy 1st Full Week

Friday, January 29th 2021, 5:20 pm
By: Alex Cameron


The first full week of the Biden administration saw a flurry of executive orders from the White House, hearings for cabinet nominees, and continued concerns over security at the U.S. Capitol.

For the most part, members of Oklahoma's delegation aren't liking what they're seeing so far.

Some of President Joe Biden's fiercest criticism has come from representatives from energy-producing states like Oklahoma.

In response to executive actions halting work on the Keystone XL pipeline and placing a moratorium on new drilling permits on federal land, Senate Republicans sent the president a letter, "requesting a meeting as soon as possible to discuss these actions, and stating a deep concern with the administration’s "job-killing actions.”

The Sooner State's members are also unhappy with the president's decision to rescind the so-called "Global Gag Rule," a policy strongly supported by the pro-life movement, which held its annual March for Life on Friday, because it keeps foreign nongovernmental organizations that get U.S. funding from promoting abortion.

The Senate made progress on some of Biden's Cabinet nominees this week and will have all of next week as well, before having to set everything else aside for the impeachment trial.

In a preview of how the Senate might vote on whether to convict former President Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection, an attempt to halt the trial by declaring it unconstitutional failed on Tuesday by a vote of 55-45.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, was among the 45 GOP Senators to vote to declare the trial unconstitutional.

In an interview on Thursday, he explained why.

"The penalty that they're striving for is to be expelled from office, and [Trump's] not in office, so you can't do that," he said.

The trial is expected to begin on February 9.

It appears the U.S. House will soon take up Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package. Republicans said it's too expensive, but know that through a procedure known as reconciliation, the Democrats could push much of it through without GOP cooperation, if they want.

"This all gets down to whether the new president and the Democrat majorities in the two houses want to work with Republicans or not," said Rep. Tom Cole, (R) OK-4.

Also this week, Rep. Kevin Hern, (R) OK-1, introduced his "Roadmap to Congressional Reform" bill package. Among other things, it would impose term limits for Congress: three terms for House members, two terms for senators.

"I hope that we can move forward with reforming Congress," said Hern. "It has less than a 10% approval rating among Americans, which is sad."

Other reform measures in the package would withhold pay from members if the budget is not completed in a timely fashion, would eliminate earmarks, and increase from two to 10 years the length of time a former member would have to wait before being allowed to work on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist.