Late last night, September 30, 2013, four conservative Oklahoma legislators voted to pass the temporary funding bill that would have funded the government through November 15, 2013. Representative James Lankford (OK-1), Representative Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), and Representative Jim Bridenstine (OK-5) have been voting to pass spending bills that would keep the government open while limiting or defunding the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) otherwise known as ObamaCare. On Friday, September 27, 2013, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) voted against closing debate on the continuing resolution that would have defunded ObamaCare.
Senator Inhofe sent an e-mail to his constituents that stated his reasoning for supporting the House bill.
“Despite the Administration's promises, ObamaCare is not improving our health care system nor is it bringing down costs. Rather, ObamaCare imposes roughly $500 billion in new taxes on individuals and businesses, cuts Medicare funding by $523 billion, and represents an unprecedented expansion of the federal government's control over health care. As ObamaCare is being implemented, it has given us a disturbing glimpse of our country's future. This law is already encroaching upon American's religious liberties, diminishing full-time job opportunities, and adding to our already skyrocketing federal debt. ObamaCare must be repealed.
“The President's recent actions show recognition that this law is a bad deal for Americans. The President has signed 14 bills into law that have amended, repealed or changed portions of ObamaCare. Independent of Congress, he has also delayed implementation of five of its key provisions.
“Since 2010, I have cosponsored bills, filed amicus briefs, and sent letters to help in efforts to put a stop to ObamaCare. This summer, I joined my colleagues Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in notifying Majority Leader Harry Reid that we will not support any spending bills in the Senate which further fund ObamaCare. The Senate is now considering a funding bill to keep the government operating after Oct. 1, and I remain firm in my promise that I will not support any proposal that funds this disastrous health care law.
“In the event that my colleagues and I are unable to delay or repeal ObamaCare during this current budget battle, I have signed on to an effort to stop taxpayer subsidies for Members of Congress and their staffs in ObamaCare's insurance exchanges. I have also joined an effort to block labor unions from receiving a special carve out that they requested after admitting the law would hamper their members' access to quality care. Additionally, I have cosponsored the Trust But Verity Act that would ensure the personal, private information of Americans who are enrolled in the health care exchanges is secured with proper privacy and data security safeguards.”
On Sunday, September 29 Representative Bridenstine made this statement in a press release.
“Now the Senate will decide if they are willing to accept the bill as amended in the House or if they are going to shut down the government."
“James Madison explained in Federalist No. 58 that the purpose of Article I of the Constitution is to put the ‘power of the purse’ firmly in the hands of ‘the immediate representatives of the people.’ The American people have communicated clearly that they want the government open and they want to stop ObamaCare. The House heard and responded to the voice of the people.
“The House has provided a Continuing Resolution to fund the entire government -- twice. The second time we just delayed ObamaCare for a year. The American people do not want ObamaCare, and the representatives closest to them have voted not to spend the people’s money on it. If the Democrat-controlled Senate decides not to accept this, then it is their choice to shut down the government.”
Shortly after the Senate rejected the latest bill proposed by the House, Representative Mullin contacted his district with the following statement.
“Unfortunately we find ourselves in the worst case scenario of a government shutdown. There were many attempts to avoid this outcome, but this administration and Senate leadership refused to listen to the American people and come to a responsible agreement.
“As a business owner, you are always the last to get paid. In the case of a government shutdown, I will operate no different. All of my team members will be deemed essential and continue working in order to respond to the numerous calls we are receiving from our constituents. In order to off-set the cost of deeming each member of my team essential, I will return back to the treasury any of my pay received while the government is shut down.
“My team works diligently to represent Oklahoma’s Second Congressional District. We will operate under this course of action until a funding agreement is reached and the federal government is reopened.”
After midnight on October 1, 2013, Representative Lankford made this statement to his district.
“Earlier this evening, the Senate rejected the House continuing resolution amendment, which would have funded the federal government through December 15, delayed the new taxes and penalties imposed on Americans who don’t purchase health insurance, and prevent Members of Congress, congressional staff, the President, Vice President, Cabinet members and political appointees from receiving a special exemption from ObamaCare. Measures that are widely supported by Americans of all stripes but not by Senate Democrats.
It is clear that the House and Senate are at an impasse on how to fund the federal government. We’ve sent three different proposals to the Senate, but they refused to seriously consider any of them. As Thomas Jefferson once said, a House and Senate conference may be sought “in all cases of differences of opinion between two Houses on matters pending between them.” Therefore, early this morning the House approved a motion to go to a formal conference committee between the House and the Senate to iron out our differences in the bill. I hope Majority Leader Reid will act with urgency on our request to go to conference.
It is now officially past midnight and the appropriations for the federal government have expired. I am committed to restoring funding to the federal government as soon as possible and ensure all Americans are treated fairly under the law. In addition, I am pleased that the President signed into law a provision that the House passed unanimously on Saturday and the Senate passed today to provide uninterrupted funding for our troops and defense personnel in the event of a federal shutdown. I will work to keep you updated on the latest information as Congress continues to do everything we can to keep the government running and protect as many Americans as possible from the harmful effects of Obamacare while ensuring fairness for all Americans.”
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) voted to end debate on the Continuing Resolution that would have defunded ObamaCare. He sent a long statement to his constituents explaining his reasons for voting with Senate democrats.