Oklahoma senator James Inhofe is up for re-election in November of 2014. To keep Oklahoma voters informed about our representatives’ action in Washington, this article will analyze seven of the votes that Senator Inhofe made during the second half of 2013. The information on these votes comes from the Freedom Index as published in The New American magazine.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) proposed an amendment to the immigration reform bill (S. 744) that would have required Congress certify that the borders of the United States were secure before “registered provisional status” would be granted to currently illegal immigrants. A motion was made to table this amendment, and the motion carried. According to Article IV, section 8 of the United States Constitution, the federal government is required to protect our borders from invasion. Senator Inhofe voted against the motion to table.
The immigration reform bill (S. 744) was brought up for a vote on the senate floor in June of 2013. This bill would grant legal status for most illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. The bill would also grant more work visas to low and unskilled workers which would raise the rate of legal immigration. The senate passed the bill which violates Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution because the lack of border security does not protect the United States from invasion. This bill also works toward a transition to a North American Union by leaving the country with an open border policy. Senator Inhofe voted against the bill.
Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate Majority Leader, made a motion to invoke cloture during the consideration of the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 (S. 1238). Cloture votes end debate on bills so they can be voted on. This bill would extend the 3.4% interest rate on Stafford Loans for one year. The motion was voted down, so debate could not end. The bill, if passed, would be unconstitutional because education and education funding fall outside of the powers granted to Congress in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Senator Inhofe voted against cloture.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) proposed an amendment to the Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (S. 1243) which would have established that the overthrow of Mohammed Morsi government in Egypt in July of 2013 was a military coup d’état. If congress declares that the overthrow of the Morsi government was a coup, then the U.S. government cannot provide military aid to that country until another democratic election has been held. Paul’s amendment would have redirected the foreign aid earmarked for Egypt to fund maintenance on transportation infrastructure. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) moved to table this amendment. Foreign aid is unconstitutional because providing monies to foreign nations for any reason is outside the powers of the government as outlined in the U.S. Constitution. Senator Inhofe voted to table the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) proposed an amendment to the continuing appropriations resolution for fiscal year 2014 (H.J.R. 59) that would remove language from the resolution that would defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace the language with language that would fund the ACA. This resolution passed the senate, but the House of Representatives voted it down because of the desire to defund the ACA. This action led to a 16 day partial shutdown of the federal government. Senator Inhofe voted against this resolution with Senator Reid’s amendment.
The continuing resolution to fund the government through November 15, 2013 that included the language to fund the ACA was passed out of the Senate on September 27, 2013. Senator Inhofe voted against the resolution. He did not vote on the compromise resolution that ended the partial government shutdown.
Another bill that was considered during the second half of 2013 was the employment nondiscrimination bill (S. 815) which protects employees, applicants, or members of organizations from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill exempts religious organizations but not affiliates of religious organizations. For example a Catholic church can discriminate based on sexual orientation according to their religious beliefs, but a Catholic hospital cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation. This bill passed the senate on November 7, 2013. It violates the Constitution because it dictates hiring practices of private employers and limits what a person can do with his or her private property – a business. This is a violation of the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution which states that the rights listed in the Bill of Rights are not the only rights granted to the people of the United States. Senator Inhofe voted against this bill.
Senator Inhofe votes mostly in favor of the Constitution. However, his stance on border security does concern constitutional conservatives. Other issues that will be considered before the next election are several free trade agreements. One of these is the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is supported by Senator Inhofe.