Politics and Government
7:46 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Oklahoma Congressional Delegation Not Impressed With State Of The Union

Most of Oklahoma’s all-Republican Congressional delegation panned President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address he delivered to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe says the President made it clear he would continue to bypass Congress, and use a “pen and phone” to get work done. Inhofe says Americans will see this play out with a Climate Action Plan the president unveiled last summer.

“It would have been the largest tax hike in the history of America,” Inhofe said in a video response. “But it was soundly rejected by both the House and the Senate. And this is why I’ll be introducing a bill in the coming weeks that would require President Obama’s (Environmental Protection Agency) to be held accountable for their rule-making.”

Oklahoma's longest-serving current House member, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, says President Obama needs to stop ignoring opportunities to create jobs.

“For instance, he has failed to approve of the northern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which has the potential to produce tens of thousands of jobs in our country,” Lucas said in a statement. “In the House, we have voted seven separate times to move forward with construction; however, the president and Senate have refused to act on this shovel-ready project."

U.S. Rep. James Lankford, who’s running for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, said the State of the Union did not answer The American people’s questions.

“Why have their wages continued to drag and economic growth seemed so slow?” Lankford asked in a statement. “People want jobs and opportunity, not federal mandates, government programs and rhetoric.”

President Obama delivers his 2014 State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress Tuesday, January 28, 2014.
Credit The White House / YouTube

President Obama called on both Democrats and Republicans in the House to pass legislation this year overhauling the nation's immigration laws during the speech.

The U.S. Senate passed broad legislation last year that enhances border security and provides a path to citizenship, but U.S. Rep. Tom Cole told NPR's Robert Siegel last night he doesn't expect that bill to pass the lower chamber.

“We’ve got four bills out of the House Judiciary Committee, and some others coming,” Cole said. “So there might be a way to make some modest progress, but I think it will be modest and not comprehensive.”

Cole says President Obama has said he might accept a step-by-step approach rather than a comprehensive immigration bill. The White House has said it wants the legislation to lead to citizenship, but the president did not make that demand last night.

Listen to U.S. Rep. Tom Cole's (R-Okla.) conversation with NPR's Robert Siegel immediately after Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

The Fourth District Republican Congressman also addressed the president’s criticism of House Republicans for more than 40 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Cole said even though the act isn't popular with Republicans, the House and Senate have agreed on seven bills dealing with the ACA that President Obama has signed.

“Everything from getting rid of 10-99 tax forms that every merchant was going to be required to use, to repealing the assisted living program portion, which was financially unsound,” Cole said. “So there are some areas around the edge. Maybe the medical device tax that we can work on together. I don’t think Democrats like that any more than Republicans. But again, Republicans are not likely to accept it [the ACA], but you do have to recognize political reality.”

Freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin says the address confirmed to him the president’s agenda is hollow rhetoric.

“Threatening ultimatums for if and when Congress doesn't act contradicts our founding principles,” Mullin said in a statement. “Forcing an executive agenda, without constructive conversation, creates a divided nation. Let's sit down with our nation's best interests in mind and come to bipartisan solutions that put America back in business."

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