DC Report: 'Pain,' says Coburn
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2/17/13 at 2:47 AM
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn predicted painful times ahead because of sequestration.
"There's going be some pain," Coburn said last week during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "The politicians on the Hill aren't going to make cogent, smart decisions about alternatives to this until they really start feeling some pain.
"It's a stupid way to govern, but that's the way we're doing it right now. And I'd say the blame lies on everybody's shoulders, including the president's."
Inhofe makes impression: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe didn't take long to stir things up as ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Inhofe is a longtime member of the committee but became ranking member last month. The ranking member is the leader of a committee's minority party.
Traditionally, the Senate Armed Services Committee has maintained - or at least liked to think it maintained - an air of nonpartisanship. Arguments along party lines were discouraged.
But Inhofe's aggressiveness has reportedly riled some colleagues and prompted the New York Times' editorial page to rake him over the coals for "petty politics" during last week's confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel.
At one point, Inhofe said Hagel was "endorsed" by Iran. Later he said Hagel's support of a Palestinian state run by Hamas was unacceptable.
Friday, the publication Salon pointed out that Inhofe himself had once said Hamas was like "The Salvation Army with loaded guns."
Inhofe has explained himself pretty simply, saying he cannot support anyone who agrees with the policies of the Obama administration.
Mullin's first floor speech: New 2nd District Congressman Markwayne Mullin's first speech on the House floor focused on what he said is a continuing bad climate for small business.
"More and more, businesses are faced with constant uncertainty caused by Washington's inability to take action on today's pressing problems," Mullin said. "This failure results in uncertainty with tax rates, near chaos in the markets and a never-ending stream of impractical regulations.
"A cloud of doubt has been cast over our entire economy. For most business owners, it is a daily struggle just to keep the doors open in large part because government itself is a constant obstacle."
Lucas scores Senate Dems: Third District Congressman Frank Lucas slammed Senate Democrats' alternative to sequestration, saying it shifted a disproportionate share of spending cuts to the "farm safety net."
"The Senate's approach of taking away our investment in rural America without addressing the hole it will create is not balanced and not acceptable," said Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
The Senate Democrats proposed $110 billion in deficit reduction, half through tax increases and half through spending cuts.
The cuts include a net $27.5 billion reduction in direct payments to farmers.
Lucas pointed out his committee adopted a farm bill last year that cut total spending by $35 billion, including reductions to food assistance and other nonfarm programs. That bill, however, was never given a vote on the House floor.
Coburn, Boxer co-sponsor bill: Coburn and California Democrat Barbara Boxer have co-sponsored a bill to permit federal research into organ donations from HIV-positive donors to HIV-positive recipients.
"This legislation will allow those infected with HIV greater hope in obtaining organ donations by lifting the federal ban on research," Coburn said. "Our scientific understanding of AIDS is much better than when this research ban was established. Those infected with HIV are now living much longer and, as a consequence, are suffering more kidney and liver failures. If research shows positive results, HIV positive patients will have an increased pool of donors."
Bacharach vote set: After more than a year of delays, Oklahoma City federal magistrate Robert Bacharach's nomination to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will get a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate.
Debate is scheduled for 4 p.m. CST on Feb. 25, with a vote at 5 p.m.
Bacharach was nominated to the 10th Circuit in January 2012, and while considered noncontroversial, his confirmation was held up by political maneuvering in advance of the 2012 elections.
NRA, OKC firm linked: The Washington Post last week detailed the long relationship between the National Rifle Association and Oklahoma City advertising and public relations firm Ackerman McQueen.
The story said Ackerman McQueen is largely responsible for the NRA's sometimes edgy advertising and aggressive public relations and that it was "instrumental" in making Wayne LaPierre the organization's public face.