U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe used the confirmation hearing for the next chief of naval operations to again vent his frustration about continued problems with the Navy’s new $13 billion carrier, the USS Gerald Ford.

According to Breaking Defense, Inhofe said Navy leadership demonstrated “either poor knowledge or poor judgment” by allowing the installation of systems on the Ford without testing them, and then trying to downplay the seriousness of the problems.

The biggest concern is that nine of 11 weapons elevators don’t work, rendering much of the carrier’s armament inoperable.

But, Inhofe said, “there are problems with the Ford beyond the elevators, and those problems have to do with the arresting gear, catapult and the radar.”

Inhofe said the Navy’s handling of the Ford’s construction “ought to be criminal.”

No doubter: U.S. Sen. James Lankford said “no doubt” the Trump administration’s new trade agreement would “overwhelmingly pass the Senate” if it can get through the House of Representatives.

“This is good for American farmers, it’s good for American workers. It does settle a lot of the trade issues that have been in dispute now for years,” he told Fox Business.

Lankford said the biggest obstacle appears to be division within the Democratic caucus controlling the House.

“My belief is that (Speaker) Nancy Pelosi ... wants a majority of her (caucus) to be able to vote for it. So they’re having these discussions to see whose questions can be answered, who will come on board.”

Red Ink: Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin, who has generally been a staunch defender of President Donald Trump, is apparently less supportive of the budget-making process.

Mullin told constituents in an email that the budget bill Trump is expected to sign this week adds too much to the nation’s growing debt.

“(The bill) is estimated to increase the debt by $2 trillion over the next 10 years,” Mullin said. “In President Trump’s first four years in office, our national debt will have increased more than in President Obama’s last six years in office.

“We need to get on a sustainable path forward by making reforms to our mandatory spending, holding the line on discretionary spending, and managing the interest building on the debt,” Mullin said.

Attacking Baltimore: On Facebook, Mullin followed Trump’s lead by attacking Baltimore, home to House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings. Mullin blamed Pelosi’s family for “ruining lives” in Baltimore for decades, and highlighted the city’s notoriously high murder rate. Pelosi’s father was mayor of the city in the 1940s and ‘50s, and her brother was mayor for one term in the 1960s.

On the other hand, Baltimore’s median household income is 65% higher than in Mullin’s congressional district, and the median household income for Cummings’ district, which Trump called a “rat and rodent infested mess,” is twice that of Mullin’s.

Dots and dashes: Congress is recessed until September 9. ... Mullin praised passage of a short-term extension for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which many people depend on for opioid and other addiction treatment. ... Inhofe and Lankford were among the sponsors of legislation to ban embryonic stem cell research. ... Mullin told Fox News that Democrats have been talking about impeaching Trump because they have nothing else to run on. ... Lankford was Republican sponsor of a resolution declaring September National Childhood Awareness Month.

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-- Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World

Randy has been with the Tulsa World since 1979. He is a native of Hinton, Okla., and graduate of Oklahoma State University. Krehbiel primarily covers government and politics. Phone: 918-581-8365

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