Whatzup Politics (1339)
WASHINGTON—Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02), member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, moderated a panel today on the importance of American energy independence and its direct correlation to our national security. The discussion focused on how our nation’s adversaries use energy access as a threat, and how American exports will pave the way to global stabilization. “American Energy Independence Brings Global Stabilization,” was hosted by the Oklahoma Petroleum Alliance and the American Petroleum Institute.
Panelists included Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-05), Congressman Trent Kelly (MS-01), Dean Foreman, Chief Economist of API, Blu Hulsey, VP of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs of Continental Resources, Matt Barr, VP of State and Local Government and Community Affairs of Cheniere Energy, Anthony Livanios, CEO of US Energy Stream, and Luke Essman, President and CEO of Canyon Creek Energy.
“The purpose of this meeting is to highlight the strategic risks we have when the United States is not a net exporter,” Congressman Mullin said in his opening remarks. “As I like to say, U.S. energy independence brings on global stabilization. We are able to set markets, we are able to participate in other countries who want to do business with the U.S. when we are energy independent.”
Following opening remarks, each panelist assessed and unpacked the implications of American dependence on foreign adversaries like Iran, the current roadblocks our producers are facing from this administration, and how energy independence is one of the most important solutions in strengthening our nation against threats from any foreign adversary. The panelists also discussed Europe’s reliance on Russian gas imports and the lessons we can learn from Europe’s resulting vulnerabilities following their rush to green.
“You can look at what’s happened in Europe over the past couple of years,” Congresswoman Bice told the panel. “It is a prime case of what not to do. They are very reliant on other countries and adversaries, including Russia, and the results are devastating.”
When discussing what led to the loss of U.S. energy independence, panelists noted Biden’s Executive Order to halt the sale of oil and gas leases on federal lands and the increased regulation that has made it near impossible for our producers to complete energy infrastructure and safely transport product.
“How do you know what the rules of the game are when they are changing on a regular basis?” Luke Essman, President and CEO of Canyon Creek Energy asked. “One day you have a set of plans, the next day the rule changes and we are required to change with them,” he continued.
Joe Biden and his Democrat party’s assault on domestic production is all part of their Green New Deal agenda to eliminate fossil fuels completely in the name of “clean energy.” Our domestic producers are incredibly innovative, however, and did not need burdensome regulation from the Washington bureaucracy to become the world leader in lowering carbon emissions. For example, for every ton of emissions reduced by the U.S., China increases their emissions four times over.
“Our industry has taken a tremendous amount of advancement in clean energy because it is the right thing to do,” Blu Hulsey, VP of Government Affairs for Continental Resources told the panel.
Other industry leaders agreed, citing the need to capture every bit of the resources they are producing as not to waste product.
“It’s not a choice between climate and fossil fuels,” Congressman Kelly reminded the audience. “It’s not binary.”
There was no question to America’s ability to provide reliable and secure energy to power our nation or the threats our country could face should we not get there.
This panel was held in conjunction with the House Intelligence Committee’s “Beyond the SCIF” Series. Beyond the SCIF is an effort by Ranking Member Mike Turner and the House Intelligence Committee Republicans to connect with experts and leaders in the national security field to create an open dialogue on threats facing our nation and what committee members can do to counter the malign actions of our adversaries.
A full recording of this panel can be foundhere.
Agriculture is a part of who we are in Oklahoma. Our farmers and ranchers provide everything from food to fuel and fabric for our communities and employ over 300,000 Oklahomans along the way. Generations of families have dedicated their livelihoods to our land, and we could not be more grateful for it. Recent reports of China acquiring U.S. farmland and agriculture companies is not only a threat to this industry but also to the security of our nation.
Just like our energy sector, America cannot give ownership of our food supply to those who do not share our national security interests. We must stand up to our adversaries like China who will undercut our standing in the industry or exploit the geopolitical weakness of the Biden Administration. Our country is experiencing the challenges of a fractured supply chain, and we have learned the danger of overdependence on our adversaries for goods and resources.
China owns over 352,140 acres of agricultural land in the United States. I have joined my Republican colleagues on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as a cosponsor of the Promoting Agricultural Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act. This legislation will prevent countries like China, Russia, and Iran from purchasing U.S. agriculture companies, and ensure the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is involved in reviewing any foreign purchase of American companies that may affect our agriculture sector.
A Chinese owned company recently purchased farmland near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, home to some of America’s most sensitive military drone technology. From my position on the Intel Committee, this is extremely unsettling.
Foreign investments in the U.S. are generally regulated by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). This committee is comprised of officials from across the U.S. government, however the Committee does not include a member from the USDA. The PASS Act will expand the committee to include the Secretary of Agriculture as a standing member. Doing so will ensure that American agriculture has a seat at the table when the Committee is making decisions involving our national security.
Further, I have cosponsored the Agricultural Security Risk Review Act introduced by Congressman Frank Lucas from Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District. Like the PASS Act, this legislation would formally place the Secretary of Agriculture as a member of the CFIUS.
In Oklahoma, we are blessed with the God-given resources to provide food security to our nation. We cannot allow our foremost military adversaries, like China, use our land and resources for their best interests.
Voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, August 23 to decide a number of issues. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
LeFlore County Election Board Secretary, Sharon Steele, recommends that voters with questions about their eligibility of polling place call before Election Day.
"We provide a number of additional services to voters on Election Day, so it can get very busy. If you have any questions, we strongly suggest you call or come by the week before Election Day if possible. If you find that you do have a question on Election Day, however, don't hestitate to call."
Steele says the State Election Board's OK Voter Portal is the easiest way for voters to verify their registration or locate their polling place. The OK Voter Portal can be found at oklahoma.gov/elections/ovp.
The LeFlore County Election Board reminds voters to bring a current federal or Oklahoma state-issued photo ID, or federally-recognized tribal ID to their polling place. An official Voter Identification Card can also be used as proof of identity. If you forget your ID, you may still cast a provisional ballot by signing an affidavit. Provisional ballots will be verified and counted after Election Day and before the election is certified.
For questions, please contact the County Election Board at 918-647-3701 or email@example.com. The County Election Board is located at 103 N. Church Street in Poteau. The office hours are 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday-Friday.
Late summer, early fall seems to be meeting time in the legislative world. Schools are back in full force, and activity has really picked up. The good news is that there may be some funding available to restore some medical facilities in rural areas. I have met with health care officials as well as Latimer County commissioners about the possibility of getting some type of emergency facility open in Wilburton. This has been a goal of mine since being elected four years ago. Hopefully some progress is being made in this area.
I also have attended one of Farm Bureau’s area meetings, meeting with boards of directors from numerous counties in southeast Oklahoma listening to what is important to them in the world of agriculture. I believe one of the most important things on everyone’s mine is the effects of our current drought. We are faced with no grass in our pastures along with limited availability of hay. I worry about the long-term effect on our beef supply when this current crisis is over.
We did get some information last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) that they are now accepting applications for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. This will provide assistance to eligible livestock producers for 2022 who have experienced grazing losses due to a qualifying drought or wildfire.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 30, 2023.
To date, 64 Oklahoma counties, including Latimer and Pittsburg, have met the drought severity levels that trigger this eligibility.
Also available through the USDA is emergency assistance for livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish program. This assistance covers above-normal costs associated with hauling water to livestock and transporting feed to livestock or transporting livestock to forage or other grazing acres. Non-insured crop disaster assistance also is available.
FSA also offers farm and emergency loans to those who may be unable to secure commercial financing.
More information about this assistance can be found online at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/disaster-assistance-program/livestock-forage/index; additional information about FSA can be found at https://www.fsa.usda.gov/index.
Jim Grego serves District 17 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Latimer County and parts of LeFlore and Pittsburg counties.
WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released the following statement after voting no on the Senate Amendment to H.R. 5376, the Democrats’ Inflation Expansion Act.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” Mullin said. “House Democrats have passed another tax and spend spree that will drive our nation further into a recession and make American energy less affordable, less reliable, and less secure. The provisions in this bill total $599 billion worth of tax increases, including billions on small business owners, seniors, energy producers, and middle-class Americans. This is a dangerous bill for Oklahoma and it’s a dangerous bill for our country.”
The over $700 billion package includes:
- Over $400 billion in Green New Deal provisions, increasing America’s reliance on China.
- Socialist drug pricing controls, limiting the number of live-saving drugs on the market.
- $80 billion to the IRS, hiring 87,000 agents to spy on Americans.
- $54 billion increase to the national debt.
- $17 billion worth of tax increases on Americans making less than $200K.
- $53 billion tax on small businesses.
- $6.5 billion natural gas tax, raising energy costs for working class Americans by 17 percent.
Education is the most valuable tool that we can give the next generation. As Oklahoma families prepare to and send their kids off to school, I want to recognize our teachers and what they do for all of us, especially our rural communities (a near and dear place to my heart).
As a father of six kids who attend public school in Oklahoma, I have witnessed the dedication of Oklahoma’s teachers firsthand. I am constantly amazed by the innovative and creative ways teachers engage their minds and prepare students for the future.
Teachers do more than just educate our kids with reading, writing, and arithmetic. They teach them valuable life lessons that they will carry with them for decades. Especially in rural towns like the one my wife Christie and I grew up in, and where we have raised our family, teachers and their families become part of our own lives. They are a support system and voice of encouragement, inspiring students to work hard and chase their dreams both in and outside of the classroom. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the teachers who pushed me to do better.
Every school year comes with new challenges. I could not be more grateful for the teachers in the Second District who have persevered through changing and thrived despite the adversity. Our children are lucky to have resilient role models to look up to.
As our kids begin to head back to school, be sure to thank a teacher in the community for all they do. The success of our children is the success of Oklahoma’s future for generations to come.
DC Democrats passed on a party-line vote a three-quarters-of-a-trillion-dollar bill with new taxes on businesses and families and progressive Green New Deal promises. The 750+ page bill was finalized Saturday afternoon, and we voted on it all night Saturday evening into Sunday afternoon (more than 24 hours straight). I strongly opposed the bill. CLICK HERE to read more about my amendment on Title 42.Just like the reconciliation bill Democrats passed on a party-line vote last year that caused the nine percent inflation and wrecked our economy, this latest bill will drive up the cost of energy, reduce cancer drug innovation, and make our economy even worse. It includes provisions that will decrease health care access for seniors, levy punishing taxes on small businesses, place tremendous climate-change burdens on ag and energy producers, and increase taxes on Oklahomans. But it does give Elon Musk billions in new tax credits for his electric vehicles and gives union bosses billions of dollars in subsidies that only union members can get. In the name of “inflation reduction,” the bill will also greatly expand the audit capability of the IRS by hiring more auditors than employees at the Pentagon, the State Department, the FBI, and the Border Patrol…combined. If that sounds like you are likely to have an IRS audit soon, you’re probably right. In fact, for the next 10 yeas, anytime you get an IRS audit, you should remember the “Inflation Reduction” Act. During the debate, we voted more than 24 hours straight on countless amendments, including an amendment I offered regarding Title 42 authority for law enforcement at the southern border, which will keep in place the last policy still in place to turn around even 30 percent of the people illegally crossing the border. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Democrats rejected my amendment in support of opening up the southern border even more. I also brought an amendment to fix the huge tax increase in the bill on some of our independent oil and gas companies that will drive up our cost of fuel and reduce hiring at many of our companies. Once again, Democrats passed their tax increase.
CLICK HERE to read my full statement on Democrats’ tax and spending bill.
I'm reminding everyone to please do your research and please go vote this Aug 23. In Congressional District 2 we have a very spirited race going on between Josh Brecheen and Avery Frix. My belief is regardless of who wins CD 2, we will have good representation in D.C. We also have a race to determine one of our next U.S. Senators. Both of these are very critical races for the future of Oklahoma.
There are also several additional important positions on which to vote in this runoff, including state superintendent, state treasurer and state labor commissioner. Also on the runoff ballot in our House District are proposals for Savannah Public Schools and the mayor's race for the City of Krebs.
You can early vote on Aug. 18, 19 and 20 at the county election board, or the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day, Aug. 23.
Also, please keep in your thoughts and prayers State Rep. David Smith and his family. They suffered the loss of their home and possessions due to a fire. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but their home was a total loss. I will be praying for them as they start to rebuild. . Smith represents House District 18, which includes some of McAlester and areas to the west of our House district.
Not much going on at the Capitol right now. The governor held some ceremonial bill signings this week. The bills are already signed into law, but this gives lawmakers a chance to invite people who were instrumental in the drafting of the legislation to come and see the final product. Interim studies will start soon. I'll keep you advised of those that will be of interest.
Jim Grego serves District 17 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Latimer County and parts of LeFlore and Pittsburg counties.
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Congressional hopeful Josh Brecheen will hit the campaign trail with Montana Republican and Congressional Freedom Caucus member Matt Rosendale, Aug. 8-9.
BARTLESVILLE – A member of the House Freedom Caucus will tour Oklahoma’s Congressional District 2 with former State Senator and solid conservative Josh Brecheen. Caucus member Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., will hit the campaign trail with Brecheen, Aug. 8-9.
Rosendale joins a long and distinguished list of conservatives supporting Brecheen. The list includes Ted Cruz, Dr. James Dobson, Michelle Bachmann, Jim Bridenstine, David Barton and Stephen Moore, among others. Brecheen is excited at the prospect of joining the team that stands for solid American values.
“From the beginning of the campaign I’ve said one of my main goals is to be part of the Freedom Caucus. Matt’s willingness to join me in my campaign is an honor and valuable endorsement of my candidacy,” Brecheen said.
The pair will begin their tour at 4:30 p.m., Aug. 8, with a Meet and Greet with Josh Brecheen. The meeting will be at Crossing 2nd, 215 E. 2nd Street in Bartlesville. The event will be hosted by Washington County Chapter of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association (OK2A).
The tour continues the next day, Aug. 9 at 8 a.m. with Coffee with Josh Brecheen. The event will be held at The Scout House at Spaulding Park, 837 East Okmulgee in Muskogee. This meeting is hosted by Friends of Josh Brecheen.
The last stop of the tour begins at 5 p.m., Aug. 9 with a Meet and Greet with Josh Brecheen at Fairview Baptist Church, 1200 University Blvd., in Durant. The event will be hosted by Lighthouse America and Bryan County OK2A.
The Freedom Caucus, founded in 2015 as an outgrowth of the Tea Party, is committed to promoting conservative principles in the House of Representatives. Brecheen has vowed to become a member of the Caucus if he is elected. He served in the State Senate from 2010 to 2018. He left the Senate to keep his promise to “self-term limit”.
While in the state capitol he built one of the most conservative voting records in the Senate. He authored legislation to cap state debt, ban dismemberment abortions and to truly repeal/replace the Common Core Educational standards.
Brecheen began his political education in 2004 as field representative for the late U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. He was part of Coburn’s mission to ferret out and expose waste, fraud and abuse in federal programs.
Brecheen is a committed Christian, husband, father and fourth-generation rancher. Since 2018 he has owned and operated an excavation/trucking business, Rawhide Dirtworks L.L.C. Brecheen is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he majored in Agriculture. He also served as state president of the Oklahoma FFA Association in 1998.
This week, I want to provide an update on the adolescent crisis unit in McAlester that I've been working on with a state agency for some time.
The Oklahoma Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has a rule that went into effect in 2017 which has unfortunately been restricting what we can do in the state to address mental health. This rule stipulates that there can only be one crisis unit in each region of Oklahoma. After learning this, I checked and discovered that our area in southeast Oklahoma did not have even one adolescent crisis unit.
Crisis units are extremely valuable in addressing immediate mental health concerns and are designed for adolescents who are at risk to hurt themselves or others. After this adolescent is identified, they can be transported to the unit to be assessed.
If the assessment shows that they can manage with outpatient care, then they are assigned a therapist to work with them and their family. If the assessment shows they need more intensive care, they can be placed in a mental health bed within the unit for seven days for further assessment. After these seven days, if they're not better, they can be assigned to an adolescent psychiatric hospital.
After learning of the dire need for a crisis unit in southeastern Oklahoma, I filed HB1637 in 2021, which created conversation with Commissioner of Mental Health Carrie Slatton-Hodges. She agreed to work with me to establish an adolescent crisis unit for southeast Oklahoma within the next year, and this just opened in January of 2022! Carl Albert Community Mental Health, located in McAlester, is expected to be completely finished by the end of August.
Commissioner Slatton-Hodges also agreed to assess Poteau and Hugo for additional adolescent crisis units within the next two years. If the need is there, we may open other units in both of those towns. Additionally, McAlester Regional Hospital is currently gathering cost estimates on dedicating a wing of their hospital for adolescents in crisis.
By filing HB1637, I was able to start a conversation and ultimately address this immediate need without passing a new law, bringing a solution more quickly. If we can continue with this current discussion, we may have crisis adolescent centers in McAlester, Poteau, and Hugo, and establish the psychiatric hospital in McAlester. This would provide a range of services that we need! We have previously not had these kind of services in our area ever, with the closest being hours away in Tulsa.
Improving our mental health outcomes in southeastern Oklahoma is a huge goal of mine as your state representative for House District 15. This is one issue I will continue working on for the upcoming legislative session. In future columns, I'll discuss other issues I'm working on as well, including foster care and teacher retirement.
As always, please continue reaching out to me about your concerns at 405-557-7375 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for the privilege of representing you at the State Capitol!
Rep. Randy Randleman, a Republican, serves District 15 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Haskell County and portions of Muskogee, Sequoyah, LeFlore, Pittsburg and McIntosh counties.