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Oklahoma Delegation Splits On Budget Agreement

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) speaking on the House floor in support of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 - December 12, 2013.

Three members of Oklahoma’s House delegation voted for a budget bill backed by both President Obama, his Democratic allies and a big majority of the chamber's Republicans.

The 332-94 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where Republicans are more skeptical. But the Democratic-led chamber appears sure to adopt the measure next week and send it to Obama for his signature.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4) says House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) managed to find a budget compromise that will restore regular order.

“Since 2009, the federal government has depended on short-term agreements, rather than passing a long-term budget plan," Cole said in a statement. "While this bill doesn’t address everything, it is a starting point that represents true compromise and sets the stage for future reform."

The measure would ease $63 billion in scheduled spending cuts and replace them with longer-term savings measures.

“This bill is not a ‘grand bargain’ to address all of Washington’s bad spending habits," U.S. Rep.JamesLankford (R-OK5) said in a statement. "However, the bill’s spending reductions and reforms take us another small step closer to fixing the harmful policies that led to trillion-dollar deficits and our $17 trillion in national debt."

Cole called it "extraordinary" that the measure added to deficit reduction over the ten-year window.

“Secondly, they did something we all know needs to be done: they dealt, a little bit, with mandatory spending and redistributed those savings over to the discretionary side of the budget,” Cole says. “It’s because they were able to do that that we’re probably going to be able to protect our military from what would have been really devastating cuts under sequester. That’s a pretty amazing achievement.”


Cole says the passage of the bill means the country will be spared the prospect of another government shutdown in January, or October 2014.

U.S. Reps. Markwayne Mullins and Jim Bridenstine voted against the proposal.


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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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