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Oklahoma House members support Republican budget

The five Oklahoma members of the U.S. House _ all Republicans _ voted for their party’s budget Wednesday evening as the blueprint for deficit reduction was approved 228 to 199.

The budget sets spending parameters for the fiscal year that begins in October. Though it sets goals for cutting Medicare and Medicaid spending, repealing the Affordable Care Act and reforming the tax code, the document approved Wednesday does none of those things.

Rather, it is a statement of Republicans’ priorities. The Senate, which is also controlled by Republicans, is still working on its own version of the budget. Once the two are reconciled, the two houses will start working on spending bills. The president does not have to sign the budget; it does not change law.

The real struggle with the budget was how to avoid deep cuts to the U.S. military under the 2011 agreement that included spending caps on defense and most other federal departments. Republicans have opted to give the military additional money by putting it into a war-fighting account that is not subject to the spending caps.

Rep. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, a U.S. Army veteran, said the budget would provide the military and veterans with necessary resources.

He said, “One of the most important aspects of the national budget is to make sure our military is fully funded and operational.

“This budget provides improved funding for our Armed Forces, and thus better reflects the commitment we should have to our men and women in uniform. ”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, a member of the House Budget Committee, said, "As it has in previous years, the House proposal actually achieves a balanced budget, unlike the president's budget that raises taxes and still never balances.

“By making the necessary yet difficult decisions today, the House plan again reaffirms our commitment to protecting American prosperity and opportunity for future generations.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest blasted the House budget and said President Barack Obama would not accept the GOP priorities.

“House Republicans voted in favor of locking in draconian sequestration cuts to investments in the middle class like education, job training and manufacturing,” Earnest said.

“House Republicans also failed to responsibly fund our national security, opting instead for budget gimmicks.

“The President has been clear that he will not accept a budget that locks in sequestration or one that increases funding for our national security without providing matching increases in funding for our economic security. The Administration will continue to abide by these principles moving forward. ”


Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›