Every American knows that our nation is deeply in debt. We currently owe over $26 trillion dollars and our future liabilities exceed $71 trillion.
To be clear, the debt problem is a spending problem, not a tax problem. Tax receipts are the highest ever. But, the federal government wastes billions of hardworking taxpayer dollars in unnecessary programs, indiscriminate foreign aid and horrible financial management.
There is no quick fix, but there must be a plan to get our nation back to balance. High debt slows down the current economy and it will hurt the economic future of the nation. Our grandparents would have NEVER said, “Times are tough, I think I will make life tougher for my children and grandchildren so it will be easier on me.”
Solving the budget crisis is not simple, but it is achievable with a long term goal and a commitment to eliminate the wasteful spending and government red tape that slows down our economy. James is committed to developing solutions that will move us step by step back into balance.
Our tax code and our tax rate have created an incredible burden on families and businesses. The tax code has also become a vehicle for taking money from one group and giving it to another in the name of “job creation.” That is not job creation; that is redistribution of wealth. A tax code that is more than 70,000 pages long (nine times longer than the Bible) is not about revenue, it is about special interests and hidden exemptions. With so many exceptions, exemptions and updates, no American has any confidence that their tax return is completely correct. It is time to simplify and flatten the code.
Our problem is not tax rates, it is wasteful spending. We should not increase tax rates, we should eliminate the wasteful spending in government. We should also create more taxpayers, not more taxes. Millions of people pay no tax because they live in poverty. Our nation should promote economic growth so more people can move out of poverty and into work. Contrary to the populist belief, it is not wrong to make a profit and take care of your family. In fact, our code should respect, not punish, people who work hard, play by the rules and make a good living.
We also should not tax people when they die and take money from their family. That is immoral. We must eliminate the death tax.
Our nation’s corporate tax rates are some of the highest in the world. We charge our country’s wealth builders and employers significant tax penalties, more than any other nation on earth, to bring their profits back to the U.S. from overseas. The unfortunate result of these liberal policies is that over $1 trillion dollars in profits is now locked out of the U.S. market and American businesses are left open to takeovers by foreign firms. This is anti-American.
To fix these issues, in 2017, James worked with his colleagues in Congress and President Trump to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The comprehensive tax reform was a win for the middle class by lowering all middle income tax brackets and doubling the standard deduction. Small businesses received needed relief with a lowered tax rate and maintenance of certain exemptions. James fought for Oklahomans to ensure that they’re able to keep more of their hard-earned money without the burden of an increased tax bill. He will continue to work however long it takes to bring fairness, balance, equity and freedom to our economy because the current cost to doing business is much too high and currently destructive to our economy.
America did not become great by redistribution of wealth, America became great because there was an equal opportunity for any person to work hard and be a success. It is time to return to that belief.
“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Before we were even a nation, Americans owned and carried guns. It is not only a distinct part of our history, it is also a Constitutional right. There is no threat from law abiding citizens who own guns for hunting, sport shooting, protection or just collecting.
The rights of citizens to buy, sell and trade their guns is no different than their right to buy sell and trade any other legal possession. Those who would work to take away that right must hear loud and clear that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
James will continue to fight to uphold the United States Constitution and our Second Amendment rights.
Every parent wants their child to have the best education and preparation for life possible regardless of their wealth, race or creed. James and Cindy Lankford believed as parents it was their responsibility to raise great and godly adults. The Lankfords are grateful for the many excellent teachers and administrators that entered their children’s lives preparing them for adulthood. As a son of a school teacher and librarian, James understands well the sacrifices made by so many educators.
God gives parents the primary responsibility to equip their child for life. Their choices in Oklahoma should not be limited based on the preferences of a Washington D.C. bureaucrat over a thousand miles away. Parents and guardians want the best for their children, so it is right to allow them to choose the option that works best for their child as no child is the same nor does any child learn the same. Parents and guardians should be afforded the right to choose the best option for their child whether that be home school, public school, private school or charter school.
The curriculum and standards in each public school should be determined by the local districts and the state of Oklahoma, not the federal government. Oklahoma should lead the nation in education. One of the three great ladders out of poverty for any child is a great education. But, the best people to make decisions about a child’s education and preparation for the local job market are the parents and the local education leadership.
Federal funding of education includes multiple silos of funding and hundreds of federal mandates for each silo. It is not the responsibility of the federal government to collect tax dollars from hard working Oklahomans then return those funds back to Oklahoma if we do education “their way.”
A nation that cannot provide its own food and its own fuel will always be at risk. While energy continues to develop, our farms and ranches remain the most productive and innovative in the world. The modern farm is integrated and directly affected by global trade agreements and commodity price swings. There is no substitute for the hard work and moral tenacity of America’s farmers. That tenacity has been shown further by farmers and ranchers who continue to work tirelessly during the COVID-19 health emergency to ensure our nation has a steady supply of goods.
It is essential to help negotiate trade agreements with markets around the world while protecting our farms and ranches from tariffs. As a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, James supported President Trump’s historic US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and worked to ensure parity in the agreement for Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers. Federal burdens like fuel tank storage restrictions, the endangered species act, grain storage inspections on family farms, interstate farm truck rules, dust particulate regulations and youth labor restrictions show an arrogance of power from Washington D.C. Federal officials who spend their life on concrete should not dictate to families who live their lives providing for others on the land.
The United States develops more coal, oil, and natural gas than anyone else in the world. America has enough energy to meet the needs of our country and be independent, but our current energy and environmental policy discourages energy exploration in the United States.
Oklahoma can teach the nation that energy development means good jobs and a bright future. Wind, geothermal, solar, and hydroelectric all show great promise for the distant future, but right now all of them combined can provide only a tiny fraction of our energy needs. We must explore, develop and transport all forms of American energy in a safe and efficient way for all Americans.
We do energy exploration cleaner and we do it better than anyone else in the world. Every energy job benefits our economy and our security; it is time to get America working again.
The founders of our nation believed that the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was given by God and that government exists to protect those rights for each individual citizen.
Every person is created in the image of God and should have an opportunity for life and success. As a community, we have a responsibility to stand up and speak out for those that cannot speak for themselves.
We can encourage a culture that respects marriage, life for children and opportunity for everyone. Our nation should build up families, encourage foster care and adoption, engage in poverty solutions and assure pro-life taxpayers that they will not be forced to pay for abortions.
James will continue to fight for the most basic human right, life.
Government does not exist to serve government, it exists to serve the people. Every government has waste, but the larger the government structure the more the waste. The only way to make significant change in government is to make it smaller and more accountable to the people. Liberals in Washington continue to clamor for more taxes, but why would anyone want to pay more taxes to a government that is already wasting billions of dollars.
For the past six years, James has served as subcommittee chairman on the government oversight committee to identify government corruption, waste, duplication and regulatory overreach. James has uncovered waste and duplication across the nation, and he has focused on the solutions to clean up the mess.
Every time Congress finds a problem, Congress creates another federal program to fight it. Most of the programs do not work and duplicate another dysfunctional program that already existed. Rather than just complain about it, James got to work. He authored the Taxpayer Right to Know Act to force federal programs to identify their real cost, staff structure and the metrics to evaluate each program. Programs that cannot even evaluate their effectiveness, cannot continue. There are thousands of government programs that rarely have true oversight, the first step is to require bureaucrats to account for their services and allow congress to make a decision on their efficacy.
Since 2013, due to a lapse in funding and lawmakers’ failure to come to an agreement, the federal government has experienced 4 shutdowns that cost the taxpayer nearly $4 billion. Congress’ failure to do the core aspects of their job shouldn’t drive our nation more into debt and cause lapse in essential services. To force Congress to do their job, James introduced the Prevent Government Shutdowns Act that keeps programs funded at existing levels and requires members of congress to stay in D.C. until a funding agreement is reached.
Social Security Disability is a nest of fraud and apathetic government oversight. James has held numerous hearings and investigations as well as meeting face to face with many in the Administration to stop the waste. Social Security Disability is designed to help the most vulnerable in our society. When people scam their way into the system, they literally take money away from the disabled and the hard working American taxpayer. We now have some progress in reforming the system and oversight has increased, but the program still has a long way to go. As a member of the Committee on Finance, James worked to encourage the Administration and Office of Inspector General to successfully expand anti-fraud efforts so the program effectively serves those most in need.
We all know the stories of absurd government studies and grants with little accountability and oversight. It is time for federal agencies to stop wasting the money of hardworking taxpayers. In 2019, James sponsored and passed the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act, which streamlines data transparency and reporting for federal grants. The legislation reduces the burden on grant recipients while giving congress greater oversight of billions of federal grant dollars.
Government waste must stop. Decisions that are made locally will be more efficient and more effective. So, let’s take the power out of Washington D.C. and give control back to families and states.
National security should be the federal government’s number one priority. We should deal with waste in all areas of government, including the military. But, the budget should not drive military strategy, strategy should drive the budget.
Strong and knowledgeable leaders are needed to stand against the harmful proposals of the Administration, because a weak United States Military is not an option. Our military men and women put their life on the line to ensure our personal freedom; it is vital that we show them that we are behind them.
Since taking office, President Trump has prioritized defense and ensured members of the military have the resources needed to fulfill their duties, including pay. James has consistently voted to support the President’s strategic efforts in the Senate, including the largest military pay raise in a decade.
Our nation still has tremendous problems plaguing VA hospitals and the administration. The extent of delays, cover-ups and failings by the VA is an ongoing disgrace. Veterans should have the freedom to choose their health provider. When our armed forces risk their lives in service, we should provide our gratitude and the best possible care for them.
James voted for the 2018 Mission Act to streamline veteran health care, introduced legislation for greater VA oversight and reforms to veterans’ benefits. James will continue to fight for our Military and provide first class support to our Veterans!
State Rights and Regulations
One of the greatest frustrations James has experienced in Congress is witnessing the raw power that federal agencies have acquired through waivers and red tape. Executive agencies have assumed regulatory authority, taking the place of state governments and centralizing control.
For years federal courts have afforded a great amount of deference to federal agencies. That deference has produced significant restrictions on our liberties and caused the federal power to become unbalanced. It is past time that Congress address this extraordinary deference and restore our freedom.
Many Americans have experienced the frustration of “someone from the federal government” walking in their front door to tell them how to run their business or their family farm. This is what death by a thousand paper cuts looks like in the real world.
The solution to over-regulation is to return oversight to the states. Government works best when it is local and accessible. The farther decisions are made from an individual, the more you are just a number, not a neighbor. As a nation, we want reasonable boundaries for fraud and discrimination. But, we can all agree that federal regulators moving into a neighborhood to tell our families that we cannot work together violates everything about our core American freedom and values. Continued uncertainty and central planning will stifle our economic development as a nation.
States rights and real reform is not just a slogan, it has been James’ mission. That is the only way to change the status quo. When you return governmental control to the state, you can solve the problem of federal overreach.