Pressure may be building for Oklahoma's congressional delegation to resolve the standoff on border wall funding that has closed much of the federal government.
Last week, the state's four Republican House members voted, in essence, to continue not paying thousands of their constituents who are also federal employees.
The delegation's lone Democrat, Kendra Horn of the 5th District, went against President Donald Trump and border security.
That, in a nutshell, is how opponents will couch the five House members' votes on a series of Democrat bills to reopen government without giving Trump roughly $4 billion more for the wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico.
The Republicans all voted against the bills. Horn voted for them.
“I stand by President Trump in the belief that the wall must be built ASAP,” new 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern told constituents in a fundraising email.
Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin, perhaps Trump's most vocal ally in the Oklahoma delegation, said he won't shave until the border funding is secured.
Horn, by contrast, used her first floor speech to urge passage of a bill that would reopen the Monroney FAA Center, which is in her district and one of the state's largest single-site employers.
Appearing on MSNBC on Thursday morning, the 4th District's Tom Cole struck a diplomatic tone. He said declaring a national emergency, as Trump has threatened, “is not the best use of presidential power, in my opinion,” and said the way to solve the standoff is to expand the scope of negotiations.
“Make it about multiple issues,” he said. “Make it big enough so everybody can point to something” as a victory.
Cole, who like Horn represents a relatively large number of federal employees, suggested offering Democrats a deal on DACA — undocumented residents brought to the country years ago as children — in exchange for a deal on border security.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe told The Hill that declaring an emergency might be the only way to resolve the situation but added, “I don't want that to happen by the way.”
U.S. Sen. James Lankford, speaking on the Senate floor the same day, said reopening the federal government without resolving the border security issue means additional border security won't happen.
But he also said the idea of a “wall” is not realistic.
“Let's resolve what all the American people know need to be resolved — basic, functional, real, commonsense security,” he said. “Not putting up a big wall across the whole border. No one wants to see a 2,000-mile-long wall. It's not even needed, but in areas where there is a city on both sides of the border, and literally you cross the border within seconds unless there is a barrier there, it makes sense to have a barrier in those locations. It makes sense to put technology in other areas to be able to monitor folks that are illegally crossing the border in other areas.”
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe expressed confidence in the Trump administration after a closed-door meeting with Pentagon officials over the withdrawal of American forces from Syria.
“You guys always jump on (Trump's) style,” Inhofe said, according to Defense News, “but (Trump) also realizes he's not going to do something that we're not ready to do, that we're not equipped to do. I believe that will happen, and I got that assurance, including in this meeting.”
Trump surprised just about everyone Dec. 19 when he announced in a tweet that the U.S. would be pulling out of Syria. He has since modified that position, and Inhofe said the Pentagon officials convinced him America's Israeli and Kurdish allies “will be well taken care of in this.”
Others in the meeting, including Republicans Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota sounded more skeptical, the news site reported.
Syria: Dots and dashes:
Inhofe signed onto a “Constitutional carry reciprocity” bill that would allow concealed carry permits from one state to be recognized by other concealed carry states. Among the objections raised by opponents is that the bill sets no minimum standards for such permits . ... Darrell “D.J.” Jordan, formerly Lankford's communications director, is a candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates.