U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, applauded President Trump for signing the appropriations bills that will fund the Department of Defense, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education.
"For the first time in 10 years, we have fully funded our military before the start of the fiscal year," Inhofe said. "With this legislation, we'll be able to fund the priorities in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act and ensure that the men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform have the training, resources and equipment they need to complete their mission. Unlike any other time in our nation's history, we are facing diverse and wide-ranging threats. It has never been more important to ensure our military has the stable, reliable, adequate and on time funding they deserve.
"We did it right this year--but this should be the rule, not the exception. The two year budget agreement that broke parity between defense and non-defense spending and increased defense funding will end next year and, without action, we will face a return to the harmful cuts of sequestration. The work starts today to repeal sequestration once and for all."
Leaders in Oklahoma's defense communities praised the enactment of the legislation and Sen. Inhofe's leadership.
"Tinker Air Force base is an integral part of the Oklahoma City community and a vibrant part of our economy," Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce said. "I applaud Sen. Inhofe for his leadership, ensuring that the base is funded on time so they can continue their work as the home of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex and maintenance operations for the KC-135, E-3, B-52, B-1 and C-130."
"As the Chairman of the Altus Military Affairs Committee, I am grateful for Senator Jim Inhofe's tremendous support and leadership to our nation's military by fighting for stable, sufficient funding. Today, he more than delivered," Dr. Joe Leverett, Altus Military Affairs Committee said. "By fully funding our national defense, Sen. Inhofe has been proven once again as a champion for readiness, enhanced military capabilities and the National Defense Strategy. Because of Sen. Inhofe, Altus will receive the equipment and infrastructure to support its vital missions with the KC-46, KC-135 and C-17."
"I applaud Sen. Inhofe's work to ensure that the Department of Defense received timely and sufficient funding for the first time in 10 years. This bill allows for increased defense spending to improve readiness and fully funds needed investments in military maintenance, training and operations that were authorized in this year's NDAA," Mike Cooper, chairman of the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, said.
"I've seen the negative impact that sequestration, continuing resolutions and budget uncertainty have had on the Army," Bill Burgess, Oklahoma Civilian Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, said. "Sen. Inhofe lead the charge to get an adequate and on time appropriation and authorization done. Now, we're on track to continue to ensure the men and women of Fort Sill can continue to lead the Army in their modernization efforts."
Inhofe also secured a provision in the legislation that will provide $25 million to support graduate medical education programs, like those at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
"Oklahoma's medical schools are the backbone to providing high-quality care for our state's Medicaid recipients. By providing additional funding for graduate medical education programs, like those in Oklahoma, we can support our medical schools and the continuation of care for our Medicaid population."
Chairman Inhofe worked extensively to ensure that the appropriations bill fully funded specific defense priorities for Oklahoma, including:
Funds the KC-46 refueling tankers that will be delivered to Altus Air Force Base and maintained at Tinker Air Force Base,
Increased funding for the Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) to support Fort Sill's modernization of long-range precision fires,
Funding for the B-52 and B-51 programs that are maintained at Tinker Air Force Base.