Lankford Applauds Streamlining & Funding Updates for Agriculture, Energy, & Transportation in Spending Bills
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) announced significant advancements for agriculture, energy and water, environmental, and transportation policies in the Fiscal Year 2021 funding bills released by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Lankford serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
"I am pleased with the progress we made in these bills to streamline federal summer feeding programs, update federal land use policies that affect Oklahomans, and increase funding to Air Traffic Control contract towers in our state, to name just a few," said Lankford. "I look forward to continuing to examine areas of federal inefficiency and red tape to ensure these important programs function appropriately for taxpayers and accomplish their goals to serve Oklahomans. I hope we can move these and other important provisions to a vote of the full Senate in the days ahead so we can address some of these policy areas affecting my state."
Under the Department of Agriculture's bill, Lankford worked to secure language that would:
Call for the streamlining of the application process under USDA's Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program. Streamlining would allow prospective providers to submit only one combined application for both programs rather than operating under the current system, which requires two separate but very similar annual applications
Direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide Congress with examples of how the FDA has worked on biosimilar insulin drug approval applications and their plans to ease the application process for these products to get more insulin products on the market quickly in order to decrease insulin prices.
Under the Energy and Water bill, Lankford worked to secure language that would:
Direct the Army Corps of Engineers to delegate lease renewals to the district level, rather than requiring routine lease renewals to go through the current multi-level bureaucratic review process
Reinforce that the Army Corps is expected to complete a required review of their asset inventory within four years, which will help determine whether there are assets that could be better managed by another governmental or non-governmental entity, and free-up Army Corps resources to focus on their core mission
Direct the Corps to determine whether additional easements along the Arkansas River are necessary to prevent/mitigate flooding in northeast Oklahoma
Increase funding to $14 million (a $5 million increase) for Planning Assistance to States, a program that supports critical water planning work like Oklahoma's Comprehensive Water Plan (OCWP).
Direct the Corps to examine alternative water management strategies at Keystone Lake that would reduce the impact of flood events in the region
Under the Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bill, Lankford worked to secure language that would:
Direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to issue a report on barriers to critical minerals development and actions the Department can take to help overcome those barriers
Direct DOE to examine whether a critical minerals stockpile is needed
Provide $63.5 million for the US Geological Survey's (USGS) Cooperative Matching Funds, which support hydrologic data collection and water resource assessments that serve the needs of all levels of government
For the Department of Transportation (DOT) bill, Lankford worked to secure language that would:
Direct DOT to perform a study on the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program to determine whether each state is meeting the 10 percent DBE-usage requirement in law, and provide data on what percentage of DOT funds go to DBEs in each state
Provide increased funding to $172.8 million (an increase of $2.8 million over last year's levels) for Air Traffic Control contract towers
Delay the Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) rule for agriculture haulers
In September, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution to fund the government at current levels through December 11, 2020. Last week, Lankford announced the major advancements made in the Appropriations bill for the defense and veterans communities in Oklahoma as well as in our nation's foreign policy earlier. He also announced significant progress made in the funding bills in his push to ensure incarcerated individuals in federal prisons cannot harm innocent people outside of prison by using contraband cellphones.