NewsLocal News


Sen. James Lankford discusses COVID-19, debt ceiling, and more

Posted at 8:26 AM, Oct 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-15 19:40:46-04

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma Senator James Lankford joined 2 News Oklahoma live in studio to discuss a range of topics, including COVID-19, the nation's debt ceiling, and more.

Lankford says when it comes to the nation's debt ceiling, there are two issues at play.

"We're the only country in the world that has a debt ceiling," mentions Lankford. "Other countries don't do it this way."

He continues that the issue with voting about the debt ceiling is the last few past votes haven't created any discussion about reducing the debt itself. He is pushing for Congress to debate about the issue.

"We have $29 trillion in total debt. To tell you how big that is now fastest growing when Ronald Reagan was President, our nation had $1 trillion in total debt," Lankford explains. "Now it's accelerated, although $29 trillion just in that short time period. So we are rapidly growing in debt."

Lankford says Congress should have real conversations on why the debt keeps growing. One of those conversations he believes should center around not having government shutdowns. He compares the situation that students "stay after school to get their work done," so Congress shouldn't quit their session before they get their work done.

"My focus is let's actually put the pressure where the pressure should be on members of Congress, not on the American people to be able to solve how that's going to happen."

While on the topic of money, Lankford addressed the labor shortage and how it's important for people to get back to work. He said with the vaccines now widely available, people have access to options to get a job.

"I encourage people to get vaccines," Lankford clarifies. "But allowing people to be able to get back to work and to be able to get going is a good thing to do."

He says that there are five million people who are choosing not to work that did have employment two years ago. He mentions that is what's breaking down the supply chain and causing shortages.

Lankford says that in order for the economy and supply chain to bounce back, people have to get back to work. One of the ways is to incentivize work so people can engage to talk and apply for jobs.

This applies to oil and gas, one of Oklahoma's largest industries. In a $3.5 trillion spending bill, there would be a planned methane fee that Lankford believes would destroy the state's economy.

"This would drive up the cost of electricity and energy for everyone across the country, certainly across our region," says Lankford. "They're trying to be able to target other taxes as well, to say, normal business as a restaurant, a store get tax benefits on this."

He continues to mention how the methane fee would add an additional set of regulations. This would cause more raising prices after people have already been facing rising inflation all year. Lankford said the U.S. is facing the highest inflation it has seen since 1982.

Besides fighting the $3.5 trillion spending bill, Lankford has also been vocal about a vaccine mandate. He's introduced the Stop Vaccine Mandates Act, which is repealing the president's executive order on those vaccine mandates to federal workers and employees, and contractors. He says Americans deserve a choice and he and his family made that choice to get vaccinated.

"I took the vaccine because I obviously interact with a lot of people," Lankford mentions. "I think everyone else should get a choice as well."

Personal choice is big when choosing whether someone gets vaccinated. Lankford says you can't ignore those who don't want to get a vaccine or those who simply can't get one due to being immunocompromised, like cancer patients.

"Let's not lay mandates down on people. Let's continue to encourage. But these mandates are really causing a lot of problems. It is the number one question I've had from people the last couple of weeks when they want to talk to me about an issue."

That's why he opposes service members who will get dishonorably discharged if they don't get a COVID-19 vaccine. Lankford has already introduced legislation to stop such actions.

Trending Stories:

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --