News from Representative James Lankford

James Lankford e-newsletter banner
Navigation bar
spaceSocial icons

To my neighbors in central Oklahoma,

As you may have heard, the House will return to session this Sunday, December 30th,  to respond to any potential Senate action on bills the House passed in May and August of 2012 to avoid the tax increases and across-the-board cuts of the “fiscal cliff.”  

The entire negotiation process has illustrated how divided our nation remains over our debt.  When the fiscal cliff negotiations end, our financial conflict will continue until we get our budget back into balance.  

For the last four years, our nation has added more than $1 trillion in new debt each year.  Unless we get our spending back in line, we will increase our national debt more in eight years than we did for the previous 230 years combined.  This must be resolved, but the solution must address the real issues we face: our unsustainable federal spending and accelerating debt.  

The House acted last spring to complete its work addressing the fiscal cliff in order to avert the exact situation we find ourselves in today.  While people focus on House activity, many people do not realize that the Senate has been unable to develop any alternative to cut spending and fix the expiring tax rates.  Under Art. I § 7 of the Constitution, “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”  The Senate must respond to House-passed legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Expiring tax cuts and sequestration are only two of the items that need to be addressed before the end of the year.  We must also resolve the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), otherwise known as the “Doc Fix,” to ensure physicians receive proper payment for their services through Medicare.  Without legislation Medicare providers will see a 27% cut to their reimbursement rates, making it even harder for physicians to treat Medicare patients.  

We also need to address the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), a tax mechanism originally intended to ensure upper-income earners pay their "fair share" of taxes. But without action the AMT will impact Americans making as little as $40,000 a year.  

Additionally, we need to address expiring provisions of the Farm Bill that will affect the cost of basic commodities.  Congress also needs to pass Hurricane Sandy relief.  The Senate passed a bill that far exceeds disaster relief for New York and New Jersey residents. It sends millions to unaffected areas and more than half of the $60 billion focuses on unnamed future storm mitigation, which is clearly not emergency funding.  I am committed to protecting taxpayers from tax increases used to pay for careless spending.

Clearly, the final days of the Lame Duck session will deal with many substantive issues.  The situation with fiscal cliff negotiations remain fluid as Speaker Boehner, President Obama, and Senate leaders continue to meet. 

Please contact my office at (405) 234-9900 or (202) 225-2132 with any questions or for up-to-the-minute information.  In the coming days, I will communicate any new developments in the discussion about these important topics that potentially impact every American taxpayer. 


Notice: If you wish to stop ALL electronic communications from my office, visit this link to opt out permanently from this list. If you have any questions about this Notice or your right to decline future electronic mail from this office, please contact us at United States House of Representatives, 509 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515