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Talking with Ruby Hawkins, Demetra Bailey, and State Rep. Mike Shelton about the great food at B&B Catering

Touring the Wolverine Tubes facility in Shawnee

Participating in the ribbon-cutting at Maps for Kids project, Hayes Elementary School

Meeting with OK Homebuilders Association at the OK State Capitol

Exciting Things Happening in Northeast OKC
During the most recent district work period, I had the opportunity to visit with families, family businesses, and workers around the Fifth District. I was glad to spend an afternoon with State Representative Mike Shelton touring his district and visiting with business owners and workers in the area.  We stopped in at MetroTech’s Metro Career Academy, the Mary Mahoney Community Health Center, and B&B Catering. Ruby Hawkins (The Queen B) and Demetra Bailey (the Baby B) have taken a dream and made it into reality, catering events for individuals and organizations around and outside of Oklahoma. There is a continuously flourishing community in northeast Oklahoma City throughout central Oklahoma. 

Oversight Hearing on Foreign Assistance
This week in the House Oversight Committee, my colleagues and I questioned Inspectors General (IGs) from federal agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), about how Washington spends our foreign aid.  We have promoted energy efficient water pumps for farmers in Pakistan, built a road in the South Sudan that has caused multiple deaths, and constructed school buildings in Gaza that they were unable to operate.  In light of federal employee furloughs and budget cuts, I asked Mr. Michael G. Carroll, the Deputy Inspector General for USAID, why a number of federal foreign assistance programs lack the necessary oversight to ensure accountability and efficiency for taxpayer dollars. Mr. Carroll pointed out that in his view we actually spend more dollars than we have the ability to oversee.  My solution is to only spend what we can oversee, which means we need to significantly cut foreign aid until we can assure it is actually effective.

To watch the video of my questions to Deputy IG Carroll, click here.

House Budget Committee Questions OMB Director Zients
After a two-month delay, President Obama finally released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 on April 10, 2013.  Both the House and the Senate have already passed our budget proposals—the first time in four years both houses of Congress have passed a budget.  Though the President’s budget is very different than the House budget, I am grateful that the President actually submitted a budget at all.  Now, we can start looking for areas of common ground from the three budget documents.  It is an important first step. 

The President does not recommend that our nation ever balances our federal budget. He recommends “sustainable deficits” each year.  The President’s budget also proposes $1.1 trillion in new taxes on Americans even after a $600 billion tax increases during the fiscal cliff legislation earlier this year and around $1 trillion in new taxes from the President’s healthcare law.  The taxes recommended by the President include another cigarette tax, limiting retirement savings accounts, increasing the death tax, removing all normal business expensing from energy companies, and creating a new minimum tax on anyone making a million dollars a year.  This year, the United States is already on track to have the highest amount of tax revenue ever in the history of the nation. I cannot support adding even more taxes. 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to question Acting Director/Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget, Jeffrey Zients, about the President’s budget proposal during a House Budget Committee hearing. 

To watch my questions about energy initiatives to Mr. Zients, click here.

Wolverine Tubes 
Oklahoma has one of the friendliest business environments in the country. Companies like Wolverine Tubes are great examples of how manufacturing is alive and well in the Midwest. Wolverine manufactures the copper tubing used in the industrial and technology industries, and they do it right here in Shawnee.  When I recently visited and toured the facility, I had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with employees, including: workforce development, immigration reform, workers compensation, gas prices, energy policy, and jobs.

Ribbon-Cutting at Rutherford B. Hayes Elementary
Joined by our city’s beloved Thunder mascot, Rumble the Bison, I recently attended the ribbon-cutting at Oklahoma City’s Hayes Elementary, a $4.2 million MAPS for Kids renovation project. I joined OKCPS Superintendent Karl Springer, school board members, City Council Member Pete White, the City of OKC MAPS team, and the entire faculty and student population of Hayes Elementary for the grand reopening of Hayes. You won’t be surprised to know that Rumble really stole the show. He encouraged students to read, exercise, and work with their parents to establish healthy eating habits. This great new school is a prime example of how communities and states are better equipped to fulfill education needs for our citizens than Washington.

Oklahoma Homebuilders Legislative Day at the OK Capitol
I stopped in during the legislative day for the Oklahoma Homebuilders Association at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Our conversation focused on state legislative priorities for homebuilders, economic development, and ways to create jobs. I provided an update on what’s going on in Congress and the status of the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) standard for first-time homebuyers. The QRM standard will require a minimum 20% down payment on home purchases, which will inhibit many first-time home buyers and middle-class families.

***District Spotlight***
Before my recent Tuesday Talk community forum at the Downtown Edmond Community Center auditorium, I had the honor of presenting certificates of achievement for earning the rank of Eagle Scout to William Tyler Caldwell and Blake Crowley of Troop 168 in Edmond.  Troop 168 Scouts also posted the colors and led the Tuesday Talk participants in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America and an achievement that only two percent of all Boy Scouts obtain.  “Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle.”  Congratulations, Tyler and Blake!


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