WASHINGTON––Members of the Oklahoma delegation responded to the start of an official impeachment inquiry against President Trump this week, as well as voted on a marijuana banking bill and the emergency declaration at the southern border.
Speaker of the House calls for official impeachment inquiry
An official impeachment inquiry against President Trump was announced by the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on Tuesday. However, some Republican members of the Oklahoma delegation expressed their discontent with the inquiry, calling it a partisan effort to take down the president.
“President Trump has been a successful and effective president, and our booming economy has proved that his policies work,” said Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK). “But the Democrats will to anything to halt his progress.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) released a statement, similarly saying Democratic leaders are attacking President Trump.
“Democrats have been conducting an impeachment investigation for months, and they’ve been investigating President Trump since he took office,” said Inhofe in a statement on Tuesday. “Today’s announcement by Speaker Pelosi, while an escalation of Democrat smear tactics, is nothing new.”
In a statement, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) called the impeachment inquiry a partisan tactic that prioritizes the Democratic caucus above the American people.
The call for an impeachment inquiry was announced following a whistleblower complaint alleging President Trump of persuading Ukraine to investigate former Vice President, and Democratic primary frontrunner, Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
A summary of the phone call between the two presidents was released on Wednesday.
Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) called for transparency prior to the release of the call summary and the whistleblower report.
Horn asked for bipartisan effort in disclosing the truth about the events that unfolded and whether government leaders were upholding the Constitution.
“It is my job as a member of Congress to ensure our democracy stays strong. That means pursuing the truth and protecting ourselves from foreign adversaries,” said Horn in a statement. “Our national security should never be partisan.”
Lucas similarly called upon the need for bipartisan effort regarding the topic, and asked that the whistleblower report be released.
“It is critical that the oversight of our nation’s intelligence community be handled in a secure and bipartisan fashion based on facts,” said Lucas.
The whistleblower report was released on Thursday, and the House Intelligence Committee held a hearing that same day regarding the report.
Senate votes to block Trump’s border emergency declaration
The impeachment inquiry was not the only hit President Trump took this week, as the Senate voted 54-41 to block the February national emergency declaration that would allocate money to the southern border wall.
While 11 Republican senators voted to block the declaration along with Democratic senators, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and Inhofe voted against blocking the emergency declaration. Five senators did not vote on the resolution.
“Over the past six months, we’ve seen how the emergency declaration and the President’s partnership with Mexico have had a positive impact and reduced border crossings, but the crisis isn’t over,” said Inhofe in a statement. “We need to build the wall and secure the border.”
The Senate voted to block this same emergency declaration back in February, with 12 Republican senators voting alongside Democrats. However, the House was previously unable to override the president’s veto.
House members split votes on marijuana banking bill
On Wednesday, House members from Oklahoma split their votes on the SAFE Banking Act, a bill that would allow cannabis-related businesses in states where maijuana has been legalized to work with federally-insured banks.
Horn, who spoke about her support for this bill during the Oklahoma State Chamber Fly-In earlier this month, voted to pass the act, alongside Cole and Hern. Both Lucas and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) voted against the bill.
“We are having people carry around large sums of cash, and that poses a threat,” said Horn at the fly-in. “That also means that we can track that money and make sure that the tax dollars are going where they should be going.”
There are 33 states that have laws legalizing some type of cannabis, either medically or recreationally.
The SAFE Banking Act passed in the House 321-103, and it will now move to the Senate for a vote.
Former Oklahoma police officer testifies at hearing regarding gun laws
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Wednesday regarding a possible ban on assault weapons, a topic that has been prominent following several deadly mass shootings in recent months.
Dianna Muller, an Oklahoma native who formerly served in the Tulsa Police Department, testified at the hearing, voicing her opposition of an assault-weapons ban.
“Please don’t legislate the 150 million people just like me into being criminals, because it has happened,” said Muller, referring to the federal ban on bump stocks that went into place in March. “I was a bump stock owner, and I had to make the decision: Do I become felon or do I comply?”
Muller continued by saying, if a ban on assault weapons were to go into place, she would not comply.
When asked about the need to own an AR-15, Muller compared guns to shoes, saying, just as you have different shoes for different occasions, each of her firearms serves a different purpose.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, gave an emotional speech during the hearing about the victims of mass shootings and the need for change.
“Every one of those who were killed at Stoneman Douglas will never be older than the age they were killed,” said Deutch. “I understand the importance of the second amendment, but how a witness can sit here and compare weapons to shoes is just beyond me.”
This was the first time Congress has held a hearing on assault-style weapons in 20 years.
Gaylord News is a reporting project of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.