Members Of Oklahoma’s Congressional Delegation Return To D.C. To Address Federal Issues

During one of the busier weeks so far this year in the nation’s capital, members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation still made time to meet with local constituents who flew in for their annual trip to the Hill, including one group from Green Country.

Thursday, May 11th 2023, 5:35 pm



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During one of the busier weeks so far this year in the nation’s capital, members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation still made time to meet with local constituents who flew in for their annual trip to the Hill, including one group from Green Country.

Chambers of commerce from across Oklahoma make annual treks to the District of Columbia and to the Capitol. The COVID-19 pandemic derailed those trips for a couple of years, but this year they're all back, and this week it was the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce’s turn.

A key part of any chamber fly-in is hearing from the individual members of delegation, as the Tulsa Chamber did Thursday, starting with Senator James Lankford (R-OK).

"The end of Title 42 is a very predictable crisis," Sen. Lankford told the group over lunch on the 9th floor of the Hart Senate Office Building.

The Biden administration's handling of the Southern border is a top issue for Lankford -- in fact, he held a news conference on it Thursday morning. 

But among the federal issues Lankford and other members addressed with the Chamber, none has a potentially greater impact on these Oklahoma business leaders than the debt ceiling and avoiding a default.

"We’ve got to solve this, we’ve solved it for decades," Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber in an interview, said. "We’ve got to continue to solve that so that we can do business and we can do business internationally."

Neal said they're thrilled to be back in D.C. in-person, even if it is a busy time for the delegation, and even if some members have to get their chief of staff to fill in for them at the last minute, as Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK2) had to do today.

"The inability to be at that meeting today is because we’re trying to make sure the American people know the truth," Rep. Brecheen explained in an interview. 

Brecheen was tied up in a Budget Committee hearing, at which he made the point that federal spending in the U.S. has increased, he said, 30 percent since 2017.

Chamber officials, of course, understand that the members' congressional responsibilities come first. 

They said, the bottom line is, this interaction with the delegation -- on their turf -- helps keep what he says is great economic development momentum in the state's northeast region going.

"I think we’re doing a good job locally of getting the cities and the counties in the region, and the state and the tribes working together," Neal said, "we just need to make sure that the federal government is equally supportive in helping advance this ball."

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