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Lankford And Inhofe Slam COVID Relief Bill Narrowly Passed By Senate Democrats

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Sen. Jim Inhofe
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From left: Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) in an undated photo posted by Inhofe's Twitter account on March 4, 2021.

In separate statements over the weekend, Oklahoma's two Republican senators slammed the Saturday Senate passage of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief bill. 

"Instead of focusing on bringing relief to Oklahomans and responsibly reopening the economy, the Democrats have been playing partisan politics to get their liberal wish list done, including the bailout of blue states’ unbalanced budgets with our hard-earned tax dollars," said Sen. Jim Inhofe.

Sen. James Lankford said in a statement that the "rushed, progressive wish list cloaked as [a] COVID relief bill" was "not ready and not right."

"This bill also added direct federal funding for abortion for the first time in over four decades in the name of a COVID-19 pandemic. Funding during a pandemic should save lives, not take lives. Lankford also filed an amendment to ensure the Reconciliation bill complies with the long-standing Hyde amendment, which bars the use of federal dollars to pay for abortion," Lankford's office wrote in a release. 

Approved 50-49 along party lines in the Senate, with Republican Dan Sullivan of Alaska not voting because of a family emergency, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has scheduled the bill for a Tuesday vote in that chamber. 

The five members of Oklahoma's House delegation, all Republicans, are expected to stand unified against the bill. 

Rep. Tom Cole last week decried the bill as something "the Democratic majority and the president are really cramming [] down everybody's throat." Rep. Markwayne Mullin last month used scare quotes around the words "relief" and "stimulus" in a statement opposed to the bill, which he claimed will fund Congressional Democrats' "socialist agenda."

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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