Oklahoma Congressional Delegation Divided On Votes On Military Funding Bill, $2,000 Relief Checks

Dec 29, 2020

Oklahoma's members of the U.S. House of Representatives split Monday night on votes to override President Donald Trump's veto of the National Defense Authorization Act and to support Trump's proposal for $2,000 in direct coronavirus relief payments to Americans.

The House voted 322-87 to override the president's veto of the military funding bill, which was prominently championed in the Senate by Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe. Oklahoma Rep. Kendra Horn, a Democrat, and Reps. Tom Cole and Frank Lucas, Republicans, all voted to override the veto. Republican Rep. Kevin Hern voted against the override. 

Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin did not vote, claiming in a video posted to social media on Monday he had missed his flight to Washington. He said he would have voted to uphold the president's veto. He did not say why he did not pursue voting by proxy, which was approved earlier this year due to the pandemic and a number of members took advantage of for Monday's votes.

"While Congress shares President Trump’s concerns regarding Section 230, a provision which deserves its fair share of congressional scrutiny, Congress must not miss the opportunity to pass such a strong bill that provides for our Armed Service members, supports military families, and includes meaningful measures that counters aggression shown by Russia and China," Lucas said in a statement.

“I am disappointed by the president’s decision to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, which is vitally important to supporting and strengthening our common defense and ensuring our service members have the resources they need to keep us safe," Cole said in a statement. "As the representative for the Fourth Congressional District of Oklahoma, which includes Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City and Fort Sill in Lawton, I could not vote to sustain the president’s veto. If Congress does not enact the NDAA for fiscal year 2021, it will cost military families their extra combat and flight pay, effectively giving them an undeserved pay cut for Christmas and shamefully disregarding the selfless sacrifices they daily make to ensure our shared safety and security."

In a separate vote, the House broke 275-134 to approve a measure demanded by President Trump to provide $2,000 direct relief payments to many Americans. 44 Republicans joined all but two Democrats in voting for the measure.

Oklahoma's delegation voted the same way as on the veto override, with Cole, Horn and Lucas voting for the payments and Hern voting against. Mullin did not vote; his office did not respond to a request for comment on how he would have voted on the $2,000 payments supported by Trump.

Both votes now proceed to the Senate.