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D.C. Digest: In 2020 twist, Inhofe complains about Democrats not letting Republicans spend money

D.C. Digest: In 2020 twist, Inhofe complains about Democrats not letting Republicans spend money

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It’s 2020, so why wouldn’t U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe bitterly complain about Democrats not letting Republicans spend $500 billion?

“Oklahomans need additional relief while our country continues to recover and rebuild from the effects of COVID-19,” Inhofe said in a written statement after Senate Democrats blocked the GOP’s latest COVID-19 relief proposal.

“This legislation would have been a positive step forward—bringing additional relief to many—including those involved in state and local education and health care, farmers and ranchers, small businesses and those in need of continued unemployment benefits as economic activity picks back up.”

Usually Inhofe is complaining about Democrats wanting to spend such an enormous amount of money, and in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of 2020 that’s what’s going on here, too.

Republicans want to spend “only” another $500 billion on relief. Democrats started at $3.4 trillion and are now at somewhere around $2.2 trillion.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford spoke earlier in the week in favor of a targeted approach to further COVID-19 aid.

“My focus has been very simple,” he said. “What is needed to be able to beat the virus?”

High energy: Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin shepherded two bills through the Energy and Commerce Committee, one dealing with tribal access to health data and the other with the rural power grid.

Mullin said H.R. 7948, whose original sponsor is Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana, gives tribal governments and health services equal access to public health data.

“For years many Tribes have faced numerous challenges while trying to access this public health data,” Mullin said in a press release. “Now, more than ever, tribes need access to this data in order to make decisions for their communities and this bill makes that happen.”

H.R. 4447, whose original sponsor is Rep. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona, provides for federal grants to rural electric cooperatives for energy storage and microgrid projects.

Microgrids are small, self-contained electric energy systems that can operate independently or as part of larger systems.

Energy storage is generally associated with renewal generation such as wind and solar.

“Rural areas like my district need to be able to keep up with technology and have the resources necessary to invest in renewable energy storage,” Mullin said. “This public-private partnership would allow rural electric co-ops to deploy energy storage projects to increase energy efficiency and provide cost savings to consumers.”

Dots and dashes: First District Congressman Kevin Hern joined legislation creating a temporary payroll tax holiday through the end of the year. ... Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole, favored to win a 10th term in November, told Roll Call that COVID-19 has caused him to cut back on constituent events and left him feeling “more out of touch with my own district than I ever have during my congressional career.” ... Inhofe signed onto a Republican letter to Attorney General William Barr expressing concern about what they said has been an increase in targeted attacks on law enforcement officers. ... Independent watchdog Center for Responsive Politics reports at least 30 candidates for federal office have spent $1 million or more of their own money on their campaigns.


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