The Edmond Sun

October 1, 2013

Lankford wants Affordable Care Act delayed

Tinker furloughs 2,900 employees

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began Tuesday, Congressman James Lankford voted that the Senate appoint members to a conference committee to discuss the future of the health care reform act.

This action comes after a congressional stalemate to prevent a partial government shutdown Tuesday. Lankford, R-Edmond, and other House Republicans are fighting to delay the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment for one year and to defund the health care law.

On Monday the Senate voted 54-46 against the House resolution to keep the government running at sequester levels until Dec. 15.

“Republicans are still playing games,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.

The House continuing resolution amendment included a provision to prevent members of Congress and their staff, the executive branch and their political appointees from receiving a special exemption from the ACA, Lankford said.

“It is clear that the House and Senate are at an impasse on how to fund the federal government,” Lankford said. “We’ve sent three different proposals to the Senate, but they refused to seriously consider any of them.”

Lankford said he is committed to restoring funding to the federal government as soon as possible.

“In addition, I am pleased that the president has signaled that he will sign into law a provision that the House passed unanimously on Saturday and the Senate passed today to provide uninterrupted funding for our troops and defense personnel in the event of a federal shutdown,” Lankford said.

“Our nation’s military should not suffer for Congress’ inability to pass a budget that represents the demands of the American people,” said U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

President Obama on Monday warned a government shutdown “would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction,” according to

Social Security checks, postal service and operations related to national security or public safety will continue, according to the White House. National parks and monuments are closed.

“Office buildings would close. Paychecks would be delayed. Vital services that seniors and veterans, women and children, businesses and our economy depend on would be hamstrung,” Obama said. “Business owners would see delays in raising capital, seeking infrastructure permits, or rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Veterans who’ve sacrificed for their country will find their support centers unstaffed.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it has furloughed 9,000 employees. Lankford referred to the government shutdown as a “government slowdown.”

Tinker Air Force Base issued a report stating that the government shutdown will be “extremely disruptive” to the base.

Functions essential to national security and public safety will continue, the report stated. However, civilian employees needed to accomplish these functions will be furloughed until the government shutdown ends. The entire Tinker AFB Public Affairs staff is now furloughed.

“All military personnel will remain on regular duty status, but approximately 2,900 of Tinker’s 14,000 civilian employees will be furloughed until such time as federal funding is resumed,” the report stated. “All personnel were required to report for duty as normal this morning. We are now providing specific duty instructions to furloughed and non-furloughed employees.”

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