The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 19, 2012

Lawmakers, candidates debate defense cuts

EDMOND — Potential ramifications of looming defense budget cuts — known in legislative lingo as “sequestration” — are a big issue in Washington and in Oklahoma, home to five military installations.

Last summer, congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama were engaged in a bitter stalemate over a deficit-reduction package. To avert an Aug. 2 default, Republicans wanted a debt limit increase matched with equal budget cuts. Obama wanted a combination of cuts and tax increase. U.S. public debt subject to limit is at $15.8 trillion.

Budget Control Act of 2011 spending cuts mainly apply to discretionary spending — $0.8 trillion in cuts to defense programs and $0.7 trillion in cuts to non-defense programs, according to the Congressional Research Service. More than half of the spending cuts are through the coming “trigger” process that will take effect Jan. 2, 2013, unless new legislation is passed to prevent it.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, spoke about the pending defense cuts and said Obama is “leaning on” industry to delay pink slips required by law until after the Nov. 7 election.

Inhofe said he wanted to remind the president the nation has a law, the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires companies to give 60 days’ notice of pending layoffs.

“I think it is imperative that the workers who are going to be laid off work as a result of the Obama Sequestration be notified in advance of the November election,” Inhofe said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that happens.”

Inhofe said he is concerned about the potential for job losses in Oklahoma. The state is home to Altus Air Force Base, Fort Sill, the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, Vance Air Force Base and Tinker Air Force Base. As previously reported by The Edmond Sun Tinker is part of restructuring projected to save about $109 million a year.

More than 69,100 military personnel, federal civilian personnel and contractors were employed at the installations in FY2010, according to a recent military economic impact study. These jobs and operations at the installations, supported another 64,700 jobs in Oklahoma’s economy for a total impact of more than 133,800 jobs in the state. Their total impact, including wage and salary payroll, is $5.6 billion.

Tom Guild, D-Edmond, who is challenging U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond, for the 5th District seat, blames congressional Republicans for the debt ceiling fight. Guild said it damaged the nation and caused the historic credit downgrade.

Guild said Lankford and his colleagues insisted on making cuts and sequestration, and they wanted the so-called “Supercommittee” charged with defining the cuts. For House Republicans to be concerned about the ramifications now is hypocrisy, he said.

“The responsibility lays at their feet,” Guild said, stating that if the cuts take effect and harm the economy the blame lies with House Republicans.

The bipartisan Supercommittee failed to agree on a deficit reduction deal before a deadline.

Lankford said Obama wants to delay a major national debate on spending reductions until after the election. On Wednesday, the House passed The Sequestration Transparency Act in a bipartisan vote of 414-2, Lankford said.  

Lankford said the cuts imposed by the “trigger” are “potentially devastating to Oklahoma’s economy.” The Senate has not voted or created a Senate version of several measures passed by the House to avoid deep national security cuts, he said.

“Yesterday’s important vote in the House on the Sequestration Transparency Act sought to provide the national security and aerospace communities certainty to plan for the future,” Lankford said. “If the president and the Senate have a specific plan for avoiding the deep defense cuts on Jan. 2, 2013, they should release it. For the sake of jobs, technology advancements and security we should not wait until the last minute to act on these cuts.”

Robert Murphy, I-Norman, who will formally launch his 5th District bid on Aug. 1, said the nation cannot build its economy with the defense industry. Murphy said he wants to pull U.S. troops out of the Middle East and Afghanistan, that the military’s mission is too broad.

“Warmaking is not productive,” he said. “It’s destructive.”

Murphy said the defense industry was wise to have interests in the districts of many representatives in Congress. He said he prefers turning defense industry jobs into non-military jobs.

When asked about the current mess in Congress, Pat Martin, I-Jones, had a blunt response.

“That’s exactly what it is — a mess,” he said.

Martin said he favors responsible cuts. He thinks Congress will figure out a budget solution, but find a way to delay it.

“If you’re going to buy time you’ve got to do something with it,” he said.

Congress must prioritize spending and make cuts accordingly, Martin said. He said he wants to first address government waste, mismanagement and fraud and the constant two-party fighting. | 341-2121, ext. 108

Text Only
Local News
  • Candidates disagree with White House’s minimum wage

    Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the state needs to have serious growth in high-paying living wage jobs that will provide for Oklahomans.
    Dorman cautioned that while Oklahoma’s jobless rate improved in June, the state’s rankings for the well-being of children has dropped from 36th to 39th place, for one of the largest declines in the U.S., according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Project.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Gov. Mary Fallin said this week.
    The state’s unemployment rate was more than 7 percent when Fallin was elected during the brink of the Great Depression. Alex Weintz, communications director for Fallin, pointed out that per capita income in Oklahoma was second in the nation from 2011 to 2013.
    The non partisan Congressional Budget office reported in February that raising the minimum wage could kill a half-million jobs in the United States.
    According to The Washington Times, CBO analysts reported, “Once the other changes in income were taken into account, families whose income would be below six times the poverty threshold under current law would see a small increase in income, on net, and families whose income would be higher under current law would see reductions in income, on net.”
    President Barack Obama in February signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.
    Weintz said the governor believes tax cuts have enabled families to keep more of their money.
    No one is talking about the under-employment rate of families working minimum wage jobs, Dorman said.
    “It’s all fine and good when you have fast-food jobs that don’t cover the bills and that counts toward your unemployment rate.”
    Oklahoma’s minimum wage reflects the federal minimum wage set at $7.25 an hour, a standard set in 2009.
    Fallin signed legislation this year to prohibit municipalities from raising their local minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
    “If the minimum wage goes up to $15 in Oklahoma City, all of the sudden you would drive retail, business, service industry locations outside of the city limits and that would be detrimental to the economy, consumers and to businesses,” Weintz said.
    Fallin has said that she opposes raising the minimum wage in Oklahoma because it would stifle job growth for small business and lay off workers. A lot of people earning the $7.25 minimum wage are part-time workers and many of them are students, Weintz said.
    “We believe raising the minimum wage is not a good way to address poverty,” Weintz said. “A lot of people earning the minimum wage are actually people living with their parents or other people who are employed full time, and in many cases they are middle class families. So it’s not a good tool to reduce poverty.”
    Dorman said he does not necessarily support the proposed $10.10 an hour minimum federal minimum wage that is being discussed by Congress.
    “I think we need to have a living wage in Oklahoma that is reflective of our economy,” Dorman said.
    About 102,300 jobs have been added in Oklahoma since Fallin took office in January 2011, according to her office.
    The cost of living in the national economy tends to be higher in some other states, Dorman said.
    So a minimum wage increase should be tied to economic gains so that families can pay their bills and afford to care for their children, Dorman said.
    Independent candidates for governor include Richard Prawdzienski of Edmond, Joe Sills of Oklahoma City and Kimberly Willis of Oklahoma City.

    July 24, 2014

  • Forced Entry 1 Firefighters sharpen forced entry skills

    Of all burglaries, 60.5 percent involved forcible entry, according to recent FBI statistics.
    As a result, many home and businesses are installing a greater number of complex mechanisms on their doors and windows. Edmond Fire Maj. Joe Elam said 10 local firefighters recently sharpened their skills during a forcible entry class offered by IRONS and LADDERS, LLC., of Lawrence, Kan.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Preparing for a fall home garden

    Gardening can be a year-around activity for those that have an appreciation for fresh and nutritious vegetables. Some of the best vegetables in Oklahoma are produced and harvested during the cooler weather of fall. Successful fall gardens, however, require some work in the summer growing season. Factors to be considered are location, soil preparation, crops to be grown and how/when to plant.  
    The major consideration for garden placement is sunlight. All vegetables require some sunlight; the most popular vegetables require full sun. “Full” sun means at least 8 hours of intense, direct exposure.

    July 24, 2014

  • OBU dance team celebrates National Dance Day

    In 2010, “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe created National Dance Day in an effort to help people embrace dance and combat obesity on the last Saturday in July.
    This year, on July 26, Oklahoma Baptist University’s dance team will host a fundraiser that allows participants to dance all day for $30. The fundraiser will be in the Noble Complex on OBU’s campus.
    Cami Gower, an OBU junior and co-captain/co-founder of the dance team, said the team’s officers have been planning for their upcoming season since April. Gower is a graduate of Deer Creek High School.
    “Since then we have been coming up with better ways to reach the community with dance,” she said. “This day of dance was a great way to do it and help the team raise funds.”

    July 24, 2014

  • Blackmon.jpg Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint

    The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
    Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women aided in Afghanistan, Rwanda through AT&T

    AT&T renewed its support for the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS program Wednesday by making a $125,000 contribution to the program at Lakeside Women’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
    AT&T has been a major supporter of Peace through Business since its inception in 2007, said Steve Hahn, the new president of AT&T Oklahoma.

    July 23, 2014

  • Salvation Army pantry closes until September

    Due to an increase of need, The Salvation Army in Oklahoma County has distributed all of its food supply. July 23 was the last day of the food pantry operations. In preparation for the move to the Center of Hope at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, The Salvation Army Client Choice Pantry will not resume operations until September.

    July 23, 2014

  • Payne Co. crash sends Guthrie man to hospital

    A two-vehicle crash in Payne County sent a Guthrie man to a local hospital, a trooper stated.
    Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper James Ritze stated a 2005 Jeep SUV and a 2013 Ford pickup were about a mile east of Perkins headed west on State Highway 33. When the pickup slowed for a truck pulling out of a private drive, the SUV struck the rear of the pickup, Ritze stated.

    July 23, 2014

  • 7-11 Second Street to get new 7-Eleven

    The amended site plan for a new 7-Eleven Convenience Store was approved by the Edmond Planning Commission this week by a vote of 4-0.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guard adds jobs, revenue to Oklahoma

    During a Wednesday morning press conference at Joint Force Headquarters, members of the Guard touted the findings of an in-depth study addressing impacts the organization has in areas including gross state product, employment and tax revenue.

    July 23, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results