Trek 66: U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford of Oklahoma and Ted Cruz of Texas have introduced legislation to designate Route 66 as a National Historic Trail — and, by the way, to make sure “no future potential harm to energy development projects occur as a result of the designation,” according to their joint press release.
“I am proud to re-introduce this bill with vital protections for energy infrastructure, alongside Sens. Lankford and Cruz, that will ensure Route 66 receives the recognition it deserves as a National Historic Trail,” Inhofe said in the release.
“I’m glad to partner with Senator Inhofe to add it to the Registry of Historic Trails for our nation and ensure doing so is a blessing for those who live and work near the Route, rather than a burden,” said Lankford.
The bill’s text was not available Friday, so it is unclear what sort of protections for the energy industry it includes.
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Strike breaking: Lankford said he voted to block a railroad strike reluctantly.
“There are no good options available for Congress in the current rail labor negotiations,” Lankford said in a written statement. “A rail strike will make millions of Americans collateral damage just a few weeks before Christmas, but a vote to confirm a union leadership negotiated deal that the union members did not agree to is also a terrible option.
“I spoke directly with rail workers in Oklahoma who want a better work-life balance and more control of their own schedule,” he said. “Most Americans do not understand and would never be willing to live the difficult and unpredictable work schedule that rail workers face.”
Maternity care: First District Congressman Kevin Hern signaled an interest in federal programs for pregnant women and parents of small children.
In a letter to the Government Accounting Office, Hern and Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, said the federal government should “make it as easy as possible for pregnant women and parents to care for their children,” particularly with women’s loss of access to abortion.
Hern and Wenstrup asked the GAO for a list of all such programs.
Venezuelan oil: Lankford and soon-to-be Sen. Markwayne Mullin mocked the Biden administration’s decision to let Chevron temporarily resume oil production in Venezuela.
Speaking to Fox Business, Lankford said “no one understands” the arrangement and advanced the idea that it’s intended to let the administration claim it’s reducing fossil fuel extraction in the U.S. without really doing so.
Mullin, in a newsletter to constituents, said Biden’s contention that the deal is really about leveraging concessions from Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro demonstrates a lack of understanding of global oil markets.
According to news reports, the six-month “license” granted by the administration would allow Chevron to restart existing production in Venezuela but that sales proceeds and royalties that would otherwise go to Maduro’s government will instead be paid into an international Venezuelan relief fund.
According to the New York Times, about one-quarter of Venezuela’s population has left the country because of poor economic conditions, caused in part by U.S. sanctions, and political unrest.
Um, what? Former 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who gave up his seat to become director of NASA and now makes his living in the space industry, has been name-dropped as a potential Republican protest candidate for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Mick Mulvaney, a former congressman and former acting chief of staff for former President Donald Trump, tweeted last week that intraparty opponents of House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy are boosting Bridenstine.
“Jim’s a good guy,” Mulvaney tweeted. “And he’d get about 10 votes. It’s time to stop this nonsense, elect McCarthy.”
The goal, apparently, would be to extract concessions from McCarthy, not to actually elect Bridenstine. In theory, speakers of the House do not have to be members of the body.
Bridenstine’s first vote as a member of the House was part of an unsuccessful attempt to deny incumbent Speaker of the House John Boehner a second term.
Dots and dashes: Mullin campaigned for fellow Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia. … A Lankford bill intended to encourage federal agencies to hire military spouses for remote work passed the Senate and went to the House. … Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole took the administration to task for using $475 million from a provider reimbursement fund to promote COVID-19 vaccination.
— Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World
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