Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer for Oklahomans. Many of us celebrate with cook-outs, trips to the lake or river, and time spent with loved ones. In the middle of all of this fun, I think it’s easy to forget about the true meaning of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day is for remembering the men and women who gave their lives to defend the freedoms that every American has today.
We are the land of the free, because of the brave. The bravest among us are the men and women who wear the uniforms of our armed forces every day and never waiver in their fight against the people and groups who threaten our way of life.
My office is committed to supporting and honoring these brave individuals – individuals like Richard Miller, a WWII veteran from Oklahoma.
Last year, I had the honor of posthumously honoring Richard for his service to our country by presenting his wife, Pheirthine Miller Sanders, with the service medals he had earned – but never received – before his death in 1980.
Pheirthine’s daughter, Janice, attended my Veterans Information Day in Okmulgee last year, where she told one of my veterans caseworkers, William Barnes, that her mother was having trouble getting her husband’s pension benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
William worked with the VA to get Pheirthine the pension benefit, and during the process, he and Janice uncovered documentation that showed that her father should have been awarded several medals for his service in the U.S. Army. William was able to secure some of those medals, and I was honored to present a Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, and other medals to Pheirthine at a ceremony on Veterans Day last year.
Many people don’t know that I have three veterans caseworkers who are dedicated to helping veterans and their families with any problem they experience with the VA. Whether it’s an issue with pension benefits, doctor appointments, or service medals, we are here to help.
I have two veterans caseworkers in Muskogee: William Barnes and Jake Marlin. Both of them can be reached at 918-687-2533. And I have a third veterans caseworker, Jason Self, in McAlester. Jason can be reached at 918-423-5951.
On Memorial Day, we naturally recognize our veterans, and we thank them and their families for their service to our country. But I don’t want us to forget that the day is also about recognizing the families of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.
Our 40th President, Ronald Reagan, wisely said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on.”
The men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice did just that. We remember them every day, but especially on Memorial Day.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) has been selected to serve on the conference committee charged with developing America’s comprehensive 21st century energy policy. On May 25, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives amended and approved the Senate’s Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S. 2012) to reflect the priorities that were included in the House’s North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 8). Now, a House-Senate conference committee will negotiate the differences between each chamber’s bill and develop the final legislation.
“In the House, I fought for policies that preserve and grow Oklahoma’s energy jobs and make sure our families can afford to keep their lights on,” said Mullin. “From oil to natural gas to hydropower, Oklahoma is an energy-rich state, and I’m going to work to make sure our priorities are included in this comprehensive U.S. energy agenda.”
During a markup of H.R. 8 in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power on July 20, 2015, Mullin requested that the final House energy bill include much needed reforms to the hydropower permitting process within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
He said, “We need to be looking down the road … a[t] hydropower as a viable energy source. I hope that we can work together to ensure that the final bill includes robust hydropower reform.”
The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) praised Mullin’s selection to the conference committee.
Dan Sullivan, GRDA CEO, said, “As this conference committee negotiates the Energy Modernization Act of 2016, Oklahomans should know that they are well-represented by Congressman Markwayne Mullin. He possesses a strong understanding of the issues that currently complicate our nation’s energy policy and has demonstrated a complete devotion to solving those problems. The Grand River Dam Authority, as a major producer of hydropower in our state, as well as its electric customers and the State of Oklahoma as a whole, will be the beneficiaries of the hydropower streamlining provisions in the bill. Congressman Mullin has already proven to be an extremely effective proponent of these measures – having him included in this small group of legislators that will negotiate the final bill is a great win for all of Oklahoma.”
The Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association (OKOGA) also congratulated Mullin on his selection to the conference committee, saying, “The Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association is very pleased with the appointment of U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-OK 2, as a House conferee to work on a comprehensive, federal energy bill. As a small businessman from a top-producing oil and gas state, Congressman Mullin understands the importance of reliable and safe energy to the security of the nation.”
Mullin will join 23 other Republicans in the House on the conference committee.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) has introduced a bill that will help ensure Oklahomans have access to Medicaid programs in the future. Faced with a $1.3 billion budget shortfall in 2017, Oklahoma’s state legislature was faced with the possibility of cutting Medicaid funding by as much as 25 percent. The governor’s office and the Oklahoma state legislature reached a budget agreement that spares Medicaid from the substantial funding cut, and Mullin’s bill, the Preserving Access to Medicaid for Americans (PAMA) Act of 2016 will help ensure vulnerable Oklahomans have access to Medicaid in the future.
“When the Supreme Court struck down the provision of Obamacare that mandated Medicaid expansion, states were given the choice of taking federal money to expand their Medicaid programs. Oklahoma wisely chose to decline the expansion, so it wouldn’t take on increased burdens from the president’s failed health care law, but now our state is being unfairly targeted by the administration,” Mullin said.
Hospitals in Oklahoma that serve a large number of people who are uninsured receive Medicaid funding, called Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments, to make up for the cost of caring for these patients. The president’s health care law contains a provision that delivers annual cuts to DSH payments beginning fiscal year 2018, to pay for parts of Obamacare, like Medicaid expansion. The PAMA Act exempts states, like Oklahoma, that haven’t expanded Medicaid under Obamacare from the DSH cuts.
Mullin added, “States that refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare made a fiscally responsible decision. Oklahoma hospitals shouldn’t be forced to pay for other states’ Medicaid expansion. Why don’t we let states that chose to expand Medicaid pay for it themselves?”
Mullin’s bill also provides states more flexibility within their Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a Medicaid program that provides health insurance coverage for children and pregnant women. Under Obamacare, states are prohibited from changing the eligibility criteria for CHIP until 2019. The PAMA Act removes this restriction to give states the ability to transition CHIP patients to private insurance programs, which would bring down the overall cost of Medicaid.
“Oklahoma should have the flexibility it needs to structure CHIP in a way that makes sense for the state,” Mullin said. “The federal government needs to get rid of the burdensome laws that stop Medicaid from working in our states and for our people. My bill sets us in the right direction.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) voted on Thursday against the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017 (H.R. 5055), because the bill contained language that was offered by U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) that threatens the freedom of religious organizations involved in government contracting.
“This bill was about funding critical national security, infrastructure, and energy priorities in 2017, but it turned into a vehicle for limiting the freedoms of religious and non-profit groups that seek government contracts,” said Mullin. “I could not vote for the bill after the Maloney amendment was adopted.”
Mullin had offered an amendment to H.R. 5055 that would prohibit the Obama Administration from proposing or finalizing any major regulation between November 8, 2016, and January 20, 2017. A regulation is considered “major” when it will cost the U.S. economy $100 million or more annually.
Mullin’s amendment to H.R. 5055 was adopted unanimously.
“I was happy that my colleagues agreed that we must protect Americans from any politically motivated regulations this president may attempt to issue after election day, but I was disappointed that politics got in the way of passing this important amendment through the House,” Mullin added.
H.R. 5055 failed by a vote of 112-305.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) voted for two bills to ensure U.S. military readiness and a strong national defense. The two bills, the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 4909) and the 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4974), passed the full U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan votes.
“We must ensure our military has the resources it needs to complete missions and defend us from threats at home and abroad. We know that defeating evil terrorist groups like ISIS will take considerable resources, and that’s why we have set base funding in the NDAA at $18 billion over the president’s budget request,” Mullin said.
The NDAA authorizes a total of $610.5 billion for national defense. The bill also includes Mullin’s Department of Defense (DOD) Workforce Flexibility Act of 2016 (H.R. 4687). The NDAA cuts red tape and gives military installations, like the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, the flexibility they need to hire more permanent workers. For two years, temporary employees within the DOD will be able to more easily apply for vacant, permanent positions within the department.
Of the policy change, Mullin said, “I’m glad we were able to address this hiring issue in the NDAA, and I will continue to work to make the policy change permanent in the future.”
Also included in the NDAA is a provision that prohibits the president from transferring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to U.S. soil.
“We know that prisoners who are released from Guantanamo Bay return to terrorist activities. Despite knowing this, the president has tried to break the law, which he personally signed, in order to close the detention center and fulfill a campaign promise. The NDAA reaffirms that it is illegal to transfer Guantanamo terrorist detainees to American soil,” Mullin added.
The 2017 NDAA also authorizes and fully funds a 2.1 percent pay raise for U.S. troops and blocks the president’s ability to reduce troops’ pay.
“Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms. No salary will ever match this sacrifice, but we must make sure our troops can provide for themselves and their families,” Mullin said. “Our servicemen and women deserve the full 2.1 percent pay increase that is allowed under the law.”
H.R. 4974, which funds military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for 2017, sets total discretionary funding at $81.6 billion, which is a $1.8 billion increase from 2016. A portion of the additional money will be used address management and quality of care issues that have been discovered at VA facilities around the country.
“It seems like every time we turn around, there is a new scandal or new problem uncovered at a VA facility. Our veterans deserve better. I’ve been working with my Oklahoma colleague, Senator Jim Inhofe, to make sure our veterans get the care they deserve, and I’m glad to see these resources devoted to fixing problems within the VA,” Mullin concluded.
Both the 2017 NDAA and H.R. 4974 must be approved by the U.S. Senate. The president has already threatened to veto the NDAA.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) has urged the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to retract the May 13, 2016, guidance that the administration issued to all Oklahoma public schools regarding the use of school bathrooms by students who identify as transgender.
The guidance requires schools to allow students to use the bathroom facilities that correspond with the gender they identify with, rather than the sex that appears on their birth certificate. Although the guidance does not have the force of law, it implies that failure to comply will result in a federal lawsuit and loss of federal education funds.
Mullin, along with the rest of the Oklahoma congressional delegation, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education, John King, and U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, outlining concerns with the Obama Administration’s attempt to rewrite federal education laws without going through Congress.
The administration has cited Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as the basis for its guidance on transgender students. The Title IX law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in public education programs. With their guidance, the ED and DOJ have redefined the term “sex” in the law to mean “gender identity.”
In their letter, the Oklahoma congressional delegation wrote, “Redefining ‘sex’ to mean ‘gender identity’ is a massive overstep by the federal government. Such a decision should not be unilaterally made by the Department of Education or the Department of Justice. Despite what your joint guidance asserts, Congress did not intend in 1972 or today to include ‘gender identity’ within the definition of ‘sex’ in prohibiting discrimination ‘on the basis of sex.’ Redefining ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity’ under Title IX would require legislative action in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.”
The delegation members also expressed their concern with the unilateral action the administration has taken without regard for the steps states and schools are already taking to address the issue of gender identity.
They wrote, “Our third concern is the fact that the federal government has made a unilateral decision without acknowledging that states and local school districts are already taking steps to address the issue of gender identity … Worse, the guidance oversimplifies the needs of each individual student and community. State and local officials, school boards, teachers, and parents are best equipped to determine the best course of action for meeting the needs of all students.”
Mullin has been a vocal opponent of the administration’s guidance. In a May 13, 2016, statement, he said, “The president’s latest attempt to force Oklahoma schools to comply with his extreme liberal agenda is the most flagrant example of putting politics before people. The federal government has no business telling Oklahoma schools how they must operate when it comes to the use of school bathrooms.”
Mullin’s complete statement can be viewed here.
Mullin’s letter to the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice can be viewed here.
On May 13, 2016, the Obama Administration sent all Oklahoma schools a Dear Colleague letter that told school leaders that they must allow students who identify as transgender to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity, rather than the sex that appears on their birth certificate.
The guidance in the letter does not have the force of law, but it implies that noncompliance will result in a federal lawsuit and the loss of federal education funds.
I have a big problem with this.
We’ve seen ridiculous, overreaching mandates come out of this administration over and over again, but this bathroom guidance is the most flagrant example of putting politics before people.
The administration says that the Title IX education law, which prohibits sex discrimination in public education programs, gives the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education the authority to require schools to allow transgender students to use any bathroom they want.
The reality is that the administration has redefined the term “sex” in the law to mean “gender identity.” Such a drastic change in the law can’t be made unilaterally by the executive branch – it requires legislative action in Congress.
Setting aside the fact that the president’s legal reasoning is completely flawed and the federal government has no business telling Oklahoma schools how to operate their bathrooms, I have major concerns with this guidance as a father of five kids in the public school system.
The Dear Colleague literally tells Oklahoma parents and students that the federal government doesn’t care if they have concerns about the transgender guidance. It states that schools must, “provide transgender students equal access to educational programs and activities [including the use of school bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities] even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns.”
I have a big problem with the fact that the federal government thinks it can just disregard concerns Christie and I have about the possibility of male students going on overnight school trips or using bathroom and locker room facilities with our three girls. As the people who are closest to the situation, it should be up to us, other parents, teachers, and school leaders to determine how to accommodate our kids’ needs and keep everyone safe.
Since the Dear Colleague letter was sent out, this bathroom issue has been the number one thing I’ve been asked about. I’ve heard people say that the education law we passed last year, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is the reason why the administration has issued the guidance. This is simply untrue.
I supported the ESSA, because it was a big step towards getting the federal government out of Oklahoma’s classrooms. In fact, the law gives states the ability to fully opt out of federal education mandates and forgo federal education funding. This is still an option for states that can afford to fully fund their public education systems.
I don’t think the federal government should have any role in education, because federal funding always comes with strings attached. Parents, teachers, and local school boards know what is best for our children. Any decision about education in Oklahoma, including the use of school bathrooms, should be made at the state or local level.
Since I heard about the administration’s guidance, I’ve been working to get clarification and exploring ways to block this or any related mandate from moving forward. I’m not going to let Oklahoma’s schools get bullied on this issue.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) has been leading an effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to ensure the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not inappropriately spend U.S. taxpayer dollars to enforce a non-binding global climate agreement.
Nearly three months after Mullin requested information from Administrator Gina McCarthy on the EPA’s plan to send U.S. federal employees abroad to help other countries meet greenhouse gas emissions targets, Mullin received a response from Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe that raises additional questions about the EPA’s use of taxpayer dollars.
In Jan. 2016, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made comments before the Council on Foreign Relations that indicated the EPA would embed U.S. foreign employees abroad to help other countries meet the non-binding emissions targets that were set at the 21st annual session of the Conference of Parties (COP 21).
After hearing these remarks. Mullin sent a letter to McCarthy to get clarification on the EPA’s plan. In this letter Mullin wrote, “The United States cannot be legally bound to any global agreement that sets emissions targets or financial commitments without treaty ratification by the U.S. Senate.”
Mullin requested that McCarthy provide him with information on how many federal employees would be deployed, how long these employees would be deployed, and how much the program would cost taxpayers by Jan. 29, 2016.
As of a March 22, 2016, hearing, where McCarthy appeared before a joint hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Energy and Power and Environment and the Economy, Mullin had not received a response from McCarthy. During the hearing, McCarthy personally committed to providing answers to Mullin’s questions.
On April 22, 2016, Mullin received a letter from Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. In the letter McCabe wrote that the EPA does not plan to deploy staff to other countries as a result of COP 21; but, the EPA is working with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and additional government agencies to provide assistance to other countries as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In a response to McCabe’s letter, Mullin requested additional information about the work the Department of State, USAID, EPA and other U.S. government agencies are doing under the UNFCCC.
“I’m appalled that it took the EPA almost three months to provide me with very vague answers to my questions about its plan to use U.S. taxpayer dollars to enforce a climate agreement that Congress hasn’t approved,” Mullin said. “I will continue to ask questions and take the necessary steps to protect Oklahomans from the EPA’s inappropriate spending.”
WASHINGTON – Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division published its final regulation on overtime pay:
"The DOL’s overtime rule shows that the president and his administration are completely out of touch with the backbone of our economy: middle class Americans. As a business owner, I could not agree more that employees should be compensated fairly for a hard day’s work. In order to keep the best employees, I’ve had to make sure their pay is competitive within the industry and local market. Overregulation is not going to fix problems employees are experiencing with pay. In fact, as a result of this regulation, many salaried employees are now going to find themselves forced into earning an hourly wage instead. They will lose the flexibility that comes along with a salaried position; and at the end of the day, they will take home less money. I will always fight rules and regulations that threaten the livelihoods of middle class Americans and would slow the growth of our free market economy.”
The regulation is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1, 2016.
In 2014, more people in Oklahoma died of accidental drug overdoses than in car crashes. Can you believe that?
We’re seeing a major problem with prescription drug abuse in our state and across the country. The problem in Oklahoma has gotten the attention of the state legislature, which has launched the Take As Prescribed campaign. The national problem has gotten the attention of Congress, which is why we voted on 18 bills this week focused on combating the national prescription drug abuse crisis.
Opioid painkillers, like hydrocodone or oxycodone, are highly addictive. What we’re seeing is that many patients who receive painkiller prescriptions from their doctors become addicted to the medication. When they can’t easily get the pills anymore, they turn to illegal opioid drugs, like heroin.
I’ve had so many surgeries that it’s hard for me to remember all of them. I’m one of those people who doesn’t take any painkillers after surgery, because I don’t like how the medication makes me feel. I know many people do rely on painkillers to help them with recovery, and I think there needs to be more education about the risks of addiction.
This week, I helped pass bills that focus on fighting several areas of the opioid crisis, including: addressing opioid addiction among Oklahoma’s veterans; helping babies who are born with opioids in their systems due to their mothers’ addictions; reviewing and updating the best practices in pain management; and making sure there are enough resources in our communities to support prevention and treatment efforts.
I’ve been working to make sure rural and tribal areas in our district are included in all of these federal efforts, because two of the five counties in Oklahoma that have the highest rates of overdose deaths are in the Second Congressional District: Coal and Muskogee counties.
A few weeks ago, I added an important change to a bill in my committee that will make sure tribal areas are considered in an upcoming report on the availability of opioid addiction treatment centers across the country. Tribal areas aren’t always included in these types of assessments, but we need to have this information, so we can identify and fill the treatment gaps.
And this week, I made sure that rural, tribal, and heavily impacted communities – like Coal and Muskogee counties – will be the first in line for receiving federal grants for programs that will help stop opioid abuse and overdoses.
The opioid crisis has hit our communities particularly hard. I bet nearly everyone’s life has been touched by addiction in some way. I’m in Congress to be the voice for rural Oklahoma, and that is why I’ll continue to stay actively involved in the federal effort to fight this crisis.
1113 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Markwayne Mullin was elected to serve the people of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District in November 2012.
Mullin and his wife Christie had three children, Jim, Andrew and Larra, and then on August 21, 2013 they officially became the proud parents of their adopted twin girls, Lynette and Ivy. They raise their children on the family farm where Mullin grew up in Westville, Oklahoma.
Raised in rural Adair County, he learned the value of hard work and self-discipline. The youngest of seven children, Mullin grew up working on the family farm before the sun was up and well before the school day began. When his studies and athletics were finished each day, Mullin would return home and finish his evening chores.
Mullin graduated from Stilwell High School and went to Missouri Valley College on a wrestling scholarship. Shortly after, his father fell ill and the family’s small plumbing company encountered financial troubles. Mullin then returned home and at the age of 20, he and his wife Christie took over the business. At the time the business had only six employees and was in debt.
Mullin resolved for the sake of his family and for their employees, to make the company solvent and ensure it never again fell into those circumstances. For the next three years, Mullin and his wife Christie worked seven days a week, making the difficult decisions necessary to get the business out of debt.
Mullin ultimately returned to college and graduated from Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in 2010. He was honored to have been invited by his alma mater to deliver the keynote address at the OSUIT 2013 Commencement ceremonies in August.
Today, Mullin Plumbing is one of the largest service companies in the region, employing over 120 Oklahomans. It is only one of several successful companies Mullin owns and operates, including Mullin Environmental, Mullin Plumbing West Division, Mullin Services, Mullin Properties and Mullin Plumbing New Construction.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Mullin has been the voice of business owners across America and brings their perspective into the national debate on many issues which directly impact the business community. From immigration and tax reforms to transportation issues and overzealous regulation, Mullin provides the much-needed real world perspective that comes from fighting to successfully run businesses in today’s economic and regulatory environment.
An engaging, energetic and servant-hearted individual, Mullin is not a Washington, D.C. insider. Instead, he’s a hard-working family man who is grounded by a deep faith and his love of country. Mullin holds fast to the values of rural Oklahoma – where deals are still closed with a handshake, where neighbors help one another without a moment’s hesitation and where prayer and worship are still important parts of people’s lives.
Congressman Mullin serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. He was one of only 11 Members chosen to serve on the bipartisan Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, designated by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The panel traveled across the country to examine the current state of freight transportation in the United States and how improving freight transportation can boost the U.S. economy. The panel will release its findings in late October 2013.
Determined that he would always be accessible and available to the people he represents, Mullin has held three rounds of town hall meetings in each of the 26 counties of the 2nd District so far during his first year in office. He has also held six district-wide telephone town hall meetings. Additionally Mullin has held telephone conference calls with different community groups in the 2nd District, including mayors, county commissioners, chamber of commerce officials, dentists, hospital administrators, pastors and technology centers administrators.
Mullin is a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation. When the 113th Congress convened in January 2013, he became only the second Native American in the House.
I’m honored to be a part of the committee that will finalize America’s 21st century energy policy. https://t.co/0TOGTSKPpQ
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