ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
94°
Sunny
H 97° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    94°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 97° L 72°
  • clear-day
    73°
    Morning
    Sunny. H 97° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    92°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 97° L 73°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

News
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn is leaving Congress
Close

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn is leaving Congress

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn is leaving Congress
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Senator Tom Coburn

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn is leaving Congress

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who built a career out of fighting what he saw as government waste, has announced he will give up his seat after the current session of Congress and forgo the final two years of his term.

Coburn, who lives in Muskogee where he set up a medical practice after graduating from the University of Oklahoma Medical School, has been a U. S. Senator since 2005, and previously served as a U. S. Representative from 1995 to 2001.

"Serving as Oklahoma’s senator has been, and continues to be, one of the great privileges and blessings of my life," Coburn said in a written statement issued Thursday night by his Senate office.  

 "But, after much prayer and consideration, I have decided that I will leave my Senate seat at the end of this Congress," said the GOP lawmaker who focused most of his legislative efforts on cutting spending.

 A few hours before his announcement, Coburn sounded an almost wistful note on the Senate floor about his constant battles to rein in the size of the federal government, an effort that was never fully embraced by lawmakers in either party.

 "In my nine years here, I have failed in my ability to convince my colleagues that we ought to be worried about this problem," the Oklahoma Republican said.

 After arriving in the Senate following the 2004 elections, Coburn took over the role that had been filled by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for many years, as he tried to publicly shame members of both parties into cutting down on government waste and spending.

 But like McCain, Coburn's efforts were not warmly embraced by many members of his own party, who resented his efforts on the Senate floor.

 Until deficit reduction became "cool" around 2010, Coburn often had a difficult time rounding up 25 votes on the GOP side for a plan to cut spending, as he sometimes resorted to arcane parliamentary tactics to make his point.

 In 2010, Coburn tried to use a procedural tactic on the Senate floor known as a "clay pigeon" to break one piece of a budget bill into 17 separate parts, which would have stalled action on the plan.

 Coburn's decision to leave the Senate early came a few days after stories surfaced that he might not serve out his second term, which would run until after the 2016 elections.

 Coburn had been tight-lipped about the issue in the hallways of the Capitol - his staff had almost seemed to go into a radio silence mode this week as well.

 The news saddened Coburn's colleagues in the Senate.

 "He's the kind of guy the founders had in mind when the Senate was created," said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

 "We may not always agree, but he's a good man and a good senator," said Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who added that he was praying for Coburn's health.

 Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell called Coburn "a lasting credit to his beloved Oklahoma," labeling him "one of the most intelligent, principled and decent men in modern Senate history."

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said "His presence in the U.S. Senate strengthens our country and uplifts our state. We will all miss his service, but we are forever grateful for his contribution and the legacy he will leave behind."

Coburn's decision means that his seat will come open at some point in 2015; a special election would be held to fill that remaining time. 

In 2016, state voters would elect someone to fill the seat for a full six year Senate term.

 Here is the statement issued by Coburn:

“Serving as Oklahoma’s senator has been, and continues to be, one of the great privileges and blessings of my life.  But, after much prayer and consideration, I have decided that I will leave my Senate seat at the end of this Congress.   

“Carolyn and I have been touched by the encouragement we’ve received from people across the state regarding my latest battle against cancer.  But this decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires.  My commitment to the people of Oklahoma has always been that I would serve no more than two terms.  Our founders saw public service and politics as a calling rather than a career.  That’s how I saw it when I first ran for office in 1994, and that’s how I still see it today.  I believe it’s important to live under the laws I helped write, and even those I fought hard to block. 

 “As a citizen legislator, I am first and foremost a citizen who cares deeply about the kind of country we leave our children and grandchildren.  As I have traveled across Oklahoma and our nation these past nine years, I have yet to meet a parent or grandparent who wouldn’t do anything within their power to secure the future for the next generation.  That’s why I initially ran for office in 1994 and re-entered politics in 2004.  I’m encouraged there are thousands of Americans with real-world experience and good judgment who feel just like I do.  As dysfunctional as Washington is these days, change is still possible when ‘We the People’ get engaged, run for office themselves or make their voices heard.  After all, how else could a country doctor from Muskogee with no political experience make it to Washington? 

“As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere.  In the meantime, I look forward to finishing this year strong.  I intend to continue our fight for Oklahoma, and will do everything in my power to force the Senate to re-embrace its heritage of debate, deliberation and consensus as we face our many challenges ahead. 

 “My God bless you, our state and our country.”

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • As House Republicans move to consider the first bills to fund the operations of the United States government next year, Democrats are hoping to force votes on plans that would prohibit federal workers from staying at hotels and other properties in which President Donald Trump has a financial interest. The plans are being pushed by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), a frequent critic of Mr. Trump, as Beyer hopes to bring them up for debate on four different funding bills that are scheduled to be voted on this week by the full House. The format is the familiar “funding limitation” amendment, in which ‘none of the funds’ can be used by the feds for certain purposes – in this case, staying at a hotel that is either owned or operated by the Trump family. The effort comes after press reports earlier this month, that the State Department spent over $15,000 to book rooms at the new Trump Hotel in Vancouver; the information was obtained by the Washington Post in a Freedom of Information Act request. For the bill that funds the operations of Congress, and programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Military Construction, the language spelled out above would block government workers from spending money to “pay or reimburse lodging expenses of a Federal employee or official in the course of official Government travel or business at any hotel or property in which the President maintains a financial interest.” For the spending bill that funds the operations of the Pentagon, Beyer’s plan would give the Secretary of Defense the power to waive those same prohibitions, “on a case-by-case basis,” on the grounds of national security. But in the funding bill for Energy and Water programs, Beyer’s amendment gets specific, listing over three dozen different Trump properties in the U.S. and around the world. It’s not clear if the plans will be considered during debate this week on these four funding bills, which are being grouped together into one ‘minibus’ funding measure, officially known as the “Make America Secure Appropriations Act.” The House Rules Committee will meet on Monday to sort through amendments proposed to the bill by lawmakers, and determine which ones should be debated.  
  • A sad story to report out of Caddo County. KRMG has learned two people, ages 12 and 60, drowned on Saturday on Fort Cobb Lake, at Avery's Landing.  The incident happened around 6:39 p.m. “Victim2 (12-year-old) was swimming in 3-to-4 feet of water, slipped off of a drop off into 7 feet of water, submerged under water and resurfaced one time,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.   “Victim1 swam out to Victim2, both Victim1 and Victim2 went under and did not resurface.” Kam Sivilai and the child were both pronounced dead at the scene.  
  • EMSA crews were busy on Saturday dealing with the consequences of the heat. As of 8:15 p.m. Saturday night, crews had responded to 11 suspected heat-related calls. KRMG's told the patients aged in range from 32 to 83-years-old. The forecast won’t be giving crews any relief on Sunday.  An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for Tulsa and surrounding counties until 8 p.m. We can expect a high around 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.   Please be careful today and stay cool.
  • We can expect another ridiculously hot day in the Tulsa area on Sunday. However, National Weather Service Meteorologist Chuck Hodges says we also might get a little relief. “Mainly, Sunday afternoon into Sunday night,” Hodges said.  “There should be some scattered storms around.  Maybe, we can get one across town to help us out.” The high for Sunday will be around 99 degrees.   NWS reports the Tulsa area could see some storms on Monday and Tuesday as well.
  • Republican plans for tax reform could be less sweeping than originally envisioned by the White House and GOP leaders in Congress, as a provision in a House GOP budget blueprint would require any tax bill to be ‘budget neutral,’ which would force lawmakers to offset any tax cuts with revenue increases that could be difficult in some cases to gain approval. Deep in the fine print of the budget resolution for next year, the Republican plan allows for a tax reform bill under budget reconciliation, “if such measure would not increase the deficit for the total of fiscal years 2018 through 2027.” In other words, you can’t just cut taxes – which technically deprive the federal treasury of revenue, and therefore increase the budget deficit – you have to find revenue to pay for those tax cuts. And Republicans on the House Budget Committee were actively trumpeting that message. It’s time for deficit-neutral #taxreform, and our budget makes that possible. pic.twitter.com/naed7nv7o9 — House Budget GOP (@housebudgetGOP) July 19, 2017 On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan was touting tax reform during a trip to a New Balance factory in Massachusetts. “First and foremost, we’re going to cut your taxes,” the Speaker said. But when a tax plan is deficit neutral – a cut for one person means that revenue must be found somewhere else to offset that reduction – in other words, some other tax increase, mainly one would assume by taking away deductions in the tax code. And many veterans of Capitol Hill say that’s not going to be easy. “I spent much of 2011-16 negotiating tax reform proposals in the Senate,” said Brian Reidl, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who used to work for Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). “Revenue-neutral tax reform will make health care look easy,” Riedl said in a post on Twitter. Key Republicans have made clear that they want to put together a proposal that dramatically simplifies the current tax system. “So 96% of the people can do their tax return on a single postcard size,” said House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Diane Black (R-TN). To do that, you would lower tax rates, and then most likely eliminate or reduce tax deductions – and that’s where things get tricky. Revenue neutral tax reform is hard. pic.twitter.com/B5ohufu90y — John Arnold (@JohnArnoldFndtn) July 20, 2017 Do you get rid of the deduction for mortgage insurance? Lots of people talk about that, but it always goes nowhere. What about the deduction for state and local taxes? That has bipartisan opposition in and around big cities on the East Coast. The tax break on employer provided health care benefits? That went nowhere fast in the negotiations over the GOP bill to overhaul the Obama health law. End or restrict the business interest deduction? Hard to imagine. Deficit neutral tax reform – it sounds wonky. But it’s a pretty important development that may rein in the scope of a GOP tax plan.