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The Federal Page (Fall 2015)

By: Theodore King

Planned Parenthood

In March 2012, pro-life activist and founder of Operation Rescue, Randall Terry, whose Christ-centered mission is to end abortions, was in Oklahoma running as a Democrat presidential candidate to raise awareness of the pro-life cause. Terry won several counties in the Democrat primary here. In other words, Oklahoma Democrats in those counties preferred a man they didn't know to President Obama. My father and I had dinner with him in Claremore. Over dinner, in the smoking room at Eggbert's, he said until the public is confronted with the reality of abortion they will continue to look the other way.

Recently, undercover videos show what goes on inside Planned Parenthood abortion facilities. In some of the videos one can over see discussions by PP officials on the selling of body parts of aborted babies and in another video see the dissected body parts as if they were dead frogs in a high school science class. Planned Parenthood officials were completely caught off guard and have resorted to lying about the videos by saying they were fabricated by pro-life activists. All of this has forced the public to see the reality of abortion. Of course, there are some who refuse to acknowledge the truth and many in leadership who don't care about the truth.

We have heard many calls to de-fund PP at the federal level. It receives federal money every budget year, none of which is used for abortions but for other purposes. However, taxpayer money should not go to an organization that performs abortions. When taxpayer money goes to PP, all of us are funding something evil. Because Congress has been unable to write a budget for the fiscal year, which began October 1, the government is being funded by continuing resolutions, CRs. In other words, the government is funded at the same level from one year to the next. This eliminates representative input in the decision making process. The House proposes and passes a budget; then it goes to the Senate, where it dies. Nothing is accomplished, and Democrats in the Senate force a CR down the throats of Republicans in both chambers. This includes funding for PP.

Some of our Oklahoma delegation refused to go along with this continuing resolutions charade. Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford did not vote for the CR on September 30. They were two of 20 that voted against the CR. Republican presidential candidates Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky also voted no. Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were absent, most likely on the campaign trail. The Senate passed the CR 78 to 20. That same day in the House, Congressmen Jim Bridenstine of the First District and Steve Russell of the Fifth District voted no on the CR. Congressmen Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, and Markwayne Mullin were three of the 91 Republicans that joined 186 Democrats in voting for the CR funding the government through December 11. The CR passed the House 277 to 151. Congressmen Cole, Lucas, and Mullin will likely side with the Democrats on December 11 when the budget must be voted on again. We should replace these three congressmen in the next election. As President Reagan said, "If you can't make them see the light, at least you can make them feel the heat." The bottom line is that Planned Parenthood will eventually be de-funded. It is a matter of time and political will.

Lucas and Mullin sign on to the Ex-Im Bank

Last summer, despite intense pressure from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Congress decided not to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Its charter expired in September. Then on October 9, Congressmen Frank Lucas and Markwayne Mullin joined 40 other Republicans and 176 Democrats who signed a discharge petition sending the bill to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank out of the rules committee, where it will be voted on in the House and perhaps sent to the Senate to keep the bank running. Lucas and Mullin were the only two Oklahoma congressmen to sign the discharge petition.

The Ex-Im Bank is a Franklin Roosevelt New Deal era creation that assists American companies, often very large companies like aircraft manufacturer Boeing, to export their goods overseas. It is seen by many on the right as a form of crony capitalism offering corporate welfare to American companies that want a competitive advantage in foreign markets.

Markwayne Mullin, "Give "em a title and get "em involved."

Morton Blackwell founded The Leadership Institute, a unique organization that trains young conservatives for careers in public policy. I have attended many of its schools and interned there in 1996 and again in 1999. Mr. Blackwell has 45 "Laws of the Public Policy Process." These 45 laws or rules are ideologically neutral. They are useful, regardless of ideology. No. 6 on the list is: "Give "em a title and get "em involved." Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner gave Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin a title, and he's got him involved. On August 26, Tulsa talk radio host Pat Campbell had Congressman Mullin on his show, and he asked him: "What are you willing to do to de-fund Planned Parenthood?" Mr. Campbell mentioned that then-Congressman Tom Coburn tried to de-fund PP but was opposed by the Republican leadership. Congressman Mullin did not answer the question. He said it was very difficult and that Congress may be forced to vote on a continuing resolution that allows Planned Parenthood to be funded. The bottom line is Markwayne Mullin believes de-funding Planned Parenthood is too difficult, and he does not want a government shutdown.

Two days later, Mullin was back on the phone with the Pat Campbell Show talking about his recent visit with his wife to Israel. Eddie Huff was sitting in for Campbell that day. Mullin let something slip out: he's now a deputy whip. He's been lured by outgoing Speaker Boehner's leadership, and he's not going to do anything to jeopardize that. This is why Mullin consistently votes with the House leadership on spending bills and corporate welfare giveaways that many of his constituents oppose. It will be interesting to see if Congressman Mullin honors his 2012 campaign pledge to step down after three terms so that he can "Get my life back." First, he has to be re-elected next year, if he is re-elected.

Jeb Bush and Michael Bloomberg

From 2010 until 2014, Jeb Bush sat on the board of the Bloomberg Foundation headed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. One of the things the foundation funds is the evil work of Planned Parenthood around the globe. Michael Bloomberg is a foe of freedom in general. He's anti-gun, anti-tobacco, and anti-fun. So why would Jeb Bush choose to associate with Michael Bloomberg by sitting on the board of his foundation? He said he did so because of Bloomberg's support for education, but he had to know such an association would raise concerns from pro-life voters and gun owners. My hunch is he had no intention of running for president at the time and, given his performance on the campaign trail, has no heart for that process. I believe, until proved otherwise, that he will be the nominee because the Bush family has a lock on the Republican party. And I believe Jeb Bush will prove to be a very weak nominee. You might see a "surprise" scandal this December involving one of the top contenders for the Republican race like the one in December of 2011 when Herman Cain suddenly dropped out of that race amid allegations he had given money to a female friend who is not his wife. This will create some fluidity for Bush to move up to the top just as Cain's departure helped Mitt Romney go on to win the nomination and lose the general election.

Mark Costello

This is an obituary that is painful to write. Unlike many of you who read The Oklahoma Constitution, I did not meet Mark Costello in politics. I knew him through his association with Clear Creek Monastery in Cherokee County. Mark and his wife, Cathy, were students at the University of Kansas some 40 years ago. That is where they met. It is also where their lives and the lives of many others were transformed by the Pearson Integrated Humanities program offered at KU. The Pearson program was a great books program based on western civilization. It was in this program that many of the students discovered western monasticism and became Catholics, or as in the case of cradle Catholic Mark Costello, stronger in their faith. Several of the KU students entered a Benedictine monastery in France and returned in 1999 to establish Clear Creek Monastery, which is now Clear Creek Abbey. The Costellos were some of the first of the monks' old friends to greet them, and they bought land next to the monks' land where they spent weekends. It was not long after the founding of the new monastery that I came to meet and know them both. I knew Mark to be a happy soul just as Cathy is. David Van Risseghem of referred to Mark's political career as Oklahoma Labor Commissioner as that of a happy warrior.

Mark loved God, his faith, his family, his state and its people. He died a martyr's death on August 23 in an attempt to save his troubled, wayward son. We should not presume salvation, but I am cautiously optimistic that Mark Costello's final destination is heaven. Perhaps someday, the Church may recognize him as a saint in heaven with God. And Oklahoma may have Saint Mark of Bartlesville.

"Not the biggest fan of Pope Francis. But I was impressed by his ability to "cast' Speaker Boehner out of the Speaker's Chair." -- Jem Belcher on facebook

John Boehner announced a day after Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress that he is retiring.

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