Jim Inhofe

Last updated

Jim Inhofe
Jim Inhofe official portrait.jpg
United States Senator
from Oklahoma
Assumed office
November 16, 1994
Servingwith James Lankford
Preceded by David Boren
Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Assumed office
September 6, 2018 [lower-alpha 1]
Preceded by John McCain
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 January 3, 2017
Preceded by Barbara Boxer
Succeeded by John Barrasso
In office
January 3, 2003 January 3, 2007
Preceded by Jim Jeffords
Succeeded by Barbara Boxer
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Oklahoma's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1987 November 15, 1994
Preceded by James R. Jones
Succeeded by Steve Largent
32nd Mayor of Tulsa
In office
1978–1984
Preceded by Robert LaFortune
Succeeded by Terry Young
Member of the Oklahoma Senate
from the 35th district
In office
January 7, 1969 January 4, 1977
Preceded byL. Beauchamp Selman
Succeeded byWarren Green
Member of the OklahomaHouseofRepresentatives
from the 70th district
In office
January 7, 1967 January 7, 1969
Preceded byJoseph McGraw
Succeeded byRichard Hancock
Personal details
Born
James Mountain Inhofe

(1934-11-17) November 17, 1934 (age 84)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)
Kay Kirkpatrick(m. 1959)
Children4
Education University of Tulsa (BA)
Website Senate website
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Army (official proportions).svg  United States Army
Years of service1956–1958
Rank Army-USA-OR-04b.svg Specialist 4

James Mountain Inhofe ( /ˈɪnhɒf/ ; born November 17, 1934) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Oklahoma, a seat he was first elected to in 1994. A member of the Republican Party, he chaired the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) from 2003 to 2007 and again from 2015 to 2017. Inhofe served as the U.S. Representative for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district from 1987 to 1994 and as mayor of Tulsa from 1978 to 1984.

United States senators are conventionally ranked by the length of their tenure in the Senate. The senator in each U.S. state with the longer time in office is known as the senior senator; the other is the junior senator. This convention has no official standing, though seniority confers several benefits, including preference in the choice of committee assignments and physical offices. When senators have been in office for the same length of time, a number of tiebreakers, including previous offices held, are used to determine seniority.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Contents

Inhofe is known for his rejection of the scientific consensus on climate change. [2] He supports a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and has proposed the Inhofe Amendment to make English the national language of the United States.

Climate change denial Denial, dismissal, or unwarranted doubt about the scientific consensus on the rate and extent of global warming

Climate change denial, or global warming denial, is part of the global warming controversy. It involves denial, dismissal, or unwarranted doubt that contradicts the scientific opinion on climate change, including the extent to which it is caused by humans, its impacts on nature and human society, or the potential of adaptation to global warming by human actions. Some deniers endorse the term, while others prefer the term climate change skepticism. Several scientists have noted that "skepticism" is an inaccurate description for those who deny anthropogenic global warming. In effect, the two terms form a continuous, overlapping range of views, and generally have the same characteristics: both reject, to a greater or lesser extent, the scientific consensus on climate change. Climate change denial can also be implicit, when individuals or social groups accept the science but fail to come to terms with it or to translate their acceptance into action. Several social science studies have analyzed these positions as forms of denialism and pseudoscience.

Global warming rise in the average temperature of the Earths climate system and its related effects

Global warming is a long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system, an aspect of climate change shown by temperature measurements and by multiple effects of the warming. Though earlier geological periods also experienced episodes of warming, the term commonly refers to the observed and continuing increase in average air and ocean temperatures since 1900 caused mainly by emissions of greenhouse gasses in the modern industrial economy. In the modern context the terms global warming and climate change are commonly used interchangeably, but climate change includes both global warming and its effects, such as changes to precipitation and impacts that differ by region. Many of the observed warming changes since the 1950s are unprecedented in the instrumental temperature record, and in historical and paleoclimate proxy records of climate change over thousands to millions of years.

Same-sex marriage is the marriage of two persons of the same sex or gender, entered into in a civil or religious ceremony.

Inhofe served as acting chairman of the Armed Services Committee while John McCain fought cancer in 2018. After McCain's death, he became chairman. [3]

United States Senate Committee on Armed Services Standing committee of the United States Senate

The Committee on Armed Services is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of the nation’s military, including the Department of Defense, military research and development, nuclear energy, benefits for members of the military, the Selective Service System and other matters related to defense policy. The Armed Services Committee was created as a result of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 following U.S. victory in the Second World War. It merged the responsibilities of the Committee on Naval Affairs and the Committee on Military Affairs.

John McCain American politician

John Sidney McCain III was an American politician and military officer who served as a United States senator from Arizona from January 1987 until his death. He previously served two terms in the United States House of Representatives and was the Republican nominee for president of the United States in the 2008 election, which he lost to Barack Obama.

Early life, education, and business career

Inhofe was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of Blanche (née Mountain) and Perry Dyson Inhofe. [4] He moved with his family to Tulsa, Oklahoma, as a child. He was a member of the Class of 1953 at Tulsa Central High School, [5] and served in the United States Army from 1957 to 1958. [6] Inhofe received a B.A. in economics from the University of Tulsa in 1973. [7] Until his 1994 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Inhofe's official biographies and news articles about him indicated that he had graduated in 1959. [8] Inhofe initially denied the stories that uncovered the discrepancy, [8] but later acknowledged them. [9] After admitting that the stories were true, Inhofe explained that he had been allowed to take part in graduation ceremonies in 1959 though he was a few credits short of completing his degree, and did not finish his coursework until 1973. [10]

Des Moines, Iowa Capital of Iowa

Des Moines is the capital and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Iowa. It is also the county seat of Polk County. A small part of the city extends into Warren County. It was incorporated on September 22, 1851, as Fort Des Moines, which was shortened to "Des Moines" in 1857. It is on and named after the Des Moines River, which likely was adapted from the early French name, Rivière des Moines, meaning "River of the Monks". The city's population was 217,521 as of the 2017 population estimate. The five-county metropolitan area is ranked 89th in terms of population in the United States with 634,725 residents according to the 2016 estimate by the United States Census Bureau, and is the second largest metropolitan area in the state after that of Omaha, Nebraska, which includes three counties in southwest Iowa.

Tulsa, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 45th-most populous city in the United States. As of July 2016, the population was 413,505, an increase of 12,591 over that reported in the 2010 Census. It is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 991,005 residents in the MSA and 1,251,172 in the CSA. The city serves as the county seat of Tulsa County, the most densely populated county in Oklahoma, with urban development extending into Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner counties.

Central High School (Tulsa, Oklahoma) high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Central High School is the oldest high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was founded in 1906 as Tulsa High School, and located in downtown Tulsa until 1976. The school now has a 47-acre (19 ha) campus in northwest Tulsa. Tulsa Central is part of the Tulsa Public Schools, Oklahoma's largest school district, and is a public school for students from grades 9 through 12. Since 1997 it has served as a fine and performing arts magnet school.

Inhofe worked as a businessman for 30 years before becoming a full-time politician. [11] He worked in aviation, as a real estate developer, and in insurance, eventually becoming the president of Quaker Life Insurance Company. During his curatorship, the company went into receivership; it was liquidated in 1986. [12]

In law, receivership is a situation in which an institution or enterprise is held by a receiver—a person "placed in the custodial responsibility for the property of others, including tangible and intangible assets and rights"—especially in cases where a company cannot meet financial obligations or enters bankruptcy. The receivership remedy is an equitable remedy that emerged in the English chancery courts, where receivers were appointed to protect real property. Receiverships are also a remedy of last resort in litigation involving the conduct of executive agencies that fail to comply with constitutional or statutory obligations to populations that rely on those agencies for their basic human rights.

Liquidation is the process in accounting by which a company is brought to an end in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and United States. The assets and property of the company are redistributed. Liquidation is also sometimes referred to as winding-up or dissolution, although dissolution technically refers to the last stage of liquidation. The process of liquidation also arises when customs, an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties, determines the final computation or ascertainment of the duties or drawback accruing on an entry.

Early political career

Inhofe greeting President Ronald Reagan in 1982 Reagan Contact Sheet BW 6088 (cropped).jpg
Inhofe greeting President Ronald Reagan in 1982

State legislature

Inhofe became active in Oklahoma Republican politics in the mid-1960s. He was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1967 to 1969, and a member of the Oklahoma Senate from 1969 until 1977, the last four of those years as minority leader.

The Oklahoma Republican Party is a political party affiliated with the United States Republican Party (GOP). Along with the Oklahoma Democratic Party, it is one of the two major parties in Oklahoma politics.

Oklahoma House of Representatives lower house of U.S. state legislature

The Oklahoma House of Representatives is the lower house of the legislature of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Its members introduce and vote on bills and resolutions, provide legislative oversight for state agencies, and help to craft the state's budget. The upper house of the Oklahoma Legislature is the Oklahoma Senate.

Oklahoma Senate upper state chamber of a state of the United-States of America

The Oklahoma Senate is the upper house of the two houses of the Legislature of Oklahoma, the other being the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The total number of senators is set at 48 by the Oklahoma Constitution.

1974 gubernatorial election

In 1974, he ran for governor of Oklahoma. In October 1974, then President Gerald Ford visited Oklahoma to campaign for him. [13] [14] A late October poll by the Daily Oklahoman showed Boren leading 74%–25%. [15] He lost to Democratic State Representative David Boren 64%–36%. Inhofe won only four counties in the election. [16] He lost 57 pounds during the campaign and was down to 148 pounds. [17]

1976 congressional election

In 1976 Inhofe ran for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district. In the Republican primary, he defeated State Senator Frank Keating and Mary Warner, 67%–25%–8%. [18] In the general election, he lost to incumbent Democrat James R. Jones, 54%–45%. [19]

Mayor of Tulsa

In 1978 Inhofe was elected mayor of Tulsa, defeating Democrat Rodger Randle, 51%–46%. [20] In 1980 he won reelection unopposed [21] and in 1982 he was reelected with 59% of the vote. [22]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

In 1986, when Representative Jones decided to retire to run for the U.S. Senate, Inhofe ran for the 1st District and won the Republican primary with 54%. [23] In the general election, he defeated Democrat Gary Allison 55%–43%. [24] In 1988 he won reelection against Democrat Kurt Glassco, Governor George Nigh's legal counsel, 53%–47%. [25] In 1990 he defeated Glassco again, 56%–44%. [26] After redistricting, the 1st District contained only two counties, all of Tulsa and some parts of Wagoner. In 1992 Inhofe was reelected with 53% of the vote. [27]

Tenure

In 1987 Inhofe voted against President Ronald Reagan's budget, which included tax increases and no increase in defense spending. [28]

He first came to national attention in 1993, when he led the effort to reform the House's discharge petition rule, which the House leadership had long used to bottle up bills in committee.

U.S. Senate

Elections

In 1994, incumbent Senator David Boren, who had been serving in the Senate since 1979, agreed to become president of the University of Oklahoma and announced he would resign as soon as a successor was elected. Inhofe was elected Boren's successor in an election cycle that saw the Republican Party take both houses of Congress and the Oklahoma governorship (the latter for only the third time in state history). Inhofe took office on November 16, giving him more seniority than the incoming class of senators. After serving the last two years of Boren's term, he won his first full term in 1996. He was reelected in 2002, 2008 and 2014.

Tenure

Fundraising

In the 2008 election cycle, Inhofe's largest campaign donors represented the oil and gas ($446,900 in donations), leadership PACs ($316,720) and electric utilities ($221,654) industries/categories. [29] [30] In 2010, his largest donors represented the oil and gas ($429,950) and electric ($206,654) utilities. [31]

The primary PACs donating to his campaigns were Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association ($55,869), United Parcel Service ($51,850), National Association of Realtors ($51,700), National Rifle Association ($51,050) and American Medical Association ($51,000). Additionally, if company-sponsored PACs were combined with employee contributions, Koch Industries would be Inhofe's largest contributor, with $90,950 (less than 0.6% of total contributions), according to the Center for Responsive Politics. [30] [32] [ undue weight? ]

Armed Services Committee

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Inhofe was among the panelists questioning witnesses about the 2004 Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, saying he was "outraged by the outrage" over the revelations of abuse. Although he believed that the individuals responsible for mistreating prisoners should be punished, he said that the prisoners "are not there for traffic violations ... they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents". [33] [34] In 2006, Inhofe was one of only nine senators to vote against the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which prohibits "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of individuals in U.S. Government custody. [35] [36]

When chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John McCain was absent seeking medical treatment for brain cancer from December 2017, Inhofe became acting chairman of the committee. During this time, Inhofe helped secure the passage of the record $716 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. [37] [38] McCain died in August 2018, and Inhofe lauded him as his "hero". Inhofe also said that McCain was "partially to blame for" the White House's controversial decision to raise flags back to full mast after less than two days, as McCain previously "disagreed with the President in certain areas and wasn't too courteous about it". [39]

On March 6, 2019, Inhofe said he intends to put language in the next defense authorization act to reinforce Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement and reintroduce severe sanctions on Tehran. [40]

Committee assignments

CODEL James Inhofe during a visit to Kiev, Ukraine, October 27-28, 2014 CODEL James Inhofe visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, October 27-28, 2014 01.jpg
CODEL James Inhofe during a visit to Kiev, Ukraine, October 27–28, 2014

Inhofe, as of the 115th Congress, is a member of the following committees:

Caucus memberships

Ideology and opinions

Inhofe is the most conservative member of both the House and Senate, according to the 2017 GovTrack report card. [41]

Environmental issues

Early years; 2003 Chair of Environment and Public Works committee

Before the Republicans regained control of the Senate in the November 2002 elections, Inhofe had compared the United States Environmental Protection Agency to a Gestapo bureaucracy, [42] [43] and EPA Administrator Carol Browner to Tokyo Rose. [44] In January 2003, he became Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and continued challenging mainstream science in favor of what he called "sound science", in accordance with the Luntz memo. [43]

Climate change denial

Since 2003, when he was first elected Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Inhofe has been the foremost Republican promoting arguments for climate change denial in the global warming controversy. He famously said in the Senate that global warming is a hoax, and has invited contrarians to testify in Committee hearings, and spread his views via the Committee website run by Marc Morano, and through his access to conservative media. [45] [2] In 2012, Inhofe's The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future was published by WorldNetDaily Books, presenting his global warming conspiracy theory. [46] He said that, because "God's still up there", the "arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous." [47] [48] [49] However, he says he appreciates that this does not win arguments, and he has "never pointed to Scriptures in a debate, because I know this would discredit me." His opposition to climate action is as much based on concerns about over-regulation of businesses, and he has shown ability to work with his Senate opponents on other issues: in 2003 he co-sponsored legislation to protect the Kemp's ridley sea turtle. [50]

As Environment and Public Works chairman, Inhofe gave a two-hour Senate floor speech on July 28, 2003, in the context of discussions on the McCain-Lieberman Bill. [51] He said he was "going to expose the most powerful, most highly financed lobby in Washington, the far left environmental extremists", and laid out in detail his opposition to attribution of recent climate change to humans, using the word "hoax" four times, including the statement that he had "offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax" and his conclusion that "manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people". [52] [53] He supported what he called "sound science", citing contrarian scientists such as Patrick Michaels, Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen and Sallie Baliunas as well as some mainstream scientists. Two of these, Tom Wigley and Stephen Schneider, later issued statements that Inhofe had misrepresented their work. [53] [54]

On July 29, the day after his Senate speech, Inhofe chaired an Environment and Public Works hearing with contrarian views represented by Baliunas and David Legates, and praised their "1,000-year climate study", then involved in the Soon and Baliunas controversy, as "a powerful new work of science". Against them, Michael E. Mann defended mainstream science and specifically his work that they and the Bush administration disputed in the hockey stick controversy. [51] [55] During the hearing Senator Jim Jeffords read out an email from Hans von Storch saying he had resigned as editor-in-chief of the journal that published the Soon and Baliunas paper, as the peer review had "failed to detect significant methodological flaws in the paper" and the critique by Mann and colleagues was valid. [55] [56]

In a continuation of these themes, Inhofe had a 20-page brochure published under the Seal of the United States Senate reiterating his "hoax" statement and comparing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to a "Soviet style trial". In a section headed "The IPCC Plays Hockey" he attacked what he called "Mann's flawed, limited research." [57] [58] The brochure restated themes from Inhofe's Senate speech, and in December 2003 he distributed copies of it in Milan at a meeting about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where he met "green activists" with posters quoting him as saying that global warming "is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people". He signed a poster for them, [43] and thanked them for quoting him correctly. In an October 2004 Senate speech he said, "Global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. It was true when I said it before, and it remains true today. Perhaps what has made this hoax so effective is that we hear over and over that the science is settled and there is a consensus that, unless we fundamentally change our way of life by limiting greenhouse gas emissions, we will cause catastrophic global warming. This is simply a false statement." [57] [59] In January 2005 Inhofe told Bloomberg News that global warming was "the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state", and that carbon dioxide would not be restricted by the Clear Skies Act of 2003. [60] [61] [62] In a Senate Floor "update", he extended his argument against Mann's work by extensively citing Michael Crichton's fictional thriller State of Fear , mistakenly describing Crichton as a "scientist". [63] On August 28, 2005, at Inhofe's invitation, Crichton appeared as an expert witness at a hearing on climate change, disputing Mann's work. [57]

In his 2006 book The Republican War on Science , Chris Mooney wrote that Inhofe "politicizes and misuses the science of climate change". [64] During a July 2006 heat wave Inhofe said that the environmentalist movement reminded him of "the Third Reich, the Big Lie": "You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that's their strategy." [62] [65]

In a September 2006 Senate speech Inhofe argued that the threat of global warming was exaggerated by "the media, Hollywood elites and our pop culture". He said that in the 1960s the media had switched from warning of global warming to warning of global cooling and a coming ice age, then in the 1970s had returned to warming to promote "climate change fears". [66] In February 2007 he told Fox News that mainstream science increasingly attributed climate change to natural causes, and only "those individuals on the far left, such as Hollywood liberals and the United Nations", disagreed. [67]

In 2006 Inhofe introduced Senate Amendment 4682 with Kit Bond (R-MO), which would have modified oversight responsibility of the Army Corps of Engineers. The League of Conservation Voters, an environmentalist group, said analyses for corps projects "have been manipulated to favor large-scale projects that harm the environment." [68] During the 109th Congress Inhofe voted to increase offshore oil drilling, to include provisions for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the House Budget Amendment, and to deny funding for both low-income energy assistance and environmental stewardship, citing heavy costs and unproven programs. [68]

In May 2009 Inhofe gave support to the idea that black carbon is a significant contributor to global warming. [69]

Inhofe has received monies from the fossil fuel industry. For example: "Exxon's beneficiaries in Congress include the Oklahoma senator Jim Inhofe, who called global warming a hoax, and who has received $20,500 since 2007, according to the Dirty Energy Money database maintained by Oil Change International." [70] [71]

Climatic Research Unit email controversy

On November 23, 2009, as the Climatic Research Unit email controversy emerged, Inhofe said the emails confirmed his view that scientists were "cooking the science". [72] [73] On December 7 on the CNN program The Situation Room , Inhofe said that the emails showed that the science behind climate change "has been pretty well debunked"; the fact checking organization PolitiFact concluded that Inhofe's statement was false. [74] On the same day, Inhofe said he would lead a three-man "truth squad" consisting of himself and fellow senators Roger Wicker and John Barrasso to the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Inhofe was unable to secure meetings with any negotiators or delegations to the conference and only met with a small group of reporters. [75] [76] [77] [78] The minority group of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works prepared a report on "the CRU Controversy", published in February 2010, which listed as "Key Players" 17 scientists including Mann and Phil Jones. Inhofe said it showed that the controversy was "about unethical and potentially illegal behavior by some of the world's leading climate scientists." [79] [80] On May 26 Inhofe formally requested that the Inspector General of the United States Department of Commerce investigate how the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had dealt with the emails, and whether the emails showed any wrongdoing; it found no major issues or inappropriate actions. [81] [82]

Global warming temperatures

In July 2010 Inhofe said, "I don't think that anyone disagrees with the fact that we actually are in a cold period that started about nine years ago. Now, that's not me talking, those are the scientists that say that." The Union of Concerned Scientists said that Inhofe was wrong, pointing to a NOAA report indicating that the summer of 2010 had so far been the hottest on record since 1880. Inhofe added, "People on the other side of this argument back in January, they said, 'Inhofe, it has nothing to do with today's or this month or next month. We're looking at a long period of time. We go into twenty year periods.'" [83] [84] [85]

During a House committee hearing in 2011, Inhofe testified, "I have to admit—and, you know, confession is good for the soul ... I, too, once thought that catastrophic global warming was caused by anthropogenic gases—because everyone said it was." [86] Under questioning from committee member Jay Inslee, Inhofe dismissed the notion that he was less knowledgeable than climate scientists, saying that he'd already given "five speeches on the science." [86]

2015: Chair of Environment and Public Works committee

Inhofe holding a snowball on the U.S. Senate floor. Inhofe holding snowball.jpg
Inhofe holding a snowball on the U.S. Senate floor.

On January 21, 2015, Inhofe returned to chairing the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works as part of a new Republican majority in the Senate. In response to NOAA and NASA reports that 2014 had been the warmest year globally in the temperature record, he said, "we had the coldest in the western hemisphere in the same time frame", and attributed changes to a 30-year cycle, not human activities. [87] In a debate on the same day about a bill for the Keystone XL pipeline, Inhofe endorsed an amendment proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, "Climate change is real and not a hoax", which passed 98–1. Inhofe clarified his view that "Climate is changing and climate has always changed and always will. There is archaeological evidence of that, there is biblical evidence of that, there is historical evidence of that", but added, "there are some people who are so arrogant to think they are so powerful they can change climate." [88]

On February 26, 2015, Inhofe brought a snowball to the Senate floor and tossed it before delivering remarks in which he said that environmentalists keep talking about global warming even though it keeps getting cold. [89]

Hydraulic fracturing

On March 19, 2015, Inhofe introduced S.828, "The Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act." The bill would transfer regulatory power over hydraulic fracturing from the federal government to state governments. In his announcement of the bill, Inhofe said that hydraulic fracturing has never contaminated ground water in Oklahoma. [90] The U.S. senators from seven states (Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Dakota and Texas) cosponsored the bill. [91]

Paris Agreement

Inhofe co-authored and was one of 22 senators to sign a letter [92] to President Donald Trump urging him to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Inhofe has received over $529,000 from the oil and gas industry since 2012. [93]

Political positions and controversies

Immigration

Inhofe wrote the Inhofe Amendment to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which was debated in Congress in May 2006. The amendment would make English the national language of the United States and require that new citizens take an English proficiency test. The amendment was passed on May 18, 2006, with 32 Democrats, one independent, and one Republican dissenting. The measure had 11 cosponsors, including one Democrat. [94]

LGBT rights

Inhofe pointing at a large photograph of his family, proclaiming none have been divorced or LGBT Inhofefamily-noglbt.png
Inhofe pointing at a large photograph of his family, proclaiming none have been divorced or LGBT

Inhofe has generally been seen as overtly hostile by LGBT advocacy groups, earning a 0% in every one of his terms on Human Rights Campaign's position scorecard. [95] Inhofe is in favor of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, against adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes, and voted against prohibiting job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. [96] Inhofe's office has said he "does not hire openly gay staffers due to the possibility of a conflict of agenda." [97]

Inhofe campaigned for his Senate seat in 1994 using the phrase "God, guns, and gays." [98] [99] In 2008, his campaign was noted by the Associated Press for running an ad with "anti-gay overtones" featuring a wedding cake with two male figures on top, fading into his opponent's face. [100]

GI Bill reform

Inhofe, an initial sponsor of Senator Jim Webb's Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, subsequently withdrew support for this bill to support S 2938, a competing bill that would have provided benefits beyond those offered in Webb's bill. [101] However, Inhofe voted to enact Webb's legislation in June 2008. [102]

Inhofe agreed to support legislation allowing military mental health specialists to talk with veterans about private firearms in an effort to reduce suicides. [103]

Misconduct while piloting an aircraft in 2010

Trained by the U.S. Navy, Inhofe is one of the few members of Congress holding a Commercial Airman certificate. In 1994, when he first ran for the U.S. Senate, he used his plane as a daily campaign vehicle to travel throughout Oklahoma and visit almost every town in the state. [104] He has been influential in Senate and Congressional debates involving aircraft regulation. [105]

On October 21, 2010, at the age of 75, Inhofe landed his Cessna on a closed runway at a south Texas airport, scattering construction workers who ran for their lives. In a recorded telephone call, the men's supervisor told the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that Inhofe "scared the crap out of" the workers, adding that the Cessna "damn near hit" a truck. And the airport manager, also speaking to the FAA in a recorded telephone call, opined: "I've got over 50 years flying, three tours of Vietnam, and I can assure you I have never seen such a reckless disregard for human life in my life. Something needs to be done. This guy is famous for these violations." [106]

In response to the incident, Inhofe stated that he "did nothing wrong", and accused the FAA of "agency overreach" and causing a "feeling of desperation" in him. He agreed to take a remedial training program, and the FAA agreed not to pursue legal action against him if he took the program. In July 2011, Inhofe introduced a bill to create a "Pilot's Bill of Rights", which he said would increase fairness in FAA enforcement actions. [107] The bill was passed in 2012. [108]

Taxpayer-funded travel

Inhofe states that he has made over 140 trips to Africa over about 20 years and helped to get United States Africa Command established. [109] Inhofe has made multiple foreign trips, especially to Africa, on missions that he described as "a Jesus thing" and that were paid for by the U.S. government. He has used these trips for activities on behalf of The Fellowship, a Christian organization. [110] Inhofe has said that his trips included some governmental work but also involved "the political philosophy of Jesus, something that had been put together by Doug Coe, the leader of The Fellowship ... It's all scripturally based." Inhofe used his access as a Senator to pursue religious goals. [111]

Federal disaster relief

Inhofe has consistently voted against federal disaster relief, most notably in the case of relief for the 24 states affected by Hurricane Sandy. [112] However, he argues for federal aid when natural disasters hit Oklahoma. [113] In defense of his decision to vote against a relief fund for Hurricane Sandy, but not in Oklahoma after tornadoes ravaged the state in May 2013, he claimed the situations were "totally different" the difference being the Sandy funding involved "Everybody getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place. That won't happen in Oklahoma." [114] Inhofe pointedly did not thank President Obama for his attention to the tragedy in his state, so as to not be compared to Chris Christie. [115]

2016 Presidential election

Early during the Republican Party presidential primaries in 2016, Inhofe endorsed fellow Republican John Kasich. [116] Since Trump's election, he has voted 94.2% of the time in line with the President's position. [117]

Gun control

In the aftermath of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Inhofe blamed the "culture of sanctuary cities" rather than lax gun control legislation for the shootings. [118]

Conflict of interest stock purchases

In December 2018, Inhofe bought $50,000 to $100,000 worth of stock in Raytheon, a major defense contractor that has billions of dollars' worth of contracts with the Pentagon. The week before, he had successfully lobbied the Trump administration to increase military spending. Ethics watchdogs said the purchase raised conflict of interest concerns, and noted that members of Congress are not allowed to purchase stocks on the basis of information that is not publicly available. Inhofe sold the stock shortly after reporters asked him about the purchase. He said the purchase was made by a third-party adviser who manages Inhofe's investments on his behalf. [119]

Personal life

In 1959, Inhofe married Kay Kirkpatrick, with whom he has four children.[ citation needed ] [120]

On November 10, 2013, Inhofe's son, Dr. Perry Inhofe, died in a plane crash in Owasso, Oklahoma, flying alone for the first time since training in a newly acquired plane. [121]

Inhofe was the first recipient of the U.S. Air Force Academy's Character and Leadership Award for his character and leadership in public service. [122]

Electoral history

Republican primary results [123]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Jim Inhofe88,59458.7
Republican Denzil D. Garrison62,18841.2
Total votes150,782100.00
1974 Oklahoma gubernatorial election
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Democratic David Lyle Boren514,38963.9
Republican Jim Inhofe290,45936
Majority
Turnout
Democratic hold Swing

[123]

Oklahoma's 1st congressional district Republican primary election, 1986
PartyCandidateVotes%+%
RepublicanJames Inhofe19,57554%
RepublicanBill Colvert10,57729%
RepublicanJoan Hastings5,95617%
Oklahoma's 1st congressional district Republican primary election, 1992
PartyCandidateVotes%+%
RepublicanJames Inhofe (inc.)36,35467%
RepublicanRichard Bunn17,33932%
Oklahoma's 1st congressional district : Results 1986–1992 [124]
YearDemocraticVotesPctRepublicanVotesPctThird partyVotesPct
1986 Gary D. Allison61,66343%James Inhofe78,91955%Carl McCullough Jr. (Ind.)3,4552%
1988 Kurt G. Glassco93,10147%James Inhofe103,45853%
1990 Kurt G. Glassco59,52144%James Inhofe75,61856%
1992 John Selph106,61947%James Inhofe119,21153%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election, 1994
PartyCandidateVotes%+%
RepublicanJames Inhofe159,00178%
RepublicanTony Caldwell45,35922%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election, 1996
PartyCandidateVotes%+%
RepublicanJames Inhofe (inc.)116,24175%
RepublicanDan Lowe38,04425%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election, 2008
PartyCandidateVotes%+%
RepublicanJames Inhofe (inc.)116,37184%
RepublicanEvelyn Rogers10,7708%
RepublicanTed Ryals7,3065%
RepublicanDennis Lopez3,8003%
U.S. Senate Republican primary election, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes%+%
RepublicanJames Inhofe (inc.)231,29188%
RepublicanEvelyn Rogers11,9605%
RepublicanErick Paul Wyatt11,7134%
RepublicanRob Moye4,8462%
RepublicanJean McBride-Samuels3,9652%
Oklahoma Senator (Class II): Results 1990–2014 [124] [125]
YearDemocraticVotesPctRepublicanVotesPctThird partyVotesPctThird partyVotesPctThird partyVotesPct
1994 Dave McCurdy 392,48840%James Inhofe542,39055%Danny Corn (Ind.)47,5525%
1996 James Boren 474,16240%James Inhofe670,61057%Bill Maguire (Ind.)15,0921%Agnes Marie Regier (Lib.)14,5951%Chris Nedbalek (Ind.)8,6911%
2002 David Walters 369,78936%James Inhofe583,57957%James Germalic (Ind.)65,0566%
2008 Andrew Rice 527,73639%James Inhofe763,37557%Stephen Wallace (Ind.)55,7084%
2014 Matt Silverstein234,30729%James Inhofe558,16668%Joan Farr (Ind.)10,5541%Ray Woods (Ind.)9,9131%Aaron DeLozier (Ind.)7,7931%

See also

  1. Served as acting chairman in the absence of John McCain from December 2017 – September 6, 2018. [1]

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Sources

Party political offices
Preceded by
Dewey Bartlett
Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma
1974
Succeeded by
Ron Shotts
Preceded by
Stephen Jones
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Oklahoma
(Class 2)

1994, 1996, 2002, 2008, 2014
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert LaFortune
Mayor of Tulsa
1978–1984
Succeeded by
Terry Young
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
James R. Jones
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st congressional district

1987–1994
Succeeded by
Steve Largent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
David Boren
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Oklahoma
1994–present
Served alongside: Don Nickles, Tom Coburn, James Lankford
Incumbent
Preceded by
Jim Jeffords
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Barbara Boxer
Ranking Member of the Senate Environment Committee
2007–2013
Succeeded by
David Vitter
Preceded by
John McCain
Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
2013–2015
Succeeded by
Jack Reed
Preceded by
Barbara Boxer
Chair of the Senate Environment Committee
2015–2017
Succeeded by
John Barrasso
Preceded by
John McCain
Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee
2018–present
Acting: 2017–2018
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Patty Murray
United States Senators by seniority
7th
Succeeded by
Ron Wyden