Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 22, 2013

Coburn warns of unfunded liabilities

TAHLEQUAH — srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com

A conservative stalwart to some and a controversial lightning rod to others, Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn was in Tahlequah Wednesday to speak to constituents during a breakfast at Go Ye Village.

The breakfast was arranged by the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce.

“There is some good news coming out of Washington that isn’t talked about,” Coburn said. “We have cut discretionary spending by $160 billion in the last two years. That’s $160 billion we’re not going to borrow against our children.”

Coburn told attendees unfunded federal expenses would nonetheless amount to $73 trillion over the next 30 years.

“The disappointing thing to me over the last few years is that we’ve not addressed those unfunded liabilities,” he said. “We know where the problems are. We know how to address them, but politically we don’t have leadership in Washington (D.C.), either with the president, or in the Republican House (of Representatives), or the Republican leader in the Senate or the Democratic leader in the Senate.”

About 60 were present and asked questions on topics ranging from campaign finance reform to immigration reform to the Affordable Care Act.

Asked about campaign finance reform, Coburn said the issue could be made irrelevant if the U.S. Constitution were amended to place term limits on Congress.

“I don’t think we need campaign finance reform,” he said. “Careerism is the thing that kills us, because the politician focuses on the next election rather than the long-term best benefits for the country. Seventy percent of the Senate has never had a job outside politics. That doesn’t make them bad people, but they are highly limited in terms of real-world experience. The only thing they know is politics.”

Coburn said the Republican Party has no coherent position on immigration reform, adding that he believed immigrants should be welcomed but that border security should be enhanced.

“One of the unique characteristics of our country is immigration, which I believe has helped make us very successful,” he said. “But ... securing borders is an absolute requirement for a country.”

Calling his immigration stance “pretty straightforward,” Coburn said the first priority should be border security, followed by addressing the issue of illegal immigrants already in the U.S.

“There are 11 million people in this country who came here not to cheat, but for opportunity,” he said. “Most are great people but they did break the law. I don’t think we should hand them cards and let them vote, but they should be treated with the respect of any human being who wants to come here to better themselves and help their families.”

Speaking at length on the Affordable Care Act, Coburn contended there was nothing affordable about it.

“It will add about $120 billion a year in costs,” he said. “If an insurance plan doesn’t meet minimum government requirements, it doesn’t qualify. The government tells what a business will offer employees, and about a third of employees in the country will lose the insurance they have today. It also doesn’t address the biggest problem with health care, which is that it costs too much.”

Coburn also spoke on Wednesday afternoon at Northeastern State University.

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2010, Coburn also represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, winning election in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video