WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe returned to Washington on Monday and made brief remarks about the recent death of his son, thanking the Senate's chaplain and top leader for the condolences they sent last week on the Senate floor.
“I had a horrible loss eight days ago, losing a son,” Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said on the Senate floor.
“And it was so touching to me, and I want to thank (Senate chaplain) Barry Black, who included a good bit of some things about my son and about me in his opening prayer. And also the comments that were made — the very gentle comments were very helpful ... made by the majority leader. So I want to ... thank Harry Reid very much for the comments he made.”
Inhofe's son, Dr. Perry Inhofe, was killed when his plane crashed Nov. 10 near Owasso. Perry Inhofe would have turned 52 last week. Funeral services were Thursday.
Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader, spoke for a few minutes on the Senate floor last week about Inhofe.
The two are polar opposites politically, but, Reid said, they are “unquestionably friends.”
“I really care a lot about Jim Inhofe,” Reid said last week.
Inhofe, who has also had to recover from quadruple bypass surgery in the past few weeks, showed Monday that he was ready to get back to work.
With debate on the annual defense bill looming, Inhofe laid out his concerns about spending cuts to the Defense Department. And he said he hoped senators would not use the bill to try to attach provisions unrelated to defense.
Inhofe is the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee and will help manage the bill during Senate debate.
He said he hopes to craft an amendment that would gradually phase in the automatic spending cuts — known as the sequester — so military chiefs could avoid more drastic cuts in the current fiscal year.