Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where The Oklahoman has had a full-time bureau for more than 70 years. While there, Casteel has covered Oklahoma people and issues in Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court and federal agencies and courts in the Washington area. He reported on the Anita Hill hearings, the impeachment and trial of former President Bill Clinton, the federal investigation of former state Sen. Gene Stipe and numerous elections. He has been to 11 national political conventions and five presidential inaugurations.

Top Stories


  • More than $5 million made way into Republican race to replace Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Wed, Jul 23, 2014

    The U.S. Senate primary race to replace Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn was short, intense and expensive, as two Republican lawmakers and dark money groups invested millions in winning Coburn’s seat.

  • Courts issue conflicting decisions on key challenges to Obamacare

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Tue, Jul 22, 2014

    Issue over tax subsidies may ultimately be decided by U.S. Supreme Court. White House says there is no immediate impact on millions of Americans — including an estimated 55,000 Oklahomans — who will receive subsidies to purchase health insurance.

  • Split decisions rendered on Obamacare tax subsidies

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Tue, Jul 22, 2014

    WASHINGTON _Two federal appeals courts issued contradictory decisions Tuesday on whether the Affordable Care Act allows people to get tax credits for health insurance purchased on federal exchanges. The circuit court based here ruled 2-1 that the tax subsidies are available only on policies bought on exchanges established by states. However, the 4th U..S. Circuit […]

  • Oklahoma lawmakers reiterate opposition to using Fort Sill as shelter for unaccompanied minors

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    Most members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation say the U.S. Army artillery post should not house children past the October deadline.

  • Oklahoma lawmakers reiterate opposition to Fort Sill as shelter for minors

    Chris Casteel | Published: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

    WASHINGTON _ Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation said Monday they don’t want Fort Sill, the U.S. Army artillery post near Lawton, used to house unaccompanied alien children past the October deadline. The delegation’s comments came after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved a request from the Health and Human Services Department to house up to 5,000 […]

  • Appeals court rules Oklahoma ban on same-sex marriage violates U.S. Constitution

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals puts same-sex marriages on hold in Oklahoma until U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to hear appeal in Utah or Oklahoma cases.

  • Senate panel OKs funding for AWACS planes at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    The Senate Senate Appropriations Committee’s approval of AWACS funding virtually assures that the current complement of command-and-control aircraft at Oklahoma’s Tinker Air Force Base will survive another year.

  • Senate Republicans block effort to reverse Hobby Lobby decision

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Jul 16, 2014

    Democrats fall just short of necessary votes to advance legislation aimed at requiring for-profit companies to comply with birth control mandate in Affordable Care Act.

  • U.S. Senate nears test vote to reverse Hobby Lobby ruling

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2014

    Democrats not likely to get enough Republican support to advance legislation reversing Supreme Court decision that allows some for-profit companies to deny coverage of contraceptives.

  • Obama administration wants to place 5,000 more unaccompanied minors on U.S. military bases and extend their stays

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Thu, Jul 10, 2014

    Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole criticizes request, which may mean more children at Fort Sill in his district for longer than the 120 days first approved.

  • Bridenstine to bring Tennessee congresswoman on Fort Sill tour

    Chris Casteel | Published: Thu, Jul 10, 2014

    U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, plans to bring a colleague along Saturday for his tour of the Fort Sill facility housing unaccompanied minors who recently crossed the southern U.S. border. Bridenstine, who has been in a week-long struggle with the Department of Health and Human Services over a visit to the facility, said U.S. Rep. […]

  • Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe announces deal to save program for rural fire departments

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Jul 9, 2014

    A Defense Department agency says it will continue to make surplus equipment available to rural firefighters, but Sen. Jim Inhofe says the modified arrangement will mean more red tape for Oklahoma’s fire departments.

  • U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn says it was illegal to bar U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine from Fort Sill facility housing minors

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Jul 9, 2014

    At a Senate hearing, the Oklahoma Republican grills an Obama administration official about the tight control over facilities used to shelter minors streaming over the southern U.S. border.

  • Inhofe secures equipment deal for rural firefighters

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Wed, Jul 9, 2014

    WASHINGTON _ Sen. Jim Inhofe has brokered a deal to allow rural fire departments continued access to surplus military vehicles that don’t meet Environmental Protection Agency emission standards. Inhofe, R-Tulsa, began working with the EPA and the Department of Defense after The Oklahoman reported last week rural firefighters would no longer be able to use […]

  • White House seeks $3.7 billion for border crisis

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    With tens of thousands of immigrant children in federal custody, the administration says it needs the money for border patrol, caring for minors and the deportation process. Fort Sill in Oklahoma is housing some of the minors.

  • Rep. Tom Cole: White House not telling truth about illegal minors

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, said Tuesday he would listen to the Obama administration’s arguments for needing nearly $4 billion to deal with the current wave of illegal aliens. “I recognize that we have a real problem,” said Cole, a key member of the House Appropriations Committee. “What I have to know is that the administration […]

  • Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine wants “unfettered access” to Fort Sill facility holding minors

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Mon, Jul 7, 2014

    The federal department running the facility for unaccompanied children from Central American countries says U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine can visit on July 12, but the Oklahoma congressman also wants to drop in unannounced.

  • Bridenstine demands "unfettered access" to Fort Sill facility for children

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Mon, Jul 7, 2014

    WASHINGTON _ Rep. Jim Bridenstine has put the Obama administration on notice that he plans to make recurring visits to the Fort Sill facility housing some of the unaccompanied alien children who have been streaming across the U.S. border from Central America. Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, released a letter Monday morning that he wrote to an official, […]

  • U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine says he was denied access to Fort Sill facility housing young illegal immigrants

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Jul 2, 2014

    U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine says he was told to make an appointment and wait about three weeks, which he considers excessive, to visit an Oklahoma facility housing young illegal immigrants.

  • Bridenstine: I couldn't get in to see illegal minors at Fort Sill (updated)

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Wed, Jul 2, 2014

    Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, said he was denied access Tuesday to the Fort Sill facility housing unaccompanied minors who have illegally crossed the U.S. border. Bridenstine made a visit to the Health and Human Services Department facility at the U.S. Army post in southwestern Oklahoma and was told he couldn’t enter and should email an […]