Chris Casteel
Local News 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.

  • U.S. Supreme Court won't hear Jim Thorpe, other Oklahoma cases

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau   | Updated: 14 hr ago

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene in the legal struggle over Jim Thorpe's remains, dealing a blow to the athlete's sons and Oklahoma tribe that sought to relocate them to the state.

  • U.S. Supreme Court could consider Oklahoma cases in new term

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Published: Sun, Oct 4, 2015

    In the next few weeks, the justices are expected to decide whether to hear Oklahoma's challenge to Colorado's marijuana laws, an Indian gaming dispute and religious liberty cases involving Oklahoma entities challenging the contraception mandate.

  • Oklahoma's military base money is blocked as partisan defense battles continue

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Published: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    A bill that includes $155 million for military construction in Oklahoma, including $50 million at Tinker Air Force Base, was blocked in the Senate.

  • Oklahoma votes are mixed on short-term spending bill averting government shutdown

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Published: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, and James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, voted against the bill to fund government into December, as did Reps. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, and Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa. Reps. Tom Cole, R-Moore; Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne; and Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, voted for it.

  • Purple Heart, lesser prairie chicken provisions stripped from defense bill

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Published: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    A provision that would have provided the Purple Heart to active duty personnel killed in the Oklahoma City bombing was stripped from the defense bill.

  • Purple Heart amendment stripped from defense bill

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Wed, Sep 30, 2015

    WASHINGTON _ Rep. Steve Russell lost his fight, at least for this year, to award the Purple Heart to the six active duty personnel killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. The final version of the defense bill, unveiled on Tuesday, does not include the provision, which was strongly opposed by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Also stripped from the bill was an amendment by Oklahoma Reps. Frank Lucas and Markwayne Mullin to remove the lesser prairie chicken from the threatened species list and the American Burying Beetle from the endangered list. Members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees have been meeting behind closed doors for weeks to resolve differences in the bill that sets Defense

  • Senate advances bill to avoid shutdown this week

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Published: Mon, Sep 28, 2015

    The U.S. Senate took a step Monday toward avoiding another government shutdown later this week, as several Republicans put aside their objections to funding Planned Parenthood on a critical procedural vote.

  • Speaker Boehner will try to resolve thorny issues before leaving, Rep. Tom Cole says

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Published: Sat, Sep 26, 2015

    Oklahoma delegation has kind words for John Boehner after he announced he was stepping down from his speaker of the House position and leaving the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • Oklahoma lawmakers react to speaker's resignation

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    Oklahoma lawmakers reacted Friday to the surprise resignation of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore: “It has been a great personal privilege to serve with Speaker John Boehner. “I’ve had the honor of knowing the Speaker since he was a young freshman Congressman, and I’ve watched his career with admiration and appreciation throughout his time of service. After the 2008 election, most assumed that Republicans would remain in the minority for decades to come. It was because of John Boehner’s determination and leadership that Republicans recaptured the majority in 2010 and retained it in 2012 even as President Obama was re-elected.

  • Pope issues call for Congress to renew spirit of cooperation

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Updated: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    “The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States,” the pope said to a joint meeting of Congress, which also included Cabinet leaders, Supreme Court justices and guests.

  • Oklahoma City Archbishop: "People sense in him a man of God."

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, of Oklahoma City, who sat in the House gallery on Thursday for Pope Francis' address to Congress, said he was proud as an American and a Catholic to have witnessed the speech. "You really had the sense that that was an historic event,'' Coakley said in a phone interview a few hours after the pope's speech. Coakley said the pope was able to touch upon many issues without making his comments seem political. "I just thought it was a well-crafted and very effective speech,'' he said. Coakley was the guest of U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City. Tens of thousands of people turned out to see Pope Francis in his 48 hours in Washington.

  • Inhofe responds to Pope's call to protect the planet

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and an outspoken skeptic of man-made climate change, issued the following statement Thursday after Pope Francis called on Congress to protect the planet. The pope has previously warned that carbon emissions could severely damage the environment. Here is what the pope said to Congress on Thursday: "The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. 'Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world.

  • Few Oklahomans request tickets to see pope speak

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Published: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    Congressional offices receive few requests from Oklahomans for tickets to view pope on TV outside U.S. Capitol.

  • Anti-abortion votes target funding for Planned Parenthood; shutdown possible

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Updated: Tue, Sep 22, 2015

    As expected, Senate Democrats blocked legislation to ban most abortions 20 weeks into a pregnancy. The measure needed 60 votes to clear a procedural hurdle but got 54, with 42 senators voting in opposition.

  • Lankford transparency bill clears Senate

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Published: Tue, Sep 22, 2015

    The Senate passed the bill without dissent Monday. Sen. James Lankford said key details of settlements reached between federal agencies and outside parties are often kept confidential and that even the publicized amount of a settlement can be misleading.

  • Big 12 Commissioner portrays big-time college sports as driven by money

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Published: Mon, Sep 21, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The commissioner of the Big 12 Conference portrayed big-time college sports here on Monday as increasingly surrounded by vice, and he argued against any compensation for players above the cost of attending school. In a speech at the National Press Club, Bob Bowlsby, now in his fourth year as a commissioner, also said the conference is better off without a championship game in the era of football playoffs. And he said there are no plans for the Big 12 to expand beyond ten teams. The Big 12 was shut out of the four-team college playoffs last year, though Baylor University and Texas Christian University were among the top teams in the country. Some argued that neither team was selected because they had been named

  • D.C. Notes for Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Updated: Sat, Sep 19, 2015

    Chris Casteel: Health coverage increased in Oklahoma last year, Census Bureau reports

  • Oklahoma’s five representatives vote for measure

    By CHRIS CASTEEL Washington Bureau | Published: Fri, Sep 18, 2015

    All five U.S. House members from Oklahoma voted Friday for a bill to freeze Planned Parenthood funding for one year and for separate legislation to impose criminal penalties on medical personnel who don’t give care to a baby who survives an attempted abortion.

  • Oklahoma veterans reminisce during 'sobering' visit to World War II Memorial

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Updated: Thu, Sep 17, 2015

    World War II veterans from Oklahoma reminisce about their time served in the military during a visit to the Washington, D.C. As participants on the state's 21st Honor Flight, they were taken to visit the National World War II Memorial.

  • Cherokee Nation would be top Oklahoma recipient under federal settlement with tribes

    By Chris Casteel Washington Bureau | Updated: Thu, Sep 17, 2015

    The $940 million settlement, filed in federal court in New Mexico, was announced by top officials at the Interior and Justice departments on Thursday.