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.

  • Sen. Inhofe throws snowball on U.S. Senate floor

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Thu, Feb 26, 2015

    U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, who often points to cold weather to refute global warming, brought a snowball (real Washington DC snow!) to the floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday afternoon and tossed it before delivering  remarks about how President Barack Obama and environmentalists keep talking about global warming but it keeps getting cold. […]

  • Some U.S. Supreme Court justices sympathize with Oklahoman in headscarf case

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Feb 25, 2015

    Several justices seem skeptical that it was Oklahoman Samantha Elauf’s obligation to tell Abercrombie & Fitch she wore a headscarf for religious reasons. Elauf wasn’t hired by the company in 2008 because of the headscarf.

  • Oklahoma 'doughnut hole' savings near $191 million

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Feb 25, 2015

    Oklahoma seniors benefit from gradual narrowing of coverage gap in Medicare’s prescription drug program. The Affordable Care Act aims to mostly close the hole by 2020.

  • President Barack Obama vetoes Keystone XL pipeline bill

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    President says Congress tried to circumvent normal approval process, while lawmakers supporting the pipeline say administration is dragging out the process. Senate Republican leader expected to hold vote to override veto in next week.

  • U.S. Supreme Court is set for arguments in Tulsa retailer, hijab dispute

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Mon, Feb 23, 2015

    U.S. Supreme Court justices must determine whether Abercrombie & Fitch’s decision not to hire a Tulsan because she wore a headscarf was religious discrimination.

  • Oklahoma sees major increase in health insurance enrollment

    By Chris Casteel -- Washington Bureau | Updated: Thu, Feb 19, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Nearly 125,000 Oklahomans bought health insurance on the federal exchange for this year, a major increase over the 2014 enrollment, according to figures released Wednesday by the Obama administration. The state total through Sunday includes 50,110 consumers in the Oklahoma City area who selected or were automatically enrolled in a plan and 32,101 consumers in Tulsa. Nationwide, 11.4 million Americans have signed up or were automatically re-enrolled since Nov. 15. Sunday — the final enrollment day except for those who encountered glitches on an exchange — more people signed up than on any single day since enrollment began in late 2013.

  • D.C. Notes for Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Sun, Feb 15, 2015

    Chris Casteel: Oklahoma senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford team up on energy and same-sex marriage legislation; Lankford’s “faith-based consulting;” Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s weather concerns

  • President Obama asks Congress for authority to attack Islamic State

    By Chris Casteel, | Published: Wed, Feb 11, 2015

    The president sends a long-awaited draft resolution six months after U.S. air strikes began against brutal organization. Key Oklahoma lawmakers on military issues express displeasure with the president’s proposal.

  • Inhofe, Cole respond to Obama's request for force against Islamic State

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Wed, Feb 11, 2015

    Sen. Jim Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Wednesday criticized President Barack Obama’s draft resolution requesting congressional authorization to use military force against the Islamic State, also called ISIL and ISIS. Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said, “My first concern is that the President’s AUMF limits the time frame, which telegraphs the wrong […]

  • Lankford campaign: $40,500 for "faith-based consulting"

    Chris Casteel | Published: Wed, Feb 11, 2015

    WASHINGTON _ Of the $4 million spent last year by James Lankford’s campaign to win a U.S. Senate seat, it was a relatively small amount. But it stands out for its unique _ and perhaps uniquely appropriate _ nature. There among the year-end bonuses and commissions to his staff members and advisers was a payment […]

  • Tax credits to help vast majority of Oklahomans buying health insurance on exchange, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Tue, Feb 10, 2015

    Of the nearly 106,000 Oklahomans who have signed up, four out of five will get federal tax credits. Those subsidies may be struck down later this year by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • In Obamacare case, the views of lawyers and hospitals

    Chris Casteel | Published: Fri, Feb 6, 2015

    Early next month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that will determine whether the basic framework of the Affordable Care Act survives. We’ll have a lot more about the Virginia case as the arguments near, but the single issue is the wording of the 2010 law and whether it allows […]

  • Oklahoma attorney general vows to sue Obama administration over Clean Water Act rule

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Wed, Feb 4, 2015

    At joint hearing on Capitol Hill, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt says EPA wants to claim authority over almost all water, a move that would hinder farming and other businesses. EPA chief says rule seeks to protect major water sources and that traditional agricultural exemptions remain.

  • Air Force formally accepts land for major new repair center at Tinker Air Force Base

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Wed, Feb 4, 2015

    In the works for more than a year, the acquisition of a former rail yard is a step toward fixing the next generation of Air Force refueling planes. Oklahoma City, county and state officials worked with the Air Force to make it happen.

  • Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Steve Russell ends 2014 with little campaign cash, lots of debt

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Updated: Tue, Feb 3, 2015

    Steve Russell, the new Republican U.S. House member from Oklahoma City, had less than $2,500 in his campaign account and nearly $180,000 in debts at the end of December, according to new campaign finance report.

  • Inhofe says Jordan paid "costly price" in fight against Islamic State

    Chris Casteel | Updated: Tue, Feb 3, 2015

    WASHINGTON _ Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, released a statement Tuesday after Jordanian King Abdullah II met with the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill. The meeting came amid the news that the Islamic State had executed a Jordanian pilot by burning him alive. Inhofe visited Jordan last October and met with the king about […]

  • Republicans might let military budget cuts go into effect, Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Tue, Feb 3, 2015

    After criticizing the $4 trillion budget released by the president on Monday, Republicans in control of both houses will have to write their own. The GOP budget might let automatic budget cuts, or “sequestration,” go into effect this year.

  • Senate approval of Keystone XL pipeline is short of veto-proof margin

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Thu, Jan 29, 2015

    Both Oklahoma senators voted to approve the TransCanada project comes after three weeks of debate and a return to the Senate’s long traditions of offering and voting on amendments.

  • U.S. Supreme Court delays Oklahoma executions using disputed drug

    By Chris Casteel, Washington Bureau | Published: Wed, Jan 28, 2015

    In a brief order, the court grants Oklahoma attorney general’s request that no more executions occur until justices have completed their review of the sedative midazolam.

  • Obamacare framers attack lawsuit over subsidies

    Chris Casteel | Published: Wed, Jan 28, 2015

    Key congressional leaders at the time the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 filed a brief with the U.S.  Supreme Court on Wednesday maintaining that federal subsidies for health care coverage were meant to be provided to people in all states. It may be the key brief in the case,  which could determine if […]