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Most Oklahoma lawmakers keep full staff working during first day of shutdown

Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, is the only member of the state's congressional delegation to furlough employees, though others may reassess if the shutdown drags on.
by Chris Casteel Published: October 2, 2013

Nearly all of Oklahoma's members of Congress kept their full staffs working on the first day of the government shutdown, though some may reassess if the standoff persists.

Only Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, furloughed some of his workers Tuesday. Six full-time workers from the Washington and Oklahoma offices, along with a shared employee, were told to stay home; that represents about 40 percent of his staff.

Donelle Harder, spokeswoman for Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said, “Currently, the senator's staff is continuing to work, which includes taking constituent phone calls, letters and emails, and working to reach an agreement that restores government operations and is reflective of what the senator has heard from Oklahomans.

“At this time, the staff is working at the same status as essential federal employees, but should the shutdown continue for several days, each staff's status will be re-evaluated.”

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, started Tuesday with a full staff but may start to rotate employees through furlough days if the shutdown continues for several days.

Aaron Forbes, spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, said, “Dr. Coburn believes a government shutdown does not shut down his responsibility to respond to constituent concerns, complete opened casework and conduct rigorous oversight of the federal government.

“Therefore, Dr. Coburn has declared all of his staff essential employees at this time. If the shutdown continues, he will re-evaluate his assessment and make any appropriate adjustments.”

Freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, one of the original boosters of the strategy to defund Obamacare through the must-pass spending bill, also kept his full staff on the job.

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by 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...
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