WASHINGTON — Rep. James Lankford, who is running for the last two years of Sen. Tom Coburn’s term, says he wants to continue the government oversight work Coburn has emphasized.
No matter who is president, federal bureaucracies can get out of control and Congress must hold them accountable, the Oklahoma City Republican said.
“It requires real oversight and it requires real attention,” he said in an interview Wednesday.
Lankford, 46, has been in the U.S. House since 2011, representing the district that includes most of Oklahoma County and Pottawatomie and Seminole counties. He and state Rep. T.W. Shannon, of Lawton, are the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for the seat held by Coburn, R-Muskogee, since 2005.
As chairman of a House Oversight subcommittee, Lankford has taken up some of Coburn’s causes, including fraud in entitlement programs and duplication across government agencies. Lankford has also held oversight hearings on energy, health care and environmental issues.
As a member of the House Budget Committee, he has supported controversial budget blueprints that changed the way Medicare would operate for future seniors. In his freshman year, he voted for a Republican budget that would have essentially ended the government-run program in a decade and given future seniors money to buy health coverage from private insurance companies.
Ultimately, he said, the path to a balanced budget is going to have to go through entitlements. The budget control act of 2011 has meant new restraint in much government spending, he said, and the annual deficit has dropped from $1.4 trillion to $550 billion in the last few years.