Editorial: Bridenstine's first two votes controversial
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, January 12, 2013
1/12/13 at 6:57 AM
You might not agree with him, but the new First District congressman is a man of his word.
At some potential political cost, Rep. Jim Bridenstine, with his first vote, was one of only nine Republican House members who voted against sitting House Speaker John Boehner.
Bridenstine was pressured to vote for Boehner but, he said, he had campaigned to vote against the speaker and he didn't want to break a campaign promise with his first vote. Bridenstine cast his vote for Boehner's right-hand man Eric Cantor, who voted for Boehner.
So far, Bridenstine's vote hasn't seemed to hurt. He retained a promised seat on the House Armed Services Committee and was named vice-chairman of the House Space, Science and Technology Committee's subcommittee on technology.
It is early in the game and it remains to be seen if that first vote will eventually hurt Bridenstine in the House.
His second vote, which he insists was also based on a campaign promise, was more difficult to understand.
He voted no on $9.7 billion for flood insurance funding for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. Bridenstine says although he favors assistance for those affected by the storm and does not oppose disaster relief in principle, he could not cast one of his first votes to add to the national debt. He said the flood insurance program already is $19 billion in debt and cannot be sustained by the premiums intended to support it.
The vote, however, seemed callous in the wake of the devastation of Sandy and the pain still carried by those in its path. The victims in the Northeast have waited too long for help.
And there is this: Oklahoma, along with much of the Southwest, has lingered under prolonged drought. There almost surely will be more wildfires this spring and summer without a lot of rain. Of course, we also sit in Tornado Alley. Oklahomans understand the pain and suffering caused by natural disasters.
We'll likely be applying soon for more disaster aid. In times such as Sandy or damaging tornadoes and droughts, emergencies occur. The federal government is the only viable funding source for relief.
We understand that Bridenstine wants to find other ways to fund such disaster assistance. That's fine. But get the money to the Northeast first and then work on alternate funding sources.
We wish our freshman congressman good luck. We respect his motivations but especially on the Sandy vote, we question his judgment.
Original Print Headline: Questions