Bridenstine remains critical of House Speaker Boehner
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
2/28/13 at 12:51 PM
U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine said Monday that House Speaker John Boehner should refuse to allow any votes on the floor of the U.S. House until the Obama administration and Senate Democrats come up with a plan for spending cuts.
"The president would have to come to the table to reform what really needs to be reformed, which are the mandatory spending programs - Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security," Bridenstine told a town hall meeting of about 125 people at the CityPlex Towers.
Bridenstine said he and Boehner "had a very frank conversation" after the freshman Republican cast his first vote as U.S. representative for someone other than Boehner for speaker. Whatever understanding they may have reached, it apparently didn't include toning down criticism of Boehner's leadership.
Bridenstine said Monday that Boehner was the "one person" responsible for not coming to a permanent solution to the federal government's deficit problem.
"If we want to stand up to this administration, it only takes one person," he said. "There's only one person (who) determines what we vote on in the House of Representatives, and that one person is Speaker Boehner.
"If he would stand up from the speaker's chair and say, 'We're not going to hear a single piece of legislation until we have spending controls on the United States government ...,' I think we would see a shift in this country.
"The issue, in my opinion, is that Speaker Boehner is nervous that if he were to stand up and say that, ... then the stock market might go down and our credit worthiness might be downgraded," Bridenstine said.
"But all of these things would be temporary until we got spending under control. Then we'd see economic growth and the markets return."
Bridenstine took further issue with Republican leaders' strategy in negotiating the series of financial issues ahead.
Noting that Budget Chairman Paul Ryan said last week that he expects sequestration - a process of automatic spending cuts - to come into play, Bridenstine said Republicans appear to be willing to weaken the military in order to get what they want on entitlements.
"That's supposed to drive Democrats to the table to negotiate," he said. "I don't think that's the proper use of the United States military."
Among those attending Monday's event were state Labor Commissioner Mark Costello and John Olson, the Democrat whom Bridenstine defeated in the November general election.
Sitting in the middle of the second row with his wife Zsa Olson, he said later he was "just being a good citizen."
He submitted a written question to Bridenstine, asking whether his vote against emergency aide to the northeast United States after Hurricane Sandy would be the same if a similar situation occurs in Oklahoma.
Bridenstine said it would.
"What we have to do as a nation right now, in our current fiscal crisis, is that we have to find where the money will come from," he said.
Bridenstine said the first of the two relief bills perpetuated an insolvent flood insurance program and that the second included a lot of irrelevant or unnecessary spending.
He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is sufficiently funded to have handled the storms in the Northeast.
Original Print Headline: Bridenstine critical of House leader
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., speaks during a town hall meeting at CityPlex Towers on Monday evening. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World
Paul Sullivan of Jenks asks a question of Rep. Jim Bridenstine about FEMA-required flood insurance during a town hall meeting Monday evening. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World