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Congressman Jim Bridenstine Votes to Block Rule Requiring States to Grant Funds to Abortion Providers

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Today, Congressman Jim Bridenstine voted to block an Obama Administration regulation which opened a backdoor to funding abortion with taxpayer funds.

Congressman Bridenstine’s statement on passage of H. J. Res. 43 in the U.S. House:

“Congress is moving to block numerous regulations finalized late in Mr. Obama’s presidency.  This particular ‘Midnight Rule’ was designed to support the abortion industry.  If enacted, this rule would have prohibited states from denying Federal grants to abortion providers.  I’m proud that the House acted to start the process of repealing this rule.”

Congressman Bridenstine’s extended commentary on Title X funds is available at: http://bridenstine.house.gov/blog/?postid=616

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Votes to Block Methane Rule

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Today, Congressman Bridenstine voted to promote Oklahoma’s energy industry by supporting H.J.Res. 36, legislation to block the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) overreaching and duplicative methane emissions rule.  The bill passed the House 221-191.

In the 11th hour of the Obama administration, the BLM rushed through an unnecessary and duplicative mandate that hinders energy production in Oklahoma, increases production costs, and raises prices for consumers and businesses across the United States. The regulation aims to reduce methane emissions from natural gas production on federal and Indian lands, driving down production and federal and tribal revenues.  Federal on-shore natural gas production declined 18 percent from 2010 to 2015, compared to a 55 percent increase on state and private lands. The industry has voluntarily reduced methane emissions by substantial amounts, capturing value, while still increasing production. Furthermore, the BLM lacks the authority and expertise to regulate air quality, which is already regulated by the EPA and the states.


Several of the “midnight regulations” issued late in the Obama term are being reviewed under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Congress has authority to review and block regulations within sixty legislative days of their finalization. Once H.J.Res. 36 is passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the BLM Methane Rule cannot take effect, and the agency may not reissue a rule that is similar.


Congressman Bridenstine said, “The Obama era brought regulation after regulation hindering production and innovation in oil and gas. Today’s vote is a step in the right direction for the industry and for the people of Oklahoma."

 

Bridenstine Statement on Executive Order on Immigration

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President Trump's Executive Order on immigration is simply a pause, similar to ones issued by previous presidents including Mr. Obama. The temporary pause affects only seven terror prone countries so we can better vet people coming into the United States.  The goal is to balance security with access. There is no ban on any religion.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Votes to Permanently Ban Taxpayer Funding for Abortion

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Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to permanently prohibit use of federal funds to pay for abortions or for purchasing insurance plans that cover abortions, with certain limited exceptions.

Since 1976, the “Hyde Amendment” has been included on appropriations bills.  Today’s legislation (H.R. 7) would make the prohibitions permanent and applies them to all federal funds.  It would also ban abortions in federal facilities and by federally employed healthcare professionals.  Health benefits under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) could not include coverage of abortions.  Obamacare “exchange subsidies” and cost-sharing subsidies for plans that offer abortion coverage would be disallowed.  Further, no multi-state plans under Obamacare could include abortion coverage.

The bill does not prohibit individuals, entities, or non-federal governments from purchasing abortion coverage with non-federal funds.

Between enactment and January 1, 2018, when the bill goes into effect, insurance providers would be required to fully inform consumers about abortion coverage and surcharges.

Congressman Bridenstine said, “By making the Hyde Amendment permanent across the entire federal government, we are saving lives and conserving taxpayer dollars.  A majority of Americans agree that the federal government should not fund abortions.  Obamacare broke with the long-standing prohibition and uses taxpayer dollars to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions.

“I believe that all human life is sacred and begins at conception.  I am very pleased to help pass this legislation.  Unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected by law, not killed using federal funds.  As a nation that values every individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we should always choose on the side of life.

“I salute the millions of Americans who have joined in the March for Life.  Tulsa celebrated this annual event last weekend, and a large group of my constituents are coming to DC to march on Friday.” 

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Votes for First Step in Repealing Obamacare

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Today, Congressman Jim Bridenstine joined 227 Members of the House to take the first step in repealing Obamacare.  The bill starts the so-called “reconciliation” process for repealing Obamacare.  The Senate passed this bill early Thursday, calling for committees to prepare the repeal legislation by January 27.

Obamacare has failed Oklahoma businesses and families.  Premiums for Obamacare-compliant insurance plans skyrocketed in 2017.  Premiums in Oklahoma increased over 70% on average while the national average was about 25%.  Insurers have fled the exchanges all across America, and in Oklahoma only one carrier remains.  Sooners are left with fewer options at higher costs.  

Congressman Bridenstine said, “It’s time for Republicans to deliver on their promises to fully repeal Obamacare.” 

Obamacare Fails Oklahomans

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WASHINGTON— Obamacare has failed Americans all across the nation. But Oklahoma in particular is a case study for its failure and the negative impact on insured individuals. As a state that saw 2017 premiums increase an average of 76 percent and as one of only five states with just one insurer participating in the federal exchange, you could argue that Oklahoma has been hit the hardest by Obama’s failed health care policy. All five of our congressional districts have constituents who are adversely impacted by Obamacare.

A small business owner in Oklahoma City believes that Obamacare is negatively impacting his business. Graciously, he has always paid for half of his employee’s health insurance premiums. In three years under Obamacare, this employer’s out of pocket expenses have more than doubled. Obamacare has given him two choices: drop the health insurance benefit and potentially lose quality employees, or go out of business.

A mother of three was an accountant before quitting to raise her family and help her husband start his small business, so when Obamacare came along, she knew how to analyze their options. She made the rational decision to pay the fines, save the value of premiums and high deductibles, and effectively self-insure. Under Obamacare, she became uninsured, and she will be thousands of dollars ahead – as long as she avoids catastrophic illness.

After celebrating a successful harvest, a cotton farming family in southwest Oklahoma was shocked when they learned their health insurance premiums would nearly double under Obamacare. All of their concerns about issues like EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule or the continuation of certain Farm Bill provisions suddenly paled in comparison to Obamacare. They’re now worried that the sudden spike in expenses for their family, not to mention a $6,000 deductible, threatens the future of their farming operation.

One couple in rural Oklahoma was forced to sell their small business a few years ago due to the husband’s sharp decline in health. When they signed up for Obamacare, the most affordable option was a $6,000 deductible and a $1,200 copay. Even worse, the prescriptions they need to fill are “Tier 4,” the section that has the highest copay. All doctors and hospitals under their plan are far from their home and it is almost impossible to schedule a timely appointment with a doctor when they find themselves ill.

A Southern Baptist pastor in eastern Oklahoma is well taken care of by his church, except they do not provide health insurance. His family’s previous health care plan was cancelled in December, so he used Healthcare.gov, which failed to function properly, and was left with a plan that more than tripled their premium. A steadfast believer, the pastor is left with only the belief that God will provide for his pregnant wife, two year old son, and the baby on the way.

Sadly, these stories represent only a sliver of the number of Oklahomans feeling the ill effects of Obamacare. More and more Oklahomans are grappling with the crippling consequences of a failed health care law that is anything but affordable. It doesn’t take long to find a neighbor, a friend, or a community member who is suffering the ill effects of Obamacare. More than 4.7 million Americans were kicked off their health care plan after being promised that they could keep it. Sixty percent of Americans have seen an increase in their deductibles in addition to the average 22 percent increase in their 2017 premiums. The burden Obamacare placed on families, employers, and individuals never seems to end.

Thankfully, House Republicans want to make sure the Obamacare buck stops here. Our goal is to bring the American people more choices and lower costs, without mandating your plan or your coverage. By opening a free market to encourage competing plans and options, Americans can return once again to a health care market that provides access to affordable and reliable health insurance for Americans everywhere, particularly in our home state of Oklahoma.

Lucas-Bridenstine Weather Forecasting Bill Passed in the House

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Today the U.S. House unanimously approved H.R. 353, the Lucas-Bridenstine Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.  This legislation prioritizes protecting lives and property.

Every minute counts in the lead up before a major storm or tornado,” said Congressman Frank Lucas. “This legislation helps to give those in harm’s way additional disaster preparation time which could ultimately be the difference between life and death or thousands of dollars in property damage. I am encouraged that the House has taken action on this critical matter and hope to see these life-saving policies enacted soon.”

“Our aim is to have zero deaths from tornadoes and other extreme weather events,” said Congressman Jim Bridenstine. “This bill gets us closer to that day.  I thank my House colleagues for their support, and anticipate swift Senate passage and that the President will sign it into law.”

This legislation is the product of a bipartisan effort.  It directs the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus resources and effort to:

  • Rebalance NOAA funding to place a higher priority on weather-related research and activities;
  • Emphasize developing accurate forecasts and timely warnings of high impact weather events;
  • Create programs to extend warning lead times and improve forecasts for tornadoes and hurricanes;
  • Develop a plan to utilize advanced technology to regain U.S. superiority in weather modeling and forecasts;
  • Increase focus and continue development of seasonal forecasts and how to maximize information from these forecasts; and
  • Enhance coordination among various federal government weather stakeholders.

The legislation also authorizes and extends a NOAA pilot program already under way thanks to a partnership between the House Science Space and Technology and the House Appropriations Committee. Under this pilot program, NOAA has already issued two contracts to procure commercial satellite weather data. This pilot program could bring about a paradigm shift in how NOAA makes decisions about future procurement of critical weather data.

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith added, "Americans from coast to coast will now be better prepared for severe weather with the passage of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.  This bill has been four years in the making and is long overdue.  It will transform our nation’s weather gathering efforts and help save lives and property.  This legislation strengthens the underlying atmospheric science while simultaneously advancing innovative technology and reforming operations to provide better weather data, models, and forecasts.  America can thank Reps. Lucas and Bridenstine for leading this innovation initiative.  We look forward to the Senate approving this bill soon."

The Washington Post called this “the first major piece of weather legislation adopted since the early 1990s.”  The legislation, originally introduced in the House in 2013, passed the House in 2015, and last December the Senate approved an amended version.  Provisions in the bill approved today are nearly identical to the Senate version, so we can anticipate swift passage again in the Senate and presentation to the President for signing into law.

Links to videos of remarks on the House floor:

Congressman Lucas- https://youtu.be/FmXeb1z7RTw
Congressman Bridenstine- https://youtu.be/tvR19_RzbDw
Chairman Smith- https://youtu.be/bWvm6IeBZns


Congressman Jim Bridenstine Votes for Reining in Bureaucratic Regulations

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Today, Congressman Jim Bridenstine voted for H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act or the REINS Act.  The bill passed the House of Representatives 237/187.

Under the Obama Administration, unelected bureaucrats have used expansive and intrusive new regulations to fundamentally remake the American economy.  The REINS Act would help restore Congress’s constitutional power to make law, by requiring an up-or-down vote in Congress and the President’s signature to approve any major regulation which has an annual economic impact of over $100 million.

Congressman Bridenstine said: “Congress has ceded too much power to the executive branch, leading to an avalanche of red tape and new rules which are strangling economic growth, punishing job creators, and making life harder for families.  The REINS Act will help rebalance the scales and give Congress a bigger voice in the regulatory process.”

Today’s vote marks the third time the House has passed the REINS Act since 2012. President-Elect Trump has confirmed he will sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.

It's Time for Term Limits

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Yesterday, Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) along with Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) reintroduced a bipartisan Joint Resolution in support of Congressional term limits. If adopted, the Constitutional amendment they are proposing would allow Congress to pass laws to limit the number of terms that a Representative or Senator may serve.

Bridenstine stated, “Members of Congress need to spend more time working for their constituents and spend less time focusing on their next election.”

O’Rourke added, “Because members of Congress will no longer be exclusively focused on their own re-elections, term limits will help bring urgency and courage when it comes to addressing our nation’s problems and opportunities.”

In 2013, Bridenstine and O’Rourke coauthored an op-ed in Politico when they originally offered the Constitutional amendment.  Op-ed below:

Checking the power of incumbency

Many in our country and in the districts we represent feel that Congress is out of touch and that members are more focused on reelection than on providing real solutions to our nation’s biggest challenges. We hear from constituents all the time that there is a lack of urgency and focus when it comes to solving our country’s toughest issues — like tackling the deficit and putting policies in place that will lead to economic growth.


The two of us, freshman members from different parties with divergent views on many issues, have come together because we believe a healthy debate is warranted on how we best serve the American people and whether, in a time of enormous powers of incumbency and multimillion-dollar campaigns for Congress, we can be better public servants and curb the corrupting influence of money and power by limiting a member’s term in office.

Public opinion in favor of term limits for members of Congress is unquestionable. A Gallup Poll released this past January reflects the same trend seen year after year from countless reputable research firms. Overall, 75 percent of American adults responding to the survey were in favor of implementing term limits and the support is unanimous across party lines.

That support stands in stark contrast to the overall approval rating of Congress, which hovers around 15 percent. Despite the unpopularity of Congress as a whole, sitting members still win reelection about 90 percent of the time, reflecting the overwhelming benefits of incumbency. A system that rewards poor performance with job security is clearly in need of a shake-up. Congressional term limits could be the change needed to steer the institution back in the right direction.

Our proposal is a simple constitutional amendment. It does not prescribe the number of terms a member can serve; rather, it gives Congress the constitutional authority to pass and implement term limits. The reason for this structure is that by taking away the details from the amendment process, the likelihood of passage increases. We believe that even members who are philosophically opposed to term limits would support a constitutional amendment providing the legislative branch with the ability to debate and vote on the issue.

Despite widespread popularity, congressional term limits are incredibly difficult to implement because doing so requires a constitutional amendment with two-thirds of both chambers as well as ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures. Having supermajorities agree on the details of term limits, including the exact number of terms, is nearly impossible. Since 1995, there have been several attempts to move specific term limits amendments, but all have ended right where they began by being voted down in the House.

Previous efforts also have failed because the only people who can begin the process to impose term limits are those who would be most affected — incumbent members of Congress. By voting in favor of, or even publicly supporting a term limits amendment, members of Congress can be exposed to charges of hypocrisy or disingenuousness if they don’t also voluntarily limit their term of service. This has a chilling effect on those who would otherwise support term limit efforts.

Congress owes the American people action on term limits, including a new approach that actually stands a chance of becoming law. Our approach provides the flexibility needed to enact laws on term limits by a simple majority and to allow future generations to decide the term limit law that works best for them through the regular legislative process.

For far too long, Congress has failed to give the people what they clearly want. We should pass this amendment and finally put that power in their hands.

Politico.com