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Congressman Jim Bridenstine Supports Conscience Protection

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Today, the House passed landmark pro-life legislation to stop abortion coercion.  The Conscience Protection Act prohibits government from penalizing or retaliating against any health care provider who refuses to participate in abortion activities, or insurers who refuse to provide coverage.  The bill also creates a right to sue for anybody forced to violate their consciences on abortion.

Congressman Bridenstine said:  “I believe that abortion takes the life of an unborn child and harms women.  Even if some disagree with that, we can all agree that government should respect everyone’s freedom to NOT participate in abortions.  Government should not require hospitals, doctors, nurses and insurances plans to carry out, assist in, or pay for abortions.  The Conscience Protection Act enhances important protections against abortion coercion.  The Senate should waste no time in getting this bill to the President’s desk.”  

Federal law has protected conscience rights on abortion since the 1970s across the private sector.  In 2005, the “Weldon Amendment” expanded these rights to cover institutions receiving government funds.  Now, state and local governments, including California and New York, are increasingly threatening to withhold funding to coerce insurers to provide abortion coverage and pro-life hospitals, doctors, and nurses to participate in abortion activities.

When government engages in abortion coercion, the only available remedy is filing complaints to the Department of Health and Human Services.  Predictably, HHS has slow-rolled its response.  Bridenstine added, “That’s why the Conscience Protection Act is so important: the pro-life community needs standing to sue, not more paperwork to fill out.”

Bridenstine-backed bill aims to improve weather data through private companies

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WASHINGTON, D.C. —

Rep. Jim Bridenstine is supporting a bill aimed at providing improved weather data for forecasters.

The bill would allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to purchase weather data from private companies, something it currently does not do.

The Oklahoma Republican said the public may get improved warnings by using data from privately owned satellites instead of only relying on government satellites.

“It should improve the model. In some cases, it may be better than the government satellites,” Bridenstine said.

Bridenstine also said it would give the government a fail-safe, should aging weather satellites stop functioning before their replacements are launched.

The information will still be sent out in the same ways it is now.

“The National Weather Service will provide the warning,” Bridenstine said.

In an early form of this article, we reported he wanted to privatize weather forecasting and that the National Weather Service should stop issuing warnings.

He told FOX23, that is absolutely, not true.

Bridenstine said he thinks of the National Weather Service as being in line with the military, police and firefighters.

“There is a government role to protect lives and property,” Bridenstine said.

Original Article on Fox23.com

 

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Opposes Puerto Rico Bill

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I voted against the PROMESA Act, legislation to manage Puerto Rico’s $118 billion in debt and unfunded pension obligations.  PROMESA (HR 5278) would establish a seven-member Oversight Board empowered to manage the island’s public finances, restructure its debt burden, and restore economic growth.  

Rather than intervene, Congress should allow the creditor-debtor negotiation and litigation processes to move forward.  Reliance on voluntary negotiation and the courts better protects property rights and U.S. taxpayers from future bailouts.  Negotiation-and-litigation also avoids setting a dangerous precedent and incentivizing irresponsible lending and borrowing.   


We should remember two important facts:

  • Corrupt and incompetent Puerto Rican politicians largely created this financial mess through decades of mismanagement.  For example, the island’s business environment is so rancid that it’s easier to get a construction permit in Bangladesh and Bulgaria.  Politicians in Washington D.C. compounded the damage by distorting the Puerto Rican economy through special tax breaks and tax-exempt bonds, thus making its economy too dependent on tax shelters, corporate subsidiaries, and cheap loans. 
  • Congress has already provided plenty of assistance.  For example, Puerto Ricans do not pay Federal income tax.  More recently, the trillion-dollar “Omnibus” spending bill gave Puerto Rico an $850 million Medicare bailout.   

Puerto Rico needs less “help” from Washington D.C., not more.  Yet, PROMESA essentially provides Puerto Rico access to Chapter 9 bankruptcy, a tool currently only available to U.S. municipalities such as cities and counties.  Chapter 9 includes a disturbing “cram down” mechanism which compels all creditors in a class (e.g., secured senior bondholders) to accept a single payment plan, which picks winners and losers and violates basic contract property rights.

Absent “help” from DC, Puerto Rico and its creditors are highly motivated to reach voluntary debt restructuring deals without jamming up the courts.  Puerto Rico wants to avoid outright default and to regain access to capital markets.  On the other side, most creditors understand they will get less than their bond’s value, but they don’t want to spend millions on lawyers and years in court.

We have seen this before.  In 1995, Congress instituted a Control Board to manage the District of Columbia’s finances.  In 1998, Congress passed new legislation which assumed DC’s entire $5 billion unfunded pension liability.  It took three years, but eventually taxpayers were stuck with the bill.  We don’t need to repeat that on a larger scale.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Invites Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt to Testify

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Congressman Jim Bridenstine invited Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to testify on the impact Obama Administration regulations are having on the state of Oklahoma.  The hearing topic is “The Impact of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on States.”

The Congressman chaired a hearing of the Environment Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Thursday at 9:30 AM (Eastern Time).  Pruitt will be the lead witness.  Also testifying will be Brianne Gorod, Chief Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center, and Charles McConnell, Executive Director, Energy and Environment Initiative, Rice University.

Bridenstine said, “I am pleased to have Attorney General Scott Pruitt testify.  He has been an outspoken advocate for states’ rights against this egregiously overreaching Administration.  The EPA’s Clean Power Plan will have a dramatic, negative impact on our state of Oklahoma and the entire nation – all for very little benefit.”

Pruitt commented, “Both the democratic process and the constitution have been ignored in the EPA’s effort to implement the Administration’s Clean Power Plan by rule.”

You can watch the full hearing here.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Supports National Defense

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This evening, Congressman Jim Bridenstine voted for HR 4909, the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The annual defense authorization bill establishes both funding levels for the military and Department of Defense policy.   Congress has passed NDAA for 53 years in a row.

Bridenstine commented, “NDAA supports our warfighters and their families by authorizing a pay increase and expanding access to medical care.  It helps restore combat readiness and stops terrible Obama Administration policies such as transferring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to the United States.  I am pleased that NDAA adopted three major amendments I sponsored plus numerous provisions from my bill, the American Space Renaissance Act.”

Among other important provisions, the bill authorized the following:

  • Fully funds military pay increase and blocks President Obama’s ability to reduce troop pay.
  • Prohibits Obama Administration from transferring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to the United States.
  • Expands access to urgent care for military families.
  • Extends hours at military primary care clinics.
  • Establishes new trauma centers at military medical centers.

Congressman Bridenstine sponsored three major amendments included in the bill:

  • Expand U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports.

Codifies 30-day limit for Department of Energy (DOE) to issue final decisions on LNG export applications. 

  • Prevent re-listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken (LPC) and de-list American Burying Beetle (ABB) from Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

ESA mandates on LPC and ABB are costly, unnecessary and would impact daily operations and expansion of Oklahoma military installations.

  • Prohibit housing unaccompanied alien children on U.S. military installations. 

Military bases are for training and preparing troops for combat and should not be used for non-defense missions.  The Obama Administration should use some of the 77,000 vacant or underutilized Federal buildings.


Additionally, NDAA includes other provisions that Congressman Bridenstine sponsored and worked on that support Oklahoma’s National Guard, including:
  • Redirected funding to procure F-16 simulators.  The 138th Fighter Wing at Tulsa Air National Guard Base flies F-16s.
  • Redirected funding to support critical requirements for National Guard State Partnership Program.

Congressman Bridenstine recently introduced HR 4945, the American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA), groundbreaking legislation to enact bold reforms across military, civil, and commercial space sectors.  Congressman Bridenstine worked to have 10 specific provisions for ASRA included in NDAA including the following: 

  • Establishing a pilot program for the Air Force to buy, test, and evaluate commercial weather data.  Utilizing data provided by innovative private sector weather companies can lower costs to taxpayers, produce better weather products for the warfighter, and complicate the targeting solutions of our enemies by distributing space architectures.
  • Redirecting funding to jump start a pilot program to test next-generation satellite communications (SATCOM) technologies.  Private sector SATCOM companies are offering leap-ahead capacity for commercial customers.  The Department of Defense should take advantage of this through a pilot program.
  • Modifies SATCOM Analysis of Alternatives to ensure accurate cost estimates and full consideration of commercial SATCOM technologies.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Condemns Executive Overreach into School Bathrooms

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Congressman Jim Bridenstine stated, “We must stand against President Obama’s aggressive attempts to fundamentally transform America.  Congress must use the ‘power of the purse’ to combat this executive overreach.  Parents and schools should assert their rights to govern themselves and not submit to Obama’s lawless federal bullying.”

Congressman Bridenstine is joining Members of Congress in a letter to the President condemning his recent directive about gender identity and school bathrooms.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine: Congress “Disarms” Prairie Chicken

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The Lesser Prairie Chicken has been a thriving neighbor to U.S. military bases and energy industry operations across the Southwest.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week acknowledged the success of conservation efforts and the birds’ tenacity, deciding to not pursue relisting it as a threatened species.

“This has long been an effort by Members of Congress from Oklahoma.  I’m glad the USFWS has received the message,” said Congressman Jim Bridenstine.  Bridenstine led the effort last week amending the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act to prevent re-listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken for five years.  In that debate he said, “With my amendment to the NDAA, we can ensure the various state and private conservation plans have time to work.  Re-listing the LPC would impact military readiness by impeding operations and expansions at the seven military bases within the species’ historic range.”

Congressman Bridenstine applauded Senator Inhofe for this success, “Special credit is due to Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe for leading the charge over many years to allow states and local stakeholders to conserve the LPC without interference from Washington D.C.” 

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Congressman Jim Bridenstine Works to Remove Impediments to Military Readiness

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“Restoring military readiness means lifting burdens on our military installations where possible and reasonable” Congressman Bridenstine said.  “The U.S. military takes great pains to comply with the many regulations imposed by the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  ESA imposes costs on our military every day.  We need to balance those costs against the imperative of training and preparing the force.” 

The Congressman noted errors in the studies for the original listings of two species, the Lesser Prairie Chicken and the American Burying Beetle.  The LPC has already been de-listed.  Both species are subjects of repopulation efforts and are thriving.  Neither species is endangered or threatened, but both hinder military readiness.

Bridenstine further explained, “The McAlester Army ammunition plant in Eastern Oklahoma sits squarely in the Beetle’s known range.  The plant jumps through hoops every day to deal with the ESA requirements and future plans to expand and modify the plant are impacted, too.  We shouldn’t be burdening this Army ammunition plant or any other military installation for a species which is clearly thriving.

“There are seven military bases within the historic range of the Chicken, including in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma.  All of these installations would face significant impacts if the LPC is relisted, particularly in terms of future expansion.  Before we jeopardize readiness, let’s give time for the state-based conservation program to work.” 

The amendment was approved as part of the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The bipartisan bill authorizes funding for America’s armed forces and sets Department of Defense policy.  Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act 53 years in a row.

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Sponsors Key Provisions in National Defense Authorization Act

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Congressman Bridenstine voted to send HR 4909, the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) from the House Armed Services Committee to the full House this morning.  The bipartisan bill authorizes funding for America’s armed forces and sets Department of Defense policy.  Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act 53 years in a row.  

Three major amendments sponsored by Congressman Bridenstine were adopted in the bill:

  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports -- Codify in law a 30-day limit for Department of Energy (DOE) to issue final decisions on applications.  Congressman Bridenstine commented, “Energy security is national security. Exporting LNG to our allies strengthens our national security by reducing dependence on hostile regimes, plus it grows the American economy.  America is the world’s largest producer of natural gas. Oklahoma is the fourth-largest producing state.  DOE bureaucrats are currently holding up 30 LNG export applications which have already completed full environmental and permitting reviews. ”   
  • Prevent re-listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken and de-list American Burying Beetle from Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Bridenstine noted, “Training and operations on military bases is disrupted by compliance with ESA mandates.  This is unnecessary when the species are not actually threatened.  Additionally, ESA requirements make base expansion and modification cumbersome and expensive.  These two species populations are present at Altus Air Force Base, Fort Sill, and McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.”   
  • Prohibit housing unaccompanied alien children on U.S. military installations.  The Congressman said, “Housing children on bases with ongoing operations – including live artillery ranges – is inappropriate. The Obama Administration has commandeered military bases to temporarily house unaccompanied children, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma in 2014.  Housing them on bases damages military readiness by shifting limited defense resources to non-defense missions.  Rather than imposing on an overstretched military, the Administration could use some of the 77,000 vacant or underutilized buildings owned by the Federal government.”  

NDAA includes other provisions that Congressman Bridenstine worked to support Oklahoma’s National Guard, including:

  • Redirected funding to procure F-16 simulators.  The 138th Fighter Wing at Tulsa Air National Guard Base flies F-16s.
  • Redirected funding to support critical requirements for National Guard State Partnership Program.

NDAA includes several provisions from Bridenstine’s American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA).  Earlier this month, Congressman Bridenstine introduced HR 4945, groundbreaking legislation to enact bold reforms across military, civil, and commercial space sectors.  NDAA is the first step in Congressman Bridenstine’s strategy to enact ASRA piece-by-piece in different legislative vehicles. NDAA includes ten provisions, including:

  • Establishing a pilot program for the Air Force to buy, test, and evaluate commercial weather data.  Utilizing data provided by innovative private sector weather companies can lower costs to taxpayers, produce better weather products for the warfighter, and complicate the targeting solutions of our enemies by distributing space architectures.
  • Redirecting funding to jump start a pilot program to test next-generation satellite communications (SATCOM) technologies.  Private sector SATCOM companies are offering leap-ahead capacity for commercial customers.  The Department of Defense should take advantage of this through a pilot program. 
  • Modifies SATCOM Analysis of Alternatives to ensure accurate cost estimates and full consideration of commercial SATCOM technologies.

 

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Pushes for LNG Exports

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The House Armed Services Committee this morning adopted Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s amendment to expedite Department of Energy decisions on approving Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports. This is a big win for Oklahoma’s natural gas industry.  Oklahoma is the fourth largest natural gas producing state in America.

Energy security is national security.  The two are intimately linked.  We enhance our own national security when our allies and trading partners are not reliant on unfriendly regimes for energy.  In turn, we enhance their national security and freedom of action.  Mr. Putin has showed us that energy can be a more powerful weapon than bullets, bombs, and tanks.  The mullahs in Iran will surely learn these same lessons. 

The United States can play a substantial role in ensuring the energy security of our allies and trading partners through LNG exports.   We are the world’s largest natural gas producer and a net exporter.    Reserves have increased 80% since 2000.  The Energy Information Administration projects U.S. production will increase 50% by 2040. 

Ramping up LNG exports is a win-win for our allies and our economy.

The amendment was approved as part of the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The bipartisan bill authorizes funding for America’s armed forces and sets Department of Defense policy.  Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act 53 years in a row.