Jim Bridenstine

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Recognizes Medal of Honor Recipient Spc. 4 Donald Sloat from Coweta

2014/09/18

Ceremonies at the White House, the Pentagon, and in Oklahoma over the past few days have recognized Army Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat from Coweta, Oklahoma.  Spc. 4 Sloat was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic act that saved the lives of his companions during the Vietnam War. The U.S. Army reports his gallantry: Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat distinguished himself while serving as a machine gunner with 3rd Platoon, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, during combat operations near Danang, South Vietnam. On the morning of Jan. 17, 1970, Sloat's squad was on patrol, moving up a small hill in file formation, according to documentation of the battle. "The lead Soldier tripped a wire attached to a hand grenade booby-trap, set up by enemy forces," according to the document. As the grenade rolled down the hill, Sloat knelt and picked it up. "After initially attempting to throw the grenade, Sloat realized that detonation was imminent" so he drew the grenade to his body and shielded his squad members from the blast, saving their lives, but sacrificing his own, the document concludes. “I was honored to facilitate the Medal of Honor recognition long overdue to this brave soldier by moving the requisite legislation through Congress.  After meeting with his family, I am even more moved.  Members of my staff were able to attend the ceremonies at Coweta and the Pentagon.  We are all honored to know the bravery of this young man from our district,” commented Congressman Bridenstine.  CONTACT: Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director Phone: 202-225-2211 Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov    --  30  --       Read More

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Opposes Arming Syrian Rebels and Governing by Continuing Resolution

2014/09/17

The House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) today with an amendment to authorize the President’s plan to arm Syrian rebels to oppose ISIS.  Congressman Jim Bridenstine voted NO on both. “Passing a CR marks a failure to govern.  The American people have been denied their representation.  The House has worked through the budget and spending process to express the priorities of constituents.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has killed every House Appropriation bill, refused to pass any of his own, and precluded Congress from exercising its constitutional authority over the purse.  “Even worse, the CR was amended to include an authorization to train and equip so-called ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria.  If ISIS is a threat, we should eliminate it, not train and arm foreigners with extremely limited common interests and questionable loyalties.  Certainly, we should build coalitions, but we should not lead from behind with half measures that will not accomplish the objective.”   [[{"fid":"538","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full"}}]] --  30  -- Read More

Securing the Blessings of Liberty, Constitution Day 2014

2014/09/17

In 1787, fifty-five delegates from twelve states began the process of drafting the United States Constitution. Eventually, only thirty-nine of the fifty-five delegates signed the final draft. These men from across a new nation could not have disagreed more about the framing of government. Many, such as Alexander Hamilton, favored a larger, stronger centralized government. Others, such as George Mason of Virginia, pushed for a limited federal government that relied more heavily on the power of the states. Eventually, through much debate, our Constitution was drafted with a federal government much more extensive than established in the Articles of Confederation. States’ rights advocates pushed for further clarification to prevent abuses from a larger federal government, and the Bill of Rights -- the first ten Amendments to the Constitution -- was created. This amazing example of selfless cooperation set the foundation for the world’s greatest nation. [[{"fid":"536","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"float: right;","class":"media-element file-teaser"}}]] The United States Constitution is a unique document in the world -- not because of what it says, but because of to whom it is addressed. Our Constitution was written not as a rulebook for the people but rather for the federal government, setting very clear limitations on federal power. Some in Washington today would invert that power structure and eliminate state sovereignty if possible. Arguing that the Constitution is a living document and is long outdated and in need of an overhaul, they contend it should be changed to enumerate rights of the people and entrust the federal government to see that we receive all our entitlements. They fail to understand that neither the government nor the Constitution are capable of granting us rights. Our rights are endowed from our Creator and demonstrated through natural law. The Constitution simply acknowledges those rights and protects and promotes an environment where those rights can be exercised freely by defining the parameters in which the federal government can operate. Today, those of us who are passionate about or have sworn allegiance to defend this 200 year old document, are often mocked and ridiculed for our deeply held beliefs. This mockery is misplaced. It is not the document we hold in such high regard, it is what the document acknowledges that we desire to celebrate, defend, and even lay down our lives to protect. We believe in the freedom of speech, we believe in the right to bear arms, and we believe in the freedom to assemble and to freely speak and petition our government. We are not passionate about the Constitution because it is a faded, yellowed document, but because the institutions and ideals it establishes will never fade. The Constitution is not a decree from a king to his subjects. It is not an executive order from the President to the citizens. It is a directive to the federal government from the people. The text of the preamble states: “We the People in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Notice the emphasis is on the people, not the government. It would be the people who would fulfill the vision of the founders to establish justice, insure tranquility, provide for defense, promote welfare and secure liberty for future generations. This country would rise or fall not at the direction of a ruling class or oppressive dictator, but at the will, involvement, and courage of the people. The founding fathers were principled men who stood on the ideals of self-governance and freedom from tyranny. Some states’ delegates chose not to sign, perhaps because they realized that by signing the Constitution, they were embracing persecution from an oppressive, far-distant government for the cause of liberty. We must see a return to the resolve of the founding fathers when it comes to the protection of Constitutional principles in our nation today. As Joseph Warren appropriately said, “On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.” This Constitution Day, we celebrate the significance of our past while looking toward our future, knowing that “We the People” must be just as committed to securing the blessings of liberty in 2014 as our founders were in 1787.   Read More

Bridenstine Votes Against EPA Regulatory Overreach

2014/09/09

I cosponsored and today I voted in favor of the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, H.R. 5078. Time and time again, we have seen this administration use the regulatory process to increase the federal government’s authority, bypass Congressional intent, and trample on states’ rights. The proposed rule from the EPA and Corps of Engineers to expand the scope of the Clean Water Act is just another in a series of power grabs by an imperial president. [[{"fid":"534","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"float: right; height: 250px; width: 250px;","class":"media-element file-teaser"}}]] Under this proposed rule, self-contained ponds, wetlands, and even ditches would be considered “navigable waters,” and thus eligible to be regulated by EPA. When Congress first passed the Clean Water Act, they never intended these to be covered by this legislation. Making the definition of “navigable waters” so expansive, the EPA is essentially trying to attempt a land grab.  If property runs along a ditch, or a floodplain, or a riparian area, the EPA would have the authority to restrict the owner’s use of the land. Energy companies can’t perform exploration activities, developers can’t build, farmers can’t maintain their crops, and ranchers can’t raise their livestock without approval from the EPA. Michael Kelsey, the head of the Oklahoma Cattleman’s Association, has said that this amounts to the EPA “giving us permission to farm.” If this president and those at the EPA working to implement his extreme environmentalist agenda get their way, Mr. Kelsey is unfortunately correct. Oklahomans love Oklahoma. They are not going to destroy their land or sully their water – but they are going to utilize the natural resources available to them. This intrusion by the federal government will severely limit their ability to do so. That is why I am a cosponsor of H.R. 5078, which prohibits the EPA and the Corps from implementing their proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States.”  Once again, the American people see that the House of Representatives is working diligently to increase economic freedom and reduce government intrusion into our lives, while the Senate sits idly by as this President makes a mockery of the legislative process. H.R. 5078 is necessary to prevent yet another power grab, and I am pleased that it passed the House. Now the Senate has responsibility to act. Read More

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Decries DOE Denial of Waiver to Oklahoma

2014/08/28

Today, the US Department of Education (DOEd) announced it will deny the Oklahoma State Department of Education's request for flexibility, or a waiver from the requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for the 2014-2015 school year. This means Oklahoma schools will be subject to the provisions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Under NCLB, one hundred percent of students must be determined to be "proficient" on assessments, or else schools are considered failing and subject to monetary penalties and potential takeovers. "The State of Oklahoma took a key step earlier this summer in reestablishing primacy over the education of our students by voting to repeal Common Core, which has been used as a tool to nationalize curriculum," said Congressman Bridenstine. "The Federal Government is now punishing Oklahoma for not conforming to federal control of education." The US Department of Education granted ESEA waivers to nearly all states based on several criteria, with one of the key requisitesbeing each state must have "college and career-ready" standards, as determined by DOEd. One such set of standards is Common Core, which many states, including Oklahoma, adopted to meet this requirement. However, on June 5th, HB 3399 was signed into law, which repealed Common Core, and required Oklahoma to develop a new set of "college and career-ready" standards by 2016. "Even though Oklahoma continues to meet the rest of the standards for the ESEA waiver, and is actively working toward new, state-developed standards, our students will be punished because Oklahoma is not conforming to federalized education," Bridenstine continued. "This is nothing more than a bullying tactic and an excuse for a federal takeover of schools. "The federal government has no constitutional basis for involvement in our education system. This is the purview of the states and local school districts. Oklahoma acted well within its rights to reject a national curriculum, and I encourage them to resist any attempts by President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to take over our schools. In the meantime, I will continue to work to reduce the federal government's current role in education, including the elimination of the Department of Education."  CONTACT: Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director Phone: 202-225-2211 Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov --  30  -- Read More

It’s time to abolish the Department of Education

2014/08/21

Students across the First District of Oklahoma are heading back to school. Teachers are eagerly waiting to meet their new classes. At a time of year when parents are looking to be sure their children are learning in the best environment possible, they should also be turning an eye of scrutiny to the U.S. Department of Education. It is time to consider eliminating the federal Department of Education.  The federalization of education is unconstitutional. The Constitution grants certain enumerated powers to the federal government such as collecting taxes, maintaining a military and establishing Post Offices, but education is not mentioned. The Tenth Amendment clearly states “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The belief in Washington, however, seems to be the inverse of this concept: anything not listed in the Constitution falls to the responsibility of federal bureaucrats. It is important to note, power is intentionally reserved to the people by the Constitution. This is in the best interests of the students. When education is federalized, there are programs like Common Core. When education is under local control, there are high performing homeschool groups, faith based private schools, charter schools, and school choice, and parents are taking an active role. In short, when education is localized, students win. The success of education should be rooted in free market economics. Allowing competition, demanding a better product, rewarding efficiencies and high performance are principles that work in the free market and will elevate education. Parents should be allowed to pick the school that best meets the needs of their child, not be forced to accept an educational experience that fails to adequately prepare their child for success. This is especially important for children with special needs. Federal education is quite the opposite of anything resembling a free market. Common Core is an initiative bankrolled by special interests, namely, testing and technology companies that will directly profit from the program. This is the crony capitalism so often found at the core of big government initiatives. Furthermore, Common Core lowers the bar on academic achievement for students. There are no incentives to be above average and there are punishments for students who are either developmentally delayed or perform below average.  Education designed at the federal level is not tailored to the individual, which every parent understands should be the cornerstone of developmental learning.  Parents should make major decisions on educational policy across the nation, not federal bureaucrats. The most important teachers children will ever have are their own parents. Multiple studies show that when a parent is involved in their child’s school and education they perform better in school. The Harvard Family Project 2006 study showed that kindergarten children who have parents reading to them at home are able to recognize letters and perform better in kindergarten.[1] Local control promotes a culture of involvement, where parents are actively engaged in what is happening in the classroom. While many propose that education in the United States would be better if only there was higher funding, historically, as budgets in the Department of Education increased, there was little to no change in testing scores according to decades-long data from the National Center for Educational Statistics.[2] This is not to decry the hard work being done by teachers across the nation; it is simply a symptom in the big picture of government bureaucracy. Abolishing the U.S. Department of Education would return power to the states where it belongs. This would promote accountability in spending and put parents back in the picture. Like any other government program, local control creates truly higher standards because of the investment parents and teachers have in making sure students succeed. I am not an advocate for eliminating public education; I am an advocate for eliminating a top heavy, inefficient Washington-based bureaucracy that is burdening the taxpayer. Education is power, and the children of America deserve better than a federalized education. It’s time to eliminate the Department of Education.   [1] http://www.hfrp.org/publications-resources/browse-our-publications/family-involvement-makes-a-difference-in-school-success#_ftn3 [2] http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main1999/2000469.asp Read More

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Supports Border Crisis Legislation

2014/08/02

This evening, the House passed two bills addressing the crisis on our southern border.  Neither bill adds to the deficit or debt because funds are taken from other accounts.  Congressman Bridenstine voted “yes” on both. The first bill prioritizes funding for border security and returning children to their countries of origin.  Federal funding is provided for the National Guard called up by governors to deal with the crisis.  Funding for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is increased.  Loopholes in the 2008 trafficking law are closed, facilitating swift reuniting of children with their families back in their home countries.  Importantly for Ft. Sill and Oklahoma, the legislation prohibits housing unauthorized immigrants on military bases if doing so will displace active duty military personnel or interfere with military activities at the installation. The second bill in the package prevents the President from disregarding the law by blocking funds used to process any new deferred action applications or adjudication or to apply the policy to any class of unlawful residents.  This legislation also prohibits issuing work permits to anyone not in a lawful status in the U.S. “After a laborious process working through issues, we properly balanced U.S. national security and national sovereignty with humanitarian concerns.  The House negotiated and ultimately passed good legislation,” Bridenstine said.  “The House has acted to end this crisis.  It is now time for Senator Reid and President Obama to do their jobs.” Funding in the supplemental appropriations bill is fully offset by rescissions from existing budgeted accounts and includes: ·         $405 million for the Department of Homeland Security to boost Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  ·         $70 million for National Guard border efforts: $35 million for the federal deployment of the Guard and $35 million for reimbursing states for their use of the Guard on the Southern Border. ·         $22 million to accelerate judicial proceedings for immigrants. ·         $197 million for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to maintain custody of Unaccompanied Alien Minors in a humanitarian way until their court date. ·         $40 million redirected from foreign aid to Central American countries to support repatriation assistance to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.   Policy provisions in the legislation include: ·         Amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 so all unaccompanied alien children (UAC) are treated the same as Mexican nationals for the purpose of removals. ·         Provides authority to negotiate agreements with foreign countries regarding protections for children returned to their country of nationality. ·         Includes a “last-in, first-out” policy prioritizing removal of minors most recently arrived. ·         Prohibits denying or restricting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) activities on federal land. ·         Authorizes deployment of National Guard to the Southern border.   --  30  -- CONTACT: Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director Phone: 202-225-2211 Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov Read More

Rep. Bridenstine: It’s time to end this war on youth

2014/07/30

President Obama easily motivated young people across the nation to vote in 2012. He captured roughly 67 percent of the youth vote, according to the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. Yet a recent study from Harvard reported that millennials only trust the government to do the right thing 20 percent of the time. To understand the frustration of the “unemployed generation,” just look at where millennials are right now compared to where they were two years ago. Since the 2012 election, young people have been disillusioned by questionable government agency data collection programs, the failed implementation of Obamacare, continually rising unemployment, the rising cost of living, and of course, student debt. Many college students who voted for Obama in 2008 have graduated and are now stuck in a stagnant economy. Too many of them have had to move back in with their parents. They are making less money than expected, and this is affecting life decisions, including marriage and children. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds in June of 2014 was 35.2 percent. This unemployed generation is competing with more experienced, older workers for entry level jobs. BLS figures do not take into account under-employment, where a millennial is overqualified for their job. A Pew Research Survey indicated that one third of the 26-33 demographic have college degrees, constituting one of the most educated generations in American history. Our sputtering recovery and crippled economy are directly linked to the failed policies of this administration. The employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act has incentivized employers to avoid hiring more employees and to move their employees to part time. The Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing policy, an attempt to print our way to prosperity, is out of control, artificially driving up the prices of groceries and other essentials. If the economy ever heats up, inflation will skyrocket. Our over-subsidized higher education system is causing the costs of a college education to explode, adding more and more debt. Thankfully, the mindset of America’s youth is changing. A recent survey from Wells Fargo showed that millennials have a rather conservative view on saving. They are less likely to rack up personal credit card debt, and they see the pitfalls of not having a long term savings plan. These financial trends are spilling into their changing worldview on the role government should play in intervening in the market. They understand, perhaps better than anyone else, that a nation 17 trillion dollars in debt is negatively affecting the America they are inheriting. Young people want the government out of their business, from their emails to their bank accounts. Only 6 percent of millennials surveyed in the Pew Research poll believed that Social Security would offer the same level of benefits currently available to retirees by the time they reach retirement age. These trends should encourage fiscal conservatives. Large segments of politically active youth are growing more and more dissatisfied with an overreaching government. They have some of the answers — and they vote. The U.S. must get our fiscal house in order. Republicans have to be the party that stands up to control spending and reduce our debt. We have to repeal over-burdensome regulations that are stifling business. We have to restore the Fourth Amendment and protect the privacy of all American citizens. And we must maintain a strong national defense in an increasingly dangerous world. We owe the young people of America a better future than the one we are currently giving them. It’s time to end the war on youth and achieve real economic prosperity through fiscally conservative policies. Read More

Inhofe, Bridenstine, Mullin praise Tulsa VA Clinic Provision in VA Reform Bill

2014/07/28

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Senate and House Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee Chairmen, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Jeff Miller, announced a breakthrough on comprehensive VA reform legislation. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1), and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) praised the inclusion of a provision that will allow the Tulsa Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) to pursue a new facility to better serve local veterans’ growing health care needs. Should the legislation pass Congress, the provision would allow the Tulsa CBOC to lease a new cost-effecient facility up to 140,000 gross square feet, for up to a 30-year lifecycle, and with an annual cost per square foot to reflect the market rate in Tulsa for equivalent medical facilities. The provision would also require the VA Secretary to submit a detailed cost benefit analysis to Congress within 90 days should it be determined that a new construction or purchase is the more cost effective option.  “I appreciate Congressman Jeff Miller and Senator Bernie Sanders for including the Tulsa clinic in the new VA reform legislation,” said Sen. Inhofe. "The provision is a significant victory for Oklahoma’s veterans who would otherwise be without a Tulsa facility by 2020. With this provision the Tulsa VA clinic will have the needed resources to pursue a new facility that can meet the growing health care needs of Oklahoma’s veterans. I will continue to work with the delegation and my Senate colleagues to ensure veterans across the state have access to the quality health care they have earned and deserve." Rep. Bridenstine said, "The Tulsa CBOC will increase the medical space, consolidate and expand services, and improve parking.  I know that this facility will improve the quality of care for veterans in the First District.”   Rep. Mullin said, “Many veterans in Oklahoma’s 2nd District travel to Tulsa for care. Improving access to care for local veterans has been an issue my team and I have been working on extensively. Without question, veterans care remains a top priority of mine, and I will continue be a voice for Oklahoma veterans as this legislation moves forward.” “We are pleased that funding for the Tulsa clinic has been included in the latest VA reform bill,” said James Floyd, medical center director of the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic and the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center. “Should the legislation pass, the provision will give us the ability to consolidate into one location and expand the care the clinic provides to veterans.”  The current Tulsa CBOC exists in two different locations with a lease set to expire in 2020 that cannot be renewed due to the locations not meeting current regulations for medical facilities. The new facility will consolidate care to one location, increase parking, and expand services and quality of care for Tulsa’s growing veteran population.  Read More

Oklahoma Congressman Fights Plan to House Illegal Immigrants at Military Bases

2014/07/28

Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a freshman congressman and Navy pilot whose military awards decorate his Capitol Hill office, holds a special affection for fellow servicemen. The Oklahoma Republican also is sympathetic to Central American children who are being smuggled into the United States from Mexico to reunite with family. Bridenstine witnessed the intersection of those two disparate demographics when, on July 12,  he toured a processing center for unaccompanied migrant children at the Fort Sill Army post in Lawton, Oklahoma. Bridenstine had originally been barred from entering the federal facility housing illegal immigrants from Central America, but finally, 12 days after his first attempt, earned access into the living quarters. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal, Bridenstine called for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the processing centers, to stop housing minors at U.S. military bases. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week approved a request from HHS to house an additional 5,000 minors at military facilities, including Fort Sill, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, and Naval Base Ventura County in California. The agreement commits those facilities to be used through Jan. 31, 2015. The announcement has fueled concerns that what was initially described as a short-term measure is becoming an open-ended commitment. “Military bases were not designed to be refugee camps,” Bridenstine said. “We need to get these facilities back so that we can have the troops do the training they need to do.” Read More

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Contact Information

216 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2211
Fax 202-225-9187
bridenstine.house.gov

Congressman Jim Bridenstine is a Navy pilot and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and lives with his wife Michelle and their three children in Tulsa, OK.

Bridenstine graduated from Rice University with degrees in economics, business and psychology. After college, he joined the Navy and became a pilot, flying combat missions off the USS Abraham Lincoln in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, and Operation Shock and Awe in Iraq. Later, he transitioned to the F-18 Hornet fighter at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the parent command to TOPGUN, where he flew “Red Air” and was also an instructor.

After leaving active duty, Bridenstine earned an MBA from Cornell University and returned to Tulsa to be the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. Prior to his election, Rep. Bridenstine was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve where he flew the E-2C Hawkeye, a surveillance and operations command aircraft, in Central and South America in support of America’s war on drugs.


Serving With

Markwayne Mullin

OKLAHOMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

James Lankford

OKLAHOMA's 5th DISTRICT

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