Jim Bridenstine

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Visits Southern Border

2014/10/30

Many of you remember when President Obama's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) denied me access to the Fort Sill HHS facility during the high point of the Unaccompanied Children (UAC) crisis. Based upon the response to my Securing America townhall, it's clear many folks in the First District understand that border security is national security and the Obama Administration is utterly failing to protect American sovereignty and safety. Last Friday, I went on a fact-finding visit to the southern border with my friend Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).  We visited with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel manning the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) sector.[[{"fid":"547","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 RGV is immense.  The sector covers 316 border miles, about 35,000 square miles total, and spans 34 Texas counties.  RGV is the most trafficked sector in the country for human smuggling and drug cartel activity.  RGV accounts for about 50% of total annual apprehensions of illegal immigrants along the southern border.  Rep. Blackburn and I visited the McAllen Border Patrol Station and RGV Centralized Processing Center before meeting with CBP agents and National Guard personnel on the frontlines.   Here are my takeaways: We need to reallocate funding to border security.  Rio Grande Valley CBP apprehended over 250,000 illegal immigrants in FY14 with only 3,000 agents and an operational budget of less than $20 million.  Those numbers are woefully insufficient.  According to Senator Tom Coburn’s latest Wastebook, the federal government spends over 4 times more ($90 million) on “promoting U.S. culture around the globe with nose flutists.”  That is $70 million more than the RGV sector’s operational budget. The President authorized sending more U.S. troops to West Africa to fight Ebola (3,200) than the 3,000 CBP folks we have fighting human smuggling and drug trafficking along the Rio Grande.  It’s a credit to the professionalism of CBP that it can do so much with so little.  A modest reallocation from lesser priorities would go a long way toward securing our country. Leaked DHS figures indicate that 231 individuals were caught illegally crossing into the United States from Liberia, 145 from Sierra Leone, and another 112 from Guinea. The Obama Administration is prioritizing environmental protection over border security.  The RGV sector covers 316 miles of border.  Protected Wildlife Refuges comprise over 60% of that area.  Border Patrol operations are totally hamstrung in Refuge areas by EPA and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regulations, which limit access and provide a safe haven for cartels to smuggle people and drugs. EPA, FWS, and other environmental protection regulations either prohibit or severely limit camera surveillance, lighting, and road access.  CBP agents can generally only access these areas on foot or by horse.  It is time to place national security above ridiculous and cumbersome environmental regulations.    Access and surveillance are key enablers of immigration enforcement.  Building double layer fencing along the border is important and required by law.  Yet, CBP personnel repeatedly told me that better surveillance and access can really increase effectiveness. Congress and the Obama Administration can increase CBP surveillance capability – eyes in the sky – through providing more infrared, electro/optical, and full motion video sensors on fixed, mobile, and airborne platforms.  Indeed, RGV leadership told me that providing only 2 or 3 more aerostat surveillance balloons would make a huge difference by greatly expanding coverage.  Since this is a national security issue, I intend to introduce provisions in next year’s National Defense Authorization Act  to authorize a military transfer of surveillance technology to the CBP.   Article 1, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution makes clear that Congress has the authority to create “an uniform rule of naturalization”, not the President.  With disregard for the Constitution, in June of 2012, President Obama offered “deferred action” to every illegal immigrant who entered the country before his or her 16th birthday.  Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal of illegal immigrants. Simply put, deferred action is a euphemism for not enforcing the law.  By June of 2014, the President had offered work permits and delayed action to 862,000 people.  The President’s unconstitutional “deferred action” policies incentivized mass waves of illegal immigration. Now, the President wants to drastically increase his unconstitutional policy and expand deferred action to cover 34 million illegal immigrants over 5 years.  According to CBP prediction models, the President’s upcoming amnesty by executive order will exacerbate border security problems.  Even talking about further deferred action executive orders will spur massive illegal immigration.  Without any further amnesty, CBP projects it will apprehend 200,000 illegal immigrants in FY15 in the RGV sector alone.  Yet, RGV leadership told me that deferred action expansion – amnesty for up to 34 million illegal immigrants – would increase predicted apprehensions by 100,000 this fiscal year.  Remember, apprehensions only cover the people who are caught and detained.  The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office reports that CBP only apprehends 1 out of 5 illegals that cross the border.  According to CBP officials, every communication from elected officials, including President Obama, regarding amnesty or border security is monitored by transnational criminal organizations that smuggle humans.  These communications are used to encourage or discourage more illegal immigration.   Threatening to cut foreign aid provides leverage that will cause Mexico and Central American governments to act responsibly regarding illegal immigration.  The U.S. provides nearly $170 million in annual foreign aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  Foreign aid to Mexico is $265 million.  During the high point of the UAC crisis, the U.S. House passed H.R. 5230, which included Congressman Blackburn’s language to suspend foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador until those countries made significant progress to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the United States. RGV leadership told me that H.R. 5230 had a dramatic effect on the behavior of consular officials from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  The mere threat of congressional action caused these consular officials to tell illegal immigrants to stay home once deported rather than try to cross the border again and again.  According to NPR, the Mexican government is paying fees for attorneys who assist deferred action applicants in the United States.  The Mexican government prefers welfare provided by the U.S. taxpayer.  Foreign aide should be cut in response to this action. Read More

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Visits Southern Border

2014/10/30

The Obama Administration is utterly failing to protect American sovereignty and safety. Based on the response at my Securing America Town Hall, it's clear many folks in my District understand that border security is national security.  Last Friday, I went on a fact-finding visit to the southern border with my friend Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).  We visited with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel manning the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) sector. The RGV is immense.  The sector covers 316 border miles, about 35,000 square miles total, and spans 34 Texas counties.  RGV is the most trafficked sector in the country for human smuggling and drug cartel activity.  RGV accounts for about 50% of total annual apprehensions of illegal immigrants along the southern border.  Rep. Blackburn and I visited the McAllen Border Patrol Station and RGV Centralized Processing Center before meeting with CBP agents and National Guard personnel on the front lines. Here are my takeaways: 1.      We need to reallocate funding to border security.  Rio Grande Valley CBP apprehended over 250,000 illegal immigrants in FY14 with only 3,000 agents and an operational budget of less than $20 million.  Those numbers are woefully insufficient, and funds can be reprogrammed from lower priority accounts.  2.      The Obama Administration is prioritizing environmental protection over border security.  Protected Wildlife Refuges comprise over 60% of the RGV area.  Border Patrol operations are totally hamstrung in refuge areas by regulations which limit access and provide a safe haven for cartels to smuggle people and drugs.  3.      Access and surveillance are key enablers of immigration enforcement.  RGV leadership told me that providing only 2 or 3 more aerostat surveillance balloons would make a huge, immediate difference by greatly expanding coverage.  Since this is a national security issue, I intend to introduce provisions in next year’s National Defense Authorization Act to authorize a military transfer of surveillance technology to the CBP.  4.      Article 1, section 8 of the U.S. Constitution makes clear that Congress has the authority to create “an uniform rule of naturalization”, not the President.  The President’s unconstitutional “deferred action” policies incentivized mass waves of illegal immigration.  Simply put, deferred action is a euphemism for not enforcing the law.  Now, the President wants to drastically expand deferred action to cover 34 million illegal immigrants over 5 years.  According to CBP, even talking about further deferred action executive orders will spur massive illegal immigration.  According to CBP officials, every communication from elected officials, including President Obama, regarding amnesty or border security is monitored by transnational criminal organizations that smuggle humans.  These communications are used to encourage or discourage more illegal immigration.  5.      Threatening to cut foreign aid provides leverage that will cause Mexico and Central American governments to act responsibly regarding illegal immigration.  During the high point of the UAC crisis, the U.S. House passed H.R. 5230, which included Congressman Blackburn’s language to suspend foreign aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador until those countries made significant progress to stem the flow of illegal immigration into the United States. RGV leadership told me that H.R. 5230 had a dramatic effect on the behavior of consular officials from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  The mere threat of congressional action caused these consular officials to tell illegal immigrants to stay home once deported rather than try to cross the border again and again.  CONTACT: Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director Phone: 202-225-2211 Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov For more information, please read my blog article. --  30  -- Read More

Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s “Securing America” Town Hall Draws Record Crowd

2014/10/22

A crowd estimated at over 1,600 constituents gathered Tuesday night for Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s “Securing America” town hall at the Mabee Center in Tulsa.  The Congressman discussed issues ranging from fiscal security, to the uncontrolled southern border, to the danger from terrorism at home and abroad. The Congressman asserted that, “What’s right with America can fix what’s wrong with America.”  This comment drew one of several standing ovations.  The group was largely in concurrence with Bridenstine’s assessments of the threats and solutions for addressing them, interrupting him numerous times with applause.  They appeared to enthusiastically approve of his response to a questioner asking why we should trust politicians: “You shouldn’t.  You should not just trust me.  You should hold me accountable.” The Tulsa Praise Orchestra opened the event and closed with Ernestine Dillard singing “God Bless America.”  After an hour and a half of comments and questions, Congressman Bridenstine met for another hour with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Bridenstine’s name will not appear on the November 4th ballot.  The freshman Congressman has already been reelected to serve Oklahoma’s 1st District by virtue of being unopposed in the primary and general elections.  Nonetheless, he urged citizens to get out and vote as the nation faces many challenges at home and an increasingly threatening world situation.  CONTACT: Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director Phone: 202-225-2211 Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov --  30  -- Read More

Congressman Jim Bridenstine “Securing America” Town Hall

2014/10/16

Congressman Jim Bridenstine invites the entire 1st District to a Town Hall meeting focusing on Securing America, Tuesday evening October 21st, 6:30-8:00 PM, at the Mabee Center in Tulsa.  Security is the biggest issue with voters this year.  In addition to financial, healthcare, and job security, people are now highly concerned with border security and national security.  Surveys are finding that Americans feel less safe and more vulnerable than they did a year ago, with over 50% saying terrorism is their top concern. ISIS is an existential threat to democracy, directly targeting the United States, while Hamas terrorist continue to threaten Israel. Drug cartels and trans-national criminal organizations effectively control the Mexican northern border – our southern border. In addition, cases of Ebola have been confirmed in the United States. Bridenstine invites his constituents to hear his perspective and share their concerns on these and other threats to American security. Congressman Jim Bridenstine represents Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he has been an outspoken advocate for national security and national sovereignty. When and Where:          Tuesday, October 21st    6:30-8:00 PM    Mabee Center, 81st and Lewis, Tulsa More information at: http://bridenstine.house.gov/SecuringAmerica CONTACT: Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director Phone: 202-225-2211 Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov --  30  --   Read More

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Opposes Closing GTMO

2014/10/10

Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama Administration is considering options for executive action to close the terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay.  Congressman Jim Bridenstine had the following comment: At a time when the War on Terror is raging against ISIS and Al Qaeda, closing Guantanamo would, once again, show that President Obama puts politics before national security.   Releasing or transferring detainees comes at great risk.  The recidivism rate among former GTMO detainees is astonishing.  Indeed, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence stated that at least 30% of former GTMO detainees reengaged in terrorism post-release.  It’s completely irresponsible and immoral to make our troops fight the same enemy twice.    Transferring GTMO detainees to the United States is equally irresponsible.  The President would put a giant bulls-eye on any federal prison forced to hold detainees.  We have seen in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen that Islamist terrorists will target detention facilities holding their brethren.  Congress has repeatedly prevented the President from closing Guantanamo in annual defense authorization and appropriation bills.  Yet, President Obama has shown he’s willing to go around Congress and violate the law.  He already did so in exchanging the Taliban Five for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.  The President ignored the law that requires he tell Congress 30 days before approving any release from Guantanamo.  I fear that he’s willing to break the law again.  The question the President must answer is, “Why now?”  There is no explanation other than his desire put a misguided campaign promise ahead of our country’s national security interest.  CONTACT: Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director Phone: 202-225-2211 Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov --  30  -- Read More

Tulsa-Based U.S. Pioneer Announces Major Contract with United States Navy

2014/10/01

TULSA – October 1, 2014 - Tulsa-based U.S. Pioneer today announced it has secured two contracts with the United States Navy totaling nearly $5 million for the purpose of converting Navy ship battle lanterns from using disposable batteries to rechargeable batteries on all Navy ships stationed around the world.  The contract will result in the creation of at least 6 new manufacturing jobs in Tulsa.  “With these new contracts the Navy will be able to eliminate all their disposable lantern batteries with rechargeable ones,” said U.S. Pioneer Chief Executive Officer Les Lapidus. “This is a big step in helping the U.S. Navy’s energy and maintenance savings efforts.”  Lapidus also credited First District United States Congressman Jim Bridenstine for his assistance in bringing about this cost-saving measure which will create jobs in Tulsa while saving United States taxpayers money: “We owe Congressman Bridenstine a big thank you for his support in our continued success.  We are honored to have his backing in our efforts to continue to make an economic impact here in Tulsa.”  “I congratulate Les Lapidus and the entire U.S. Pioneer team on this contract.  The battle lantern battery conversion contracts awarded to U.S. Pioneer will save taxpayer dollars and create new national security jobs in the First District,” said Congressman Jim Bridenstine.  “More efficient use of military resources is a win for America.  When job creation in the First District is achieved coincident with fiscal responsibility at the federal level, I see that as a big win.  As a Naval Aviator, I’m particularly proud of U.S. Pioneer’s 65-plus year record of providing superb shipboard electronic equipment to the Navy.”     About U.S. Pioneer Inc.:  A Tulsa, Oklahoma based manufacturing company, U.S. Pioneer is one of the largest suppliers of shipboard electrical components to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Navy shipbuilding industry.   CONTACTS: Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director, Congressman Jim Bridenstine Phone: 202-225-2211   Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov   Josh Bryan, U.S. Pioneer Sales Manager Email Address: josh@uspioneer.net    ## 30 ## Read More

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Congratulates Local Contribution to Israeli Defense: Ducommun LaBarge

2014/09/30

I am proud to announce that Tulsa is directly contributing to Israel’s defense.   Ducommun LaBarge of Tulsa, a pillar of Oklahoma’s defense industry, was selected to provide components for the Iron Dome missile defense system.  Collaboration between the Israeli and American defenses is a winning strategy for both counties. Iron Dome has a stunningly successful record with thousands of intercepts of rockets and mortars, including those fired by Hamas terrorists into Israel during July and August.  Iron Dome helps keep the people of Israel safe. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will do everything in my power to ensure Israel has the resources it needs to defend itself from terrorists such as Hamas and Hezbollah. I congratulate Ducommun LaBarge on a big win for Tulsa and our country.               CONTACT: Sheryl Kaufman, Communications Director Phone: 202-225-2211 Email Address: Sheryl.Kaufman@mail.house.gov --  30  --    Attached:  Raytheon Press Release Link to YouTube Video of Congressman’s Statement:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpbynlAW9ZE Read More

Tulsa Couple Recognized For Fighting Against Child Sex Trade

2014/09/23

TULSA, Oklahoma -Every year, 100,000 American children are sexually exploited; either forced into prostitution or made to participate in child pornography. That's the equivalent to every single citizen of Broken Arrow being controlled, manipulated and abused in a year's time. The child sex trade is a demand and supply business, so a Green Country couple created a group to go after the demand side, targeting the predators. They've been so successful that Congressman Jim Bridenstine honored them with a Spotlight Award Monday. Jason and Kristin Weis were an average couple sitting at home watching the news, when they saw a story about a man who sexually abused his daughter, videotaped it and put it on the Internet. The story talked about how many people logged on to watch the assault. "They weren't logging on to help stop the act; they were actually watching the act for pleasure,” Kristin said. That moment changed their lives, as they made it their mission to catch predators and help victims. They created a non-profit group called The Demand Project and work with officers as they raid places of forced prostitution and child porn rings. They go along to rescue victims of the sex trade and help the victims get housing, jobs and whatever else they need to get back on their feet. "You've got to help them mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, psychologically, whatever they need to become successes,” Kristin said. They also teach parents about the red flags to look for when their kids are talking to people online, and keep parents knowledgeable about the technology predators use to reach out to kids. "And, kids need to understand not everybody they're talking to online is who they say they are,” said Jason. Bridenstine presented the couple with a Spotlight Award for the work they're doing to stop the sexual exploitation of children and to be a safe haven for those who have been used and abused. The Demand Project The couple said they certainly don't do it alone. "There's no way for us to do any of this without community support,” said Jason. He and his wife moved to Oklahoma from Colorado in 2006, and, in addition to their work with The Demand Project, Jason was recently sworn in as a Jenks Police officer. Read More

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

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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.


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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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