Defending the Speaker vote

CongressMeetsWith the beginning of the 114th Congress, we now have a narrow opportunity to advance constitutional government. Last Congress, over 380 measures passed in the House fell victim to the Senate Democratic Majority Leader and were held up in the Senate – never again to see the light of day. We can and will change that.

To capitalize on the opportunity, I believe we only have about a nine-month window until Presidential politics begin to completely dominate the Congressional and legislative process.

On opening day of session, we saw a move by a handful of Republican members, who, like any of us, felt they were acting on conviction. Making an attempt to air disgruntlement felt by many Americans, the move to force current Speaker of the House John Boehner into a second ballot and then make a complete change in leadership was attempted. Ultimately, the move gained only 25 Republican members and fell far short by 13 of what was needed for their effort.

Rep. Steve Russell

Rep. Steve Russell

None of those putting forth their names for nomination ever contacted me, let alone asked for my vote, my views, or my positions. Three of the four actually had conservative indexes lower than Speaker Boehner.

Even if their ratings had been higher, they had no leader, no plan, and no vision for the future. That is why the movement was not supported by many and ultimately failed.

My own vote was cast to support Speaker Boehner because continuity of leadership with the new Senate is crucial to move several hundred pieces of legislation to the President’s desk. These are the issues that Oklahoma sent me to Washington to address, including a budget, Keystone XL Pipeline, energy export, immigration, the sequester, stronger defense and foreign policy, among many more. Had the Speaker not been maintained, months would have been lost – and perhaps the best opportunity to push constitutional reforms with it.

John Boehner, Speaker of the House

John Boehner, Speaker of the House

Instead, we have already in the last 48 hours passed measures that weaken Obamacare mandates and create hope and jobs for Americans with the Hire Heroes Act. Now, any business can hire a veteran on VA or Tricare health plans with it not counting against their total employees in the Obamacare mandate.

That is just a start. By the end of the week, we will expand the full work week language from an absurd 30-hour definition to the 40-hour week reality that businesses operate under so they will not be punished under Obamacare. We will also advance the Keystone XL Pipeline bill to the Senate.

James Madison rightly observed that “as long as the reason of man continues to be fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.” With your prayers and the aid of our Creator, we can look with confidence as we labor to best improve our nation.


Editor’s Note: U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, (R-Dist 1) of Tulsa was one of the leaders of the effort to block John Boehner’s election as Speaker.  In a byline piece on Tulsa Today prior to the vote, Rep. Bridenstine outlined why he stood in opposition (click here for more).