On Jan. 7, the first session of the 114th Congress began. John Boehner was also reelected as Speaker. However, Tulsa-area Congressman Jim Bridenstine voted for Texas congressman Louie Gohmert. This is the second time that Bridenstine has backed another politician over Boehner. Last year he voted for then majority leader Eric Cantor.
Bridenstine had originally planned on voting for Boehner this year. He published an op-ed in the Tulsa World arguing that any vote against Boehner was unlikely to succeed. Boehner’s support for the CR/omnibus spending bill that passed in December changed his mind. Bridenstine believes that the bill, which funds most of the government through September, essentially gives away Congress’s power of the purse. Bridenstine is also displeased that the bill continues to fund the Affordable Care Act.
Additionally, the bill funds the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration policy, through February. Bridenstine wanted Congress to prevent President Obama from implementing his executive actions regarding immigration that were announced Nov. 20. Those actions will protect around 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, at least for the remainder of his term. Bridenstine believes that President Obama’s actions are unconstitutional and represent a unilateral amnesty.
Congressman Bridenstine will continue being on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. With regard to the latter, he has been selected to be the chairman of the Environment Subcommittee.
Since beginning the new session of Congress, Bridenstine has introduced two bills and is cosponsoring at least four. On Jan. 6 he introduced a bill entitled the “Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act.” If enacted, the bill would expedite the process of liquefied natural gas exports. The purpose of the bill is to aid countries under threat from Russia. Bridenstine also introduced a constitutional amendment on Jan. 12 that would allow Congress to set term limits for itself. He is cosponsoring legislation that would enact the FairTax (a national sales tax that would replace most other federal taxes, notably the income tax), repeal the medical device tax from the Affordable Care Act, allow the export of crude oil and repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.