TULSA - GOP freshman Congressmen Jim Bridenstine and Markwayne Mullin are back in Oklahoma to hold town hall meetings after their first month in Washington D.C.
The two sat down with 2NEWS Monday to discuss their first few weeks on Capitol Hill and how they are responding to President Obama's inaugural address and agenda for his second term in office.
Bridenstine, the Republican Congressman representing Oklahoma's 1st District, immediately made headlines after his swearing-in when he voted against Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) to be re-elected as Speaker of the House.
Bridenstine said many told him it was a gutsy move on his part. He disagreed, saying the debt limit increase and so-called super committee designed to cut trillions from the deficit were failed moves.
"So here was the situation. I challenged an incumbent Republican in a Republican primary for these reasons. And these were the policies put in place by the Speaker of the House, so as I was going through the campaign, people asked me, 'Well, if you're going to challenge the incumbent Republican based on that, then you also have to challenge the leadership.'"
When it comes to cuts in spending, both say every program should be analyzed based on its success and size. If cuts can be made to any and all programs, both would support cuts to end deficit spending.
"It's not that we're not taxed enough, it's that we're spending too much and politicians in Washington I think are as guilty as anybody," said Bridenstine.
Mullin said he won't support any spending that isn't offset.
"I can't support adding debt. I ran on the fact that we're going to get our house in order, and if I go up there and just vote to continue adding more debt, then something's going to be wrong," said Mullin.
For Mullin, that included opposing a $50 billion Sandy relief package. He said he was approached by a fellow congressman who told Mullin he'd made a mistake by not supporting the package, adding that if disaster struck Oklahoma's 2nd District, he'd be down at least one vote for emergency relief.
"As soon as I made that vote, I had a congressman walk up to me and say, 'Boy, I hope you don't have a disaster in your area.' Meaning that hey, 'This is one that you're just supposed to go along with just because it happened in my backdoor. It's for my constituents and when something happens, I'll be helping you with your constituents," Mullin said.
When asked if he'd vote for emergency funding in the event of a tornado breakout, for instance, in the 2nd District, Mullin said he would not.
"If it's adding debt to our national debt, no. Oklahoma, we can take care of ourselves."
Neither Bridenstine nor Mullin supports an assault weapons ban.
Mullin called any restrictions on gun purchasing a punishment to the nation's law-abiding citizens.
"If we want to buy a certain gun, we ought to be able to have it and keep it. I can assure the bad guys, they're going to get their hands on it," he said.
Bridenstine said he doesn't believe a ban has a shot of making it to the president's desk for his signature.
"I'm against it. I can tell you that it's probably not going to go anywhere. It's not going to beat the filibuster in the Senate. Speaker Boehner has said he's not going to take it up unless the Senate passes it. So I don't think it's going to go anywhere," Bridenstine said.
Bridenstine said he believes background check are important when talking about people who are mentally disabled or convicted felons, but banning weapons or magazines, in his opinion, would infringe on the 2nd Amendment.
Mullin said there isn't much he could see changing with the process of background checks. He said gun owners should be responsible for background checking consumers they interact with at gun shows for instance.
Both Bridenstine and Mullin are holding town halls in various places within their constituencies.
- Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. at the Coweta City Hall, 310 S. Broadway St. Coweta, OK 74429
- Thursday, 6:30 p.m. at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Lyon Hall, 2201 Silver Lake Road Bartlesville, OK.
- Tuesday, 8 a.m. at the Graham Community Building, 6 N. Adair St. Pryor, Okla.
- Tuesday, 11 a.m. at the American Legion Post No. 40 Building Town Hall, 26585 S. 4410 Rd. Vinita, Okla.
- Tuesday, 2 p.m. at the Nowata City Library, 224 S. Pine
- Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. at the Northeastern Technology Center, 1901 N Hwy 88 Claremore, Okla.
- Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. at Go Ye Village in Richardson Hall, 1201 W. 4th Tahlequah, Okla.
- Wednesday, 11 a.m. at the Muskogee County City Library, 801 W. Okmulgee
- Wednesday, 3 p.m. at the McIntosh County Senior Citizens Center, 121 High Street, Eufaula, Okla.
- Wednesday 6 p.m. at Sequoyah County's People Inc., 205 S. JT Stites St. Sallisaw, Okla.
- Thursday, 8 a.m. at the Miami City Hall Community Room, 129 5th Ave. NW Miami, Okla.
- Thursday, 1 p.m. at the Grove City Hall Community Room, 104 W. 3rd Grove, Okla.
- Thursday, 5
- p.m. at the Stilwell Community Building, 422 W. Poplar Stilwell, Okla.