By Conrad Dudderar
Relishing her time away from the “swamp”, Oklahoma’s 5th District congresswoman made a recent stop in Yukon to address local military veterans and other guests.
The Yukon Veterans Museum, 1010 W Main, hosted U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice (OK-5) during her Aug. 29th visit to Yukon.
Bice – who represents part of Canadian County including Yukon and Piedmont – provided an update on what’s happening in Washington, D.C.
Republicans have done an “exceptional job” during the first part of the 118th Congress trying to highlight the important issues facing the country, Bice said.
The Oklahoma City native described is U.S. border crisis as a “huge, huge” issue.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy introduced legislation in the new Congress to address the crisis.
“It was the most comprehensive, most conservative border bill that’s ever been put forward,” Bice pointed out. “With 7 million people having crossed into this country over the last 2-1/2 years, this is truly a crisis of epic proportions.
“Republicans recognize that are we are trying to find ways to fight back.”
Many suspected terrorists are crossing into the U.S. illegally. About 150 have been apprehended – but many others remain at large.
Illegal drugs also are pouring over the border, some of which is being confiscated – but in many cases not.
One particular addictive narcotic has infiltrated communities, including here in Yukon.
“We are seeing unbelievable amounts of Fentanyl cross into the United States – much of which is either being supplied by or manufactured in China,” Bice shared. “Enough Fentanyl to kill the entire population of the United States, multiple times over. It is highly deadly.”
Energy is another pressing key issue in Congress.
Bice sharply criticized the Biden Administration for launching a “full-scale attack” on the energy industry, an industry crucial to Oklahoma’s success.
The administration has implemented regulatory reforms to curb drilling while not issuing permits for new pipelines across the country.
“We are a country that has the ability to be domestically energy independent,” Bice said. “And we were. And we have reversed course.
“This administration is much more interested in electrification of everything, rather than what makes sense from an economic standpoint.”
Oklahoma’s 5th District congresswoman supports alternative energy sources like wind, solar, hydro, or even nuclear.
“But this administration wants nothing to do with fossil fuel whatsoever,” she added. “And they’re willing to go to the end to try to prevent it from being produced in this country and utilized.”
NEED TO CUT SPENDING
The national debt and inflation are other major issues facing the country.
“We have racked up a $32 million deficit, and it continues to rise,” Bice pointed out. “In the first two years of the (Biden) administration, there was $7 trillion in spending.
“We can’t continue down the path of spending like we’ve been doing. It’s not sustainable.”
The Republican Conference of the U.S. House of Representatives is working to find ways to rein in the egregious spending seen in the last two years.
“You’ve heard rumors or at least innuendoes in the very beginning of this Congress that we are going to be touching Social Security and Medicare,” Bice told the Yukon audience. “Let me be clear, that is not the case.
“We are going to have to look at some reforms long-term, but we are not going to cut benefits to veterans or retirees. That’s not happening.”
The appropriations process is moving forward in Congress with the U.S. government’s fiscal year set to end Sept. 30.
Bice, who returns Sept. 12 to Washington, D.C., expects a continuing resolution that will give the House and Senate time to meet and address appropriations bills and the new budget.
“The House is very much in favor of cutting spending, the Senate is not,” she said. “We’re going to have to figure out a way to come together and compromise.”
Two areas that won’t see budget cuts are the military and veterans’ benefits, Bice pledged.
U.S. Navy veteran Ron Edmonson, a Yukon Veterans Museum board member, asked Bice what can be done to combat the decline in military recruitment.
“You are right,” she responded. “We are falling behind, and it’s a dangerous game. “The first thing we need to do is reconfigure the military to be the most lethal fighting force the world has ever known.
“You can’t have this social narrative – the wokeness that’s happening in the military – continue. It’s not helpful. It diverts from the mission. And it is prevalent across all branches.”
Bice is worried because she believes the Biden Administration has degraded the Office of the President and “our ability to be effective in making sure we have a cohesive military moving forward.”
A fourth generation Oklahoman, Bice served six years in the Oklahoma State Senate representing District 22 (including Yukon and Piedmont) before being elected to Congress in 2020.
During her first term, Bice was elected by her Republican peers to serve as the first female “freshman” class president.
She served on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
In the current Congress, Bice is part of the elected leadership committee. She serves on the House Appropriations Committee, which includes the Veterans Affairs and Military Construction Subcommittee.
Bice also is a member of the House Budget Committee, House Administration Committee, and the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
While she makes regular trips to the nation’s capital, Bice said she always enjoys coming to Yukon.
“I love the Community Coffee,” she said. “If I could come every Friday, I would. I’m a social creature. I love to be around people.”
During her speech at the Yukon Veterans Museum, Bice encouraged any military veterans and spouses who need help accessing benefits to contact her office.