One could sum up the message Congressman Jim Bridenstine delivered to civic and business leaders in Sand Springs in two words --- he's frustrated.
In remarks to the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce at the Tulsa Technology Center Campus at 924 E. Charles Page Blvd., Rep. Bridenstine (R-Okla.) said time and time again, he and his fellow Republicans tried to keep the government open, only to be blocked at every turn by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and threats of a presidential veto.
"We were the only ones trying to keep the government running," he said, "but they call it a Republican shutdown."
He spoke to a sympathetic audience, many of whom expressed deep reservations about the impact of the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, on individuals as well as businesses.
Afterward, KRMG asked Bridenstine if he found any parts of Obamacare that he could support.
He said that should be for states to decide, not the federal government.
"I'm a believer that this is something that should be left to the states," he said. "If the states want to have a solution, the states should have their solution. I believe in laboratories of Democracy where the State of Massachusetts might have a very different solution than the State of Oklahoma. But when it comes to Washington, D.C. telling Oklahomans specifically how to manage health care, I think it's a big problem."
He said Obamacare could go one of two directions at this point, now that people are realizing that it's, in his words, "unworkable."
"The question is, what direction are we going to go? Are we going to go more towards freedom, where people are able to buy the health policies that they're interested in for themselves, or are we going to go more towards a single-payer system? My concern is that we would go more towards a single-payer system, and that's why it's so important that we keep a Republican majority in the House of Representatives to block that from happening."
He says "the frustration over Obamacare is so palpable. I mean you can't go anywhere in the First District of Oklahoma without talking to somebody who has had their insurance premiums double, or even triple."
And he said he's girding for the next battle -- once again taking up the fight over the budget, as the current continuing resolution to fund the government expires January 15.