By Chris Casteel
All five U.S. House members from Oklahoma voted for the Republican budget on Thursday that would bring the federal budget to balance within 10 years, repeal Obamacare and change the structure of Medicare from a government program to one in which premiums for private insurance are subsidized by the government.
The GOP budget passed by a vote of 221 to 207, with all Democrats opposed. The Senate is considering its own budget blueprint this week.
Reps. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa; Tom Cole, R-Moore; and James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, also voted for an alternative Republican budget on Wednesday that would cut spending more quickly and balance the budget in four years. That budget, which garnered just 104 votes, would also gradually raise the full retirement age for Social Security to 70 for those born in 1961 and later.
Cole said, "Passing a budget that balances in 10 years is a significant step that would have been impossible just a few years ago. The American people can now choose between a Senate Democratic budget that taxes more to pay for bigger government, or the House Republican budget based on the principle that taxpayers should not be punished for Washington's irresponsible spending."
Lankford said, "The work on the House floor to debate and pass the (fiscal year 2014) House budget proposal is another step to put our nation back on solid economic footing and promote private-sector job growth.
"A national debt of more than $16.7 trillion is not our greatest issue. Our greatest issue is the fact that we have not agreed on a plan to ever stop increasing our debt."
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, said, "Americans are continually balancing their checkbooks and finding ways to live within their means, and it is encouraging we have passed a budget that will do the same.
"On the current path, the federal government would spend another $8.2 trillion in the next 10 years. Thankfully, our budget provides a $4.6 trillion reduction in the national debt and balances the budget over the same time frame."
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, said, "In our district, eliminating Obamacare and reducing federal spending are among the top issues constituents talk to me about and this budget definitely addresses those concerns by not raising taxes or spending money we do not have on a national health care system that will bust the budget. I was happy to represent my constituents' voice by voting for this plan."