BETHANY, OKLA. (Free Press) — Congresswoman Stephanie Bice held a listening session Thursday morning in Bethany to discuss current issues pending in Congress and to hear from the constituents of Congressional District 5.
It was one of the rare, open, and in-person forums Bice has conducted so far since her swearing-in on January 3, 2021.
During the 50-minute listening session, Bice addressed the Afghanistan troop withdrawal, the budget reconciliation bill, the infrastructure framework, and other concerns within the community.
Bice opened the floor for constituents to ask questions and voice their concerns.
During the meeting, Bice criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for their handling of withdrawing U.S troops from Afghanistan.
“I think we can certainly have a conversation around whether or not that was the right decision but I think it’s how we have left Afghanistan that is really the problem,” said Bice.
Bice said tensions with the Taliban could have been prevented if it were handled in a different manner, however, she did not suggest how Biden could have achieved a better outcome.
There are about 1,500 Americans remaining in Afghanistan ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw troops from the country, according to a recent press briefing by the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
Budget Reconciliation and Infrastructure Framework
Bice said there are many problems with the reconciliation bill, including the fact that it cannot be filibustered and only needs a simple majority to pass the Senate.
Bice stated that the bill will significantly increase spending and taxes.
“The things that we’ve seen so far are very problematic,” Bice said during the session. “They are raising taxes, state taxes, capital gains taxes, income tax, corporate income tax, you name it we’re taxing it in this bill.”
The congresswoman did not explain which specific taxes would increase or how the budget resolution would make them increase.
In a 220-212 party-line vote, the House passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution and advanced the bipartisanship infrastructure bill earlier this week.
Constituents were able to ask the congresswoman questions during the listening session. A few of the audience members voiced their concerns about voter integrity and the voting process.
Bice responded by saying that after overseeing the election board for two years she is confident in Oklahoma’s voting process and she hopes that other states will emulate the state’s process.
“Voter integrity is something that is a concern to a lot of people,” Bice said. “But here’s what I can tell you, I can tell you that Oklahoma does it right.”
Another attendee asked Bice about her thoughts on the passage of the Voting Rights Act, known as H.R. 4 or the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Bice voted against the legislation, which was approved Tuesday on a party-line vote of 219-212.
She said there are some provisions in the legislation that she did not support, such as the Department of Justice’s involvement in reviewing and approving changes to state election laws.
One attendee asked Bice about where she stands on mandating vaccinations in the workplace and in schools.
The congresswoman said she is not a vaccine mandate advocate, but she does encourage others to get vaccinated.
“I don’t want to see mandates put in place, but I do want to encourage people to get the vaccine if they can,” Bice said in response.
The public meeting, which was held at Bethany First Assembly of God Church, is one of five listening sessions that are scheduled for Aug. 26 and Aug. 27 across District 5.
Last Updated August 26, 2021, 8:56 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor