WASHINGTON — Markwayne Mullin made his first trip to Washington last week as one of Oklahoma's two congressmen-elect. And though he's still finding his way around Capitol Hill, he knows where he stands on the biggest issue here now.
“I'm not for raising taxes on anyone — period,'' said Mullin, a Republican who will succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Dan Boren in the House next year.
Mullin, of Westville, won't get to vote on any kind of temporary fix, if one is fashioned in the next few weeks, for the looming tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. He won't take office until January, just after they're scheduled to take effect.
If, as expected, the real work of overhauling the tax code is done next year, the 35-year-old plumbing company owner will get his say. In a brief interview, he said he would not support tax code changes that meant higher taxes for anyone.
“Right now, if it's putting more (money) in the hands of the government — they're not being responsible with it now. It makes no sense to send more money up here for them to waste.”
Mullin was on Capitol Hill for freshman orientation activities, which included a session on ethics. Mullin said there's a lot of do's and don'ts.
“It's not necessarily all common sense,” Mullin said. “Some of it doesn't make any sense, but that's government for you. But really it's just being careful. Ask questions. Don't assume anything. That's the best way to describe it.”
One thing Mullin hasn't done is look for an apartment. Many members of Congress — including three from Oklahoma — sleep in their offices when they're in town since their families stay in Oklahoma. Mullin said that's what he'll start out doing.
“I want my wife and kids to be somewhat involved so it really depends on how often they're willing to come up,” he said. “I don't want to raise my kids on concrete; I want them to be raised in the country like I was … I've slept in my office anyway so many times, sleeping here will be nothing.”
Secession petitions aren't realistic, lawmakers say
Mullin isn't among those who want the state to secede from the Union because of the Nov. 6 election. He and his eastern Oklahoma congressional district are decidedly opposed to President Barack Obama, and one of the two petitions filed on the White House website for Oklahoma to secede came from Grove, which is in his district.
Mullin said, “People are upset. We understand people are upset. But we've got to be realistic at the same time.”
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, said of the petitions, which call for Oklahoma to secede and create its own “NEW” government, “First of all, that ain't going to happen. I understand the reaction. All that is an incrimination of members of Congress of not doing their job.”