WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe brought a slideshow. Sen. Tom Coburn brought severe back pain. And other veterans of the Oklahoma congressional delegation brought their insights on a range of issues of interest to state business leaders.
But it may have been the delegation's two rookies who stole the show at the State Chamber's annual Washington visit — Rep. Markwayne Mullin, with his impassioned remarks about his wife's sacrifice and his hilarious take on Republican “job packages,” and Rep. Jim Bridenstine's intense explanation of the effort to fund the federal government, except Obamacare.
“It's going to require Republicans to walk out and say we funded it,” said Bridenstine, R-Tulsa. “We funded it, we funded it, we funded it. We funded the government, the president is committed to this egregious law and he is shutting down the government. Will Republicans do that? I don't know. But that's what I'm fighting for.”
Mullin, R-Westville, who built a successful plumbing company before running for Congress last year, began his allotted time with a rant to the business leaders about Washington's ignorance about running a business.
One of his pet peeves, he said, is when another House Republican touts job-creating legislation.
“If you had a job package that you're that successful in creating a million jobs, why aren't you in the private sector?” Mullin said.
“Don't set up there and tell me you have a jobs package when you've never created a job in your life. Now all of a sudden you're an elected official and you know how to create jobs? Isn't that ironic? I guess I could be a physician, too.”
There actually is a physician in the Oklahoma delegation and he couldn't heal himself on Tuesday.
Coburn, R-Muskogee, slightly bent over, walked slowly to the podium in the Senate office building and said he had crippled himself trying to pick up a 50-pound bag of seed. (“It's the closest I've come to passing out from pain,” he told The Oklahoman later).
He then went on to give a characteristically sobering assessment of homeland security.
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A lot of these people live from day to day, and it's really a hardship on them.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe,