TULSA — Oklahoma’s only congressional Democrat gave less-than-enthusiastic appraisals of his party’s health care and energy proposals on Monday and warned of possible ramifications if the state continues to turn up its nose at the administration. Speaking to a Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce breakfast, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Dan Boren trashed "cap-and-trade” energy legislation and said the House health care bill is too expensive. He said some kind of reform measure, probably a version of one in the Senate, is likely to be approved. "As a congressman representing one of the poorest districts in the country … I do want health care reform,” Boren said. "But we have to be very careful. The current health insurance plan that’s been released, in my opinion, will only exacerbate the problem.” Later, in answer to a question, Boren said health care reform has "a better than 50-50 chance” of passing. "If health care reform is going to happen, it’s going to have to happen in a bipartisan way,” he said. "It’s really up to the president.” On energy, Boren said, "The cap and trade bill is really the worst piece of legislation I’ve seen since I’ve been there. It raises energy prices on businesses, raises electric bills on families, and it even raises gasoline prices in the middle of a recession. And, it makes America less competitive in the global economy.” In response to a question, Boren said he is working with Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., to tone down her bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing of oil- and gas-bearing formations. The legislation was introduced to protect water supplies from contamination, but Boren said the procedure is already safe. "If you shut down fracking, you shut down the industry,” Boren said.
We have to be very careful. The current health insurance plan that’s been released, in my opinion, will only exacerbate the problem.”
U.S. Rep. Dan Boren
Tax credit in dangerAlso in response to a question, Boren hinted that renewal of the Indian Land Tax Credit program, a popular tax incentive in Oklahoma, could encounter some opposition. The renewal has to have the support of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel of New York, and though Rangel has gone along with the request the last two years, Boren said it is difficult for him to ask for too many favors when he votes against the party leadership on key issues. "I want you all to think about the predicament I’m in sometime,” Boren said. "(Rangel) is asking me to vote for a lot of tax bills, and I’m saying no on a lot of stuff.”