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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Cole: “In the courts, you can actually win”

March 3, 2015
Speech

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) made remarks on the House floor before the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the fiscal year: 

I share the outrage of my friends over the president’s actions because I don’t think there’s any question that’s why we’re here. The president did something that many of us on our side of the aisle, most of us on our side of the aisle, believe was unconstitutional, illegal and ill-advised. 

Second, I share my friends’ anger at the United States Senate. I think it is reprehensible not to pick up a bill and act on it, not to go to conference. That’s exactly the way we’re designed to work. We know that frankly the Democratic now-minority, thankfully, in the Senate has operated that way for four years. I’m not surprised that having operated that way in the majority, they continue to operate that way in the minority.

But every now and then, you need to take a step back and recognize we’re not the only place where these issues get thrashed out. And we’re not the only players in this drama. Indeed, we’ve been very fortunate on our side in this debate. We’ve been joined by 26 state attorney generals who hold exactly the same view we do and have taken the president of the United States and the Administration to court and have prevailed in the first court case, as my friends have pointed out. In addition, they have won an injunction so that the president cannot do the very things my friends are concerned about that he wants to do. 

So we not only have the court, at least at this point, on our side, but we have it in a venue where we can actually win in the end. We’re not likely to be able to do that in the Congress, given the Democratic control of the filibuster in the other body and the presidential veto at the end of the process. In the courts, you can actually win. It’s a constitutional issue. It ought to be settled constitutionally through a judicial process.

Since we’ve stopped the president, since we’re prevailing in court, it seems to me the logical thing to do is what my friend Mr. Dent suggested and look at a bipartisan compromise bill that protects the American people from real physical harm and danger, at the moment that we’re sorting out our constitutional and political differences in the appropriate format. That’s all this bill is about. 

It was agreed to in a bipartisan fashion. It was agreed to in a bicameral fashion. The reasons why we were concerned about it have been addressed by the courts. So I would urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, let’s set aside our differences; they are going to be resolved in an appropriate way, in an appropriate fashion and in the right forum. And let’s do the right thing for the American people. Pass this legislation and make sure that our fellow citizens stay secure.

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165