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Cole Floor Speech on Loaded War Supplemental

June 16, 2009

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following remarks on the House floor last night opposing the emergency War Supplemental conference report.

Mr. COLE: "Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to this conference report, and I do that with a heavy heart, quite frankly. When this measure was initially before us I supported it enthusiastically. And in my remarks I praised the President. I thought he'd made a tough decision and deserved bipartisan support. I praised the majority because they had brought us, I think, a very good and finely crafted bill. And frankly, I was proud of the minority because we stepped up unconditionally, supported the President, provided the votes that he needed to win and make a difference to have not just a bipartisan majority, but Republican votes that put us in the majority.

I felt like we dealt with the President and the administration in good faith. And frankly, I don't think, since that point, that faith has been reciprocated. Over the course of the process as this legislation's moved through, IMF funding has been added. It scores at $5 billion but it's a considerably greater amount of money that will be deployed.

We've had this issue with the photos. We've had the issue of detainees. And frankly, throughout that, there's been no effort to negotiate with our side of the aisle, which did provide the funding again, the votes needed to pass the original bill, you know, without condition. And frankly, it's almost as if there was assumption on the other side that we would either roll over or be blackmailed or be bullied into supporting the bill simply because of the military funding in it.

And I wonder whether or not, in retrospect, it was worth losing literally dozens and dozens of Republicans that were prepared to support this bill in a bipartisan fashion in order to add these other measures which could have, frankly, been brought to the floor on their own.
So I'm forced to urge the rejection of this conference report. I would hope that we could restore the military funding that was taken out. I would hope that we could strip the unrelated IMF funding, and I would hope that we could practice once again the bipartisanship that led us to such an overwhelming success in the original bill. And if we go back to that method, I think that the President and the administration will be able to rely on continued bipartisan support in the tough decisions they have to make going forward."