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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Economy

I have consistently supported legislation and policies to get the nation’s long-term fiscal house in order by balancing the budget and reforming entitlements, so we can eventually pay down our debt.

Budget and Spending

Since 2008, our national debt has increased by more than $9 trillion. Under Democratic control, the United States ran $1 trillion dollar deficits for four consecutive years. After Republicans won back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the nation’s deficits have shrunk dramatically, to $534 billion in fiscal year 2016. While the deficit is still far too high, the progress made is the direct result of conservative efforts to reign in out-of-control spending, even in divided government.  

As a member of the House Budget Committee, I have consistently supported legislation to get our long-term fiscal house in order by balancing the budget and eventually pay down our debt. I support the aims of the Budget Control Act, which I hoped would lead to a solution to our long-term entitlement problems. Of the more than $3.7 trillion in spending done by the federal government, about one third is spent on discretionary programs (those that Congress and the president control on an annual basis). But unless we take on the complicated task of reforming the other two thirds of government designated as mandatory spending (mostly entitlement programs), America will eventually go bankrupt. 

Long-Term Reforms

The country’s major entitlement programs (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) are the most significant drivers of our debt. In fiscal year 2012, all entitlements comprised more than 60 percent of federal spending. According to the Boards of Trustees for Social Security and Medicare, both are due to become insolvent within the next 25 years if no changes are made. Every year that we delay addressing the issue, the solutions become more expensive and more painful, and continue to put our children and grandchildren even deeper in debt.

That’s why I have supported legislation that would put us back on a path toward fiscal balance by making changes to Medicare for those 54 and younger, while protecting those who have planned their retirements around the system in place. Under this kind of plan, those 54 and younger will have the option of keeping traditional Medicare or moving into a program modeled after Medicare Part D (one of the only government programs to ever come in under budget by 40 percent). If Congress acts now, making smaller changes to critical safety-net programs will prevent worse cuts to current beneficiaries. 

More on Economy

October 16, 2017 Weekly Columns
Our federal budget is a critical part of keeping our government functioning. It sets the boundaries and framework for how much money the federal government should spend on various federal programs and agencies. It is a fundamental measurement to help control spending and balance federal expenditures. However, for the past few years, the national debt has risen at an alarming rate. Just like a credit card can garner debt, so can the government.
 
October 5, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H. Con. Res. 71, the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Resolution. It passed by a vote of 219-206 with Cole’s support.
 
May 23, 2017 News Stories

Vox - Julia Belluz

The Republican leadership in Congress wants to cut spending on public health and repeal Obamacare.

Yet when it comes to medical research, they’re willing to throw down extra — even when President Trump wants to cut back.

In the administration’s first comprehensive budget proposal, out today, Trump is expected to call for a $5.8 billion trimming of the National Institutes of Health’s budget as part of an effort to curtail spending while increasing America’s already gigantic defense budget and expanding tax cuts.

March 20, 2017 Weekly Columns
Each year, Congress has the responsibility to pass a budget, and then appropriate funds in accordance with that budget to fund the federal government agencies. The process typically starts in February when the President submits his proposed budget. But Congress has no obligation to adhere to the President’s budget or even to put it to a vote. President Obama’s budgets were routinely rejected - and not on a partisan basis. More than once his proposed budgets failed to receive a single vote from either party in both the House and the Senate.
 
March 20, 2017 Weekly Columns
Each year, Congress has the responsibility to pass a budget, and then appropriate funds in accordance with that budget to fund the federal government agencies. The process typically starts in February when the President submits his proposed budget. But Congress has no obligation to adhere to the President’s budget or even to put it to a vote. President Obama’s budgets were routinely rejected - and not on a partisan basis. More than once his proposed budgets failed to receive a single vote from either party in both the House and the Senate.
 
January 28, 2017 News Stories
In just a few weeks, President Trump is expected to send Congress a federal budget that many expect will propose significant cuts to non-military spending. It will likely be the kind of proposal the GOP majorities in both the House and Senate have long embraced in theory but have had a harder time accepting in practice because it would require ending programs some of them support.
January 23, 2017 Weekly Columns
As President Trump begins his first 100 days into his presidency, Congress is busy working hand-in-hand with the new administration. Traditionally, the President presents the outlined budget for the next fiscal year in February. This begins the appropriations process to determine how each of our agencies and the entirety of our government are funded. A fiscal year expires on October 1st, so it is imperative that these appropriations are passed before that deadline.
 
January 17, 2017 Weekly Columns
Ever since the historic election on November 8, 2016, the United States has gotten a glimpse of what to expect from a Donald Trump Administration. President-elect Trump ran on an unabashedly populist platform that consistently put America first. Even before being sworn in President Trump was instrumental in convincing several American companies not to relocate and move American jobs overseas. And the stock market has consistently hovered around historic levels since Mr. Trump was elected.
 
January 10, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he was named Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. Cole served as the Chairman of the subcommittee during the 114th Congress.
 
December 20, 2016 Weekly Columns

When the 114th Congress began its session in January of 2015, many Americans had concerns about the direction of our nation, and the job approval of their Congressional leaders was appropriately low. After so many years of onerous executive overreach, House Republicans faced many challenges in the fight to block President Obama’s liberal agenda. There were many times that House Republicans have come close to making common sense conservative progress, only to be shot down by the president’s veto pen.

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