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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 26, 2018 Weekly Columns

Following the recently ended fiscal year, it was reported that the federal government’s budget deficit increased significantly compared to the previous year. While this is certainly discouraging news, the existence of a deficit is not surprising or unusual. Critics are of course quick to blame the implementation of tax reform as the chief contributor to the recent deficit. However, the reality is that another factor has for years been driving deficits and as a result, adding to the national debt.

October 1, 2018 Weekly Columns

Last week, Congress responsibly fulfilled its most fundamental duty to the American people by funding some of the nation’s most critical and pressing needs. The legislation signed into law by the president not only provides funding to strengthen and support our national defense, but it ensures vital programs and initiatives that serve all Americans can continue to do so effectively. While this recent action by Congress and the president is unquestionably good news for the country, I am proud that it also marks a historic and much-needed return to governing by regular order.

June 12, 2018 Weekly Columns
Our economy is witnessing an exciting change that is affecting millions. With thousands of new jobs and a reformed, working tax system, Americans everywhere are benefitting from the recent economic boost that is bound to deliver continued long-term results. But in just a few short months, our nation’s economy has seen the immediate effects of healthy economic and tax policies.
 
May 7, 2018 Weekly Columns
As Congress reaches the final stretches of its 115th session, the House can reflect on a long list of accomplishments it has achieved since the beginning of the session. Despite the constant discussions that partisan gridlock may be the new norm, it has been quite the opposite. Since the beginning of the 115th Congress, the House has passed 598 bills – 470 of which are sitting in the Senate with no action. That means almost 79% of all legislation passed thus far have yet to see the Senate Floor or the President’s desk.
March 19, 2018 Weekly Columns
This past year, the United States has been experiencing a welcome surge in economic growth. The economic successes America is enjoying is surely due to the hard work and ingenuity of the American people, the implementation of the Republican tax reform and President Trump’s initiative to bring American companies back home. In general, free trade contributes to our national prosperity as well. However, having open markets is not an invitation for others to take advantage of us. When bad actors exist, we have every right to use our power to protect our interests.
February 6, 2018 Weekly Columns
After his first year in the White House, President Trump and his Administration have much of which to be proud. Their accomplishments have delivered actual results, and the country is continuing to reap the benefits of those changes. During his first State of the Union speech, the President reinforced those achievements – many of which will certainly be remembered as signature accomplishments of his Presidency. Looking forward, he outlined an optimistic future for our nation, with a strong legislative agenda for the next year.
 
January 29, 2018 Weekly Columns
If you are an American taxpayer, you most likely have bills that need to be paid on a schedule, like an electric bill or a car payment. For many taxpayers, paying those bills might just get a little easier this year. The new tax code has already promised bigger paychecks for individuals and families, but the wave of its effects since passage into law is being realized across the nation from the corporate level to the individual taxpayer.
January 17, 2018 Weekly Columns
This week, the House will once again consider another funding measure to keep the government running and to avoid the possibility of a government shutdown. This spending bill will be the fourth Fiscal Year 2017 continuing resolution that the House has taken up to fund federal agencies, the military and a wide range of discretionary programs. Unfortunately, this means that the federal government is going to continue to run on funding levels that were set more than a year ago.
January 8, 2018 Weekly Columns
When the American people elected President Trump and a Republican majority, they expected big things in 2017. This past year brought with it several positive changes because the Trump administration and Congress have been focused on the American people’s priorities. One of the biggest accomplishments was the first major tax reform in more than three decades. And that’s just in year one. The American economy has grown tremendously since the beginnings of President Trump’s first days in office, and the growth trend seems likely to continue into 2018.
 
January 1, 2018 Weekly Columns
When the year 2017 began, Congress opened the new Congressional Session with the Trump Administration to “Make America Great Again.” As the year comes to a close, Congress and the Trump Administration can be proud of what they have accomplished together. Under its first year with President Trump, Congress has accomplished many of its legislative goals, and the President has fulfilled a number of his campaign promises. Although there is much work to be done in the coming year, we can reflect on this year’s legislative accomplishments with a sense of success.

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