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

Budget and Spending

The federal government must cut back on spending so that it can run efficiently and effectively for its citizens. Of the more than $3.7 trillion in annual spending 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.

The real challenge is that the mandatory side of the budget – including interest on the national debt – is by far the largest category and rapidly growing. Numerous facts, figures and economic analyses have for years warned about the unsustainable growth of mandatory spending. For example, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that mandatory represented 34 percent of all government spending in 1965; today, that figure has risen dramatically to reflect more than two-thirds of all spending in 2018. By 2028, mandatory is on track to cover at least 77 percent of all spending.

With mandatory spending, it’s not only the rapid rate of its growth, eclipsing discretionary spending, that is alarming. CBO has also projected that the federal trust funds connected to Medicare and Social Security are quickly nearing insolvency and thus will eventually fail to deliver on the benefits promised. On the current path and according to projections by the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security as a whole is expected to become insolvent in 2032 – with the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund unable to pay out full benefits as early as 2028.

Long Term Reforms

Clearly, to make real progress toward tackling our burden of debt, tough decisions and careful solutions are required. But the solutions must include reforms to save and sustain the mandatory programs serving many vulnerable Americans. I believe a good place to start would be passage of legislation I introduced again this Congress, the Bipartisan Social Security Commission Act. The bill calls for a bipartisan and bicameral commission tasked with recommending reforms to ensure Social Security is solvent for at least 75 years. Congress would then be required to vote up or down on the commission’s recommendations within 60 legislative days. This approach worked in 1983 when the solvency of Social Security was extended by 50 years. It can work again if our political leaders will face up to their responsibilities and work in a bipartisan manner.

More on Economy

November 19, 2021 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he voted against H.R. 5376, a multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation spending bill meant to reflect President Joe Biden’s so-called “Build Back Better” agenda.
November 15, 2021 Weekly Columns
Over the past several months, Americans have felt the dramatic rise of prices on everything, from the cost of groceries, filling up at the gas pump and heating their homes as well as trouble finding items on store shelves.
November 1, 2021 Weekly Columns

For the last several weeks, Democrats in Congress have tried and continuously failed to settle disputes within their own caucus on a multi-trillion-dollar spending bill, reflective of President Joe Biden’s socialist “Build Back Better” plan. While the legislation’s price tag has remained an ongoing point of contention between the radical left and moderate factions of the Democratic party, don’t be fooled into thinking that a lower price tag would result in a good bill.

October 18, 2021 Weekly Columns
When President Biden assumed office, he promised to secure our southern border and reform our nation’s immigration system for the better. Unfortunately, he has instead reversed several immigration policies that keep our country and migrants safe and provide fair processes to migrants who enter our country legally and lawfully.
October 14, 2021 News Stories
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — The U.S. House on Tuesday is set to take up a Senate-passed bill that would extend the debt limit through early December.
October 12, 2021 Press Release
Norman, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives approved a rule deeming passage of a measure to raise the public debt limit by $480 billion.
October 4, 2021 Weekly Columns
A topic that has come up during both of the last couple weeks in Congress is the issue of adjusting the debt limit, which requires legislation signed by the president to either raise or suspend it. Although Democrats control both chambers of Congress and the White House and they have refused to work with Republicans on much of anything this year, they are claiming that Republicans will be the ones to blame if the United States defaults on its debt.
September 30, 2021 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), Vice Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a short-term continuing resolution that funds the federal government at fiscal year 2021 levels until December 3, 2021.
September 29, 2021 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the House Amendment to S. 1301, a measure to suspend the debt limit through the end of 2022.
September 21, 2021 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5305.