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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

March 24, 2015 Speech
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), during consideration of the rule for the House Republican budget for fiscal year 2016, made the following remarks on the House floor in support of the proposal:
March 23, 2015 Weekly Columns

In households across the United States, many families already understand that getting out of debt and staying out of debt requires a budget. Like the countless families who recognize the importance of setting spending limits and living within their means, Republicans have long agreed that the federal government should follow the same example.

March 17, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Committee on the Budget, released the following statement after Chairman Tom Price led the committee in releasing “A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America.” The blueprint for fiscal year 2016 would balance the budget in less than 10 years, cut spending by $5.5 trillion, repeal Obamacare, reform entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid and present real solutions to grow the economy.
February 9, 2015 Weekly Columns

During a quick glance of the news, it’s impossible to ignore the mounting crises overseas, like the dangerous uprising of terrorists groups in the Middle East and mobilization of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine. While these worldwide crises are currently in the forefront and rightly viewed as urgent threats to our nation’s security, the sometimes overlooked yet increasingly dangerous threat to our nation’s future prosperity and security is living in the form of our exploding national debt. 

February 5, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement of support after the U.S House of Representatives passed H.R. 527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act. Along with instructing federal agencies to look at the economic impact of regulations on small businesses, it requires that agencies conduct reviews of current rules.
February 2, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Committee on the Budget, released the following statement after the president’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposal was unveiled.
January 29, 2015 News Stories

Washington Post - Steven Mufson, Juliet Eilperin and David Nakamura

President Obama will present a federal budget proposal on Monday that would exceed restrictive spending caps mandated by Congress four years ago and propose new capital gains and bank taxes, an effort that will likely get bogged down in congressional opposition to taxes and big budget deficits.

January 14, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015.
December 17, 2014 Weekly Columns

Red Alert Politics - Congressman Tom Cole

Even though many would prefer to forget, last week was a reminder of the painful government shutdown during October of last year. As we recall, that situation dragged on for too long and caused the American people to question the ability of lawmakers to do what they were elected to do. However, when both sides came to the table, they were able to find common ground that restored hope of a government that can function and serve the best interests of the nation.