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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

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.

December 15, 2014 Weekly Columns

Just more than a year ago, members on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress unveiled a two-year bipartisan budget deal. When the announcement was made by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray that a deal had been reached, it proved that, despite inevitable differences and even conflicting priorities, we can work together and lead in divided government. 

December 11, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015. Using the topline number and terms set in the Ryan-Murray budget agreement, the omnibus legislation fully funds the government at $1.013 trillion and prevents another government shutdown.
December 11, 2014 Speech
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) managed the rule on the House floor for H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015, and delivered opening remarks.
November 20, 2014 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he was appointed to serve as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.
November 20, 2014 Press Release

Washington, D.C.
– House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today announced that the Republican Steering Committee has approved the 12 Appropriations Subcommittee Chairs (or “Cardinals”) for the 114th Congress. 

October 20, 2014 Weekly Columns
With mounting global crises that threaten our nation’s safety and security, we must remember that we face an equal if not greater threat right here in our own country.
September 23, 2014 Weekly Columns

Journal Record - Congressman Tom Cole

America was built by the hands of innovators and entrepreneurs, and it remains supported by likeminded individuals who desire for America to remain great. Our land is still filled with an abundance of untapped resources and human intellect that, when allowed to flourish, only strengthens our presence and standing in the world. Even in tough economic times, the American brand is in high demand, and our public policy should seek to keep it there.

September 22, 2014 Weekly Columns

As we navigate the waters of a still-struggling economy, the impact of potential solutions upon job creators and providers should be carefully considered. Whether in the short-term or long-term, any solutions should obviously help rather than hurt hardworking Americans. When the economic environment allows business owners and workers to thrive, the whole country feels the benefit.

September 17, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 124, Continuing Appropriations Resolution for 2015. This legislation removes the threat of a government shutdown by providing funding through December 11, 2014; it also includes an amendment that approves the president’s request for authorization to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).