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.
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
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today released the following statement after the House approved a spending cut resolution requiring a 5 percent cut to every congressional office budget:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today released the following statement after the House Republican majority passed new operating rules for the 112th Congress:
"House Republicans pledged to cut spending and reform government, and we've wasted no time getting started. For too long, Washington has operated under a system that reflexively enables spending and the growth of government. The new rules we passed today change the legislative process and put the focus where it should be -- on budget discipline, spending cuts, and transparency."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today released the following statement after voting against a temporary spending bill that maintains inflated government funding levels through March 2011:
"Instead of cutting spending during this time of high joblessness and record deficits, Democrats have pushed through yet another bloated funding bill. After failing to pass a budget or sign any of the 12 annual spending bills into law this year, the outgoing majority's record of fiscal irresponsibility remains unbroken.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today released the following statement after voting in favor of legislation to extend tax cuts for all Americans:
"This bill is certainly not ideal, but allowing massive tax hikes to go into effect for every American during a recession is unacceptable. I would have preferred a more fiscally responsible plan that makes the current tax rates permanent and avoids dipping into the Social Security trust fund, but this is the best agreement possible at this time.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today released the following statement after voting against Democrats' tax bill:
"This vote is nothing more than a political stunt. Negotiations are under way to extend tax breaks for all taxpayers and small businesses. Staging this vote before the negotiations are complete shows that the Democratic majority cares more about scoring political points than about getting the economy moving."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following statement after House Democrats passed H.R. 1586, the latest "stimulus" bill:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 4899, a supplemental appropriations bill to provide critical funding for war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today issued the following statement after House Democrats passed their latest spending bill:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today issued the following statement after voting against H.R. 4173, "Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010":
"Americans are no safer from another economic collapse today than we were yesterday. This bill institutionalizes 'too big to fail' and does nothing to address the rampantly irresponsible lending practices at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that played a leading role in causing the financial crisis. Creating new government bureaucracy and jeopardizing more taxpayer dollars is not reform."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today issued the following statement after the House Republican Economic Recovery Working Group launched YouCut, a first-of-its kind initiative designed to give taxpayers an opportunity to vote on spending cuts they would most like to see Congress enact. Cole's proposal to eliminate the Presidential Election Fund is one of the first spending cuts to be considered under the program.