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
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to President Obama's speech today on the deficit.
Cole serves on the Budget and Appropriations committees.
"Today's speech was the least presidential and most political President Obama has delivered yet. The president criticized and distorted the Republican budget plan without offering any substantive proposals of his own. Tax hikes do not qualify as a valid solution to our crushing entitlement debt.
House, Senate Agree to Largest Spending Cut in American History
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) released the following statement after Congress approved a temporary funding measure to avert a government shutdown and agreed to pass a long-term bill to cut almost $80 billion below President Obama's 2011 budget request -- the largest spending cut in American history:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 1363, The Troop Funding Bill, which was passed today by House Republicans. The legislation funds government operations for one week with cuts of $12 billion, provides funding for U.S. Armed Forces for the remainder of the fiscal year, and would avert a government shutdown if adopted in the Senate.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement regarding the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, which will be considered in the House of Representatives this week:
"It's been 39 days since House Republicans passed a bill to cut $100 billion and keep the government running for the rest of the year, yet the Senate refuses to act. Two things are obvious: Senate Democrats have no interest in cutting spending, and they believe a government shutdown serves their political interests.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House approved the latest in a series of short-term budget measures to avert a government shutdown and fund the government through April 8 while cutting $6 billion in spending:
"Democrats seem content to waste week after week dealing with their unfinished business from last year while our economic security hangs in the balance, but enough is enough. House Republicans have passed $100 billion in spending cuts, yet Senate Democrats can't even agree to cut $10 billion.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House approved H.R. 4 – Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011. The legislation repeals a burdensome provision of Obamacare requiring small businesses and rental property owners to file an IRS Form-1099 for any vendor with which they have more than $600 in yearly transactions. The bill reduces the deficit by $166 million in the first 10 years, cuts federal spending by $20 billion over ten years and reduces taxes by $19.7 billion:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House approved legislation to fund the government through March 18 while cutting $4 billion in spending:
"House Republicans have demonstrated that we are committed to cutting spending and keeping the government running. Now Harry Reid and Senate Democrats must decide whether to work with us or to fight the spending cuts demanded by the American people."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after House Republicans approved legislation that cuts $100 billion in spending from the President Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget:
"Historic deficits require historic spending cuts, and that's exactly what House Republicans have achieved. We pledged to voters that we would cut $100 billion this year, and we took less than eight weeks to do it.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to the release of President Obama's 2012 budget. Cole serves on the House Budget Committee and the Appropriations Committee.
"The president's budget demonstrates a disappointing lack of leadership. America will go bankrupt unless both parties come together and make tough choices, yet President Obama has ignored our massive debt and delivered a budget that contains even more spending, taxing and borrowing.