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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Economy

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. 

Long-Term Reforms

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

October 31, 2016 Weekly Columns
In a little more than six weeks, a new labor rule governing overtime pay for salaried workers is set to take effect.  Like many of his economic policies, this is another example of the President’s fundamental lack of understanding of the free market and the job killing aspects of overbearing federal regulations.  While he may think this new rule will result in a higher take home pay for middle class workers, it is more likely to force many workers to “punch a clock” and lose the flexibility that a salary provides.
 
October 3, 2016 Weekly Columns
Every American should have the opportunity to pursue and achieve the American Dream. One of the most basic foundations of opportunity is American enterprise and the ability for citizens to enter the workforce. Our economy has seen its ups and downs throughout our history. But since this Administration took office, the economy has seen more bad than good.
 
September 28, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a 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 government until December 9, 2016 and prevents a government shutdown.
September 5, 2016 Weekly Columns

It’s been a great month in the Fourth District, and I enjoyed updating everyone with the work we’re doing in DC. And now it’s time to continue our work and get back to some unfinished business. As the Members of Congress descend back to Washington, we’re aware that there are things we’ve got to do, and there’s no time to waste in completing our tasks. From battling Zika to funding the government, everyone on both sides of the aisle have got some things to prioritize.

 

July 25, 2016 Weekly Columns
One of the greatest aspirations we have in this nation is the concept of the “American Dream”. The idea that any person, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or religion can achieve prosperity, happiness and success has always been a bedrock principle of our national experience. Achieving the American Dream generally relies upon individual initiative, so the best way the government can assist in the pursuit is to get out of the way.
 
July 15, 2016 Press Release

Washington, D.C. - House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, along with Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran and other senior members of the House and Senate committees, today sent a joint letter to President Obama urging White House action on Zika funding.

July 15, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Senate failed to reconsider the Zika Conference Report, the legislation targeted at funding the Zika virus response efforts. The conference report had previously failed to pass in the Senate on its first attempt.
 
July 14, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. - The House Appropriations Committee today approved the draft fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill. The legislation includes funding for programs within the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and other related agencies.
 
July 11, 2016 News Stories
With Congress remains deadlocked over funding to fight the Zika virus, senior GOP leaders are working to head off yet another big public health funding fight.
July 8, 2016 News Stories
Following in their Senate colleagues’ footsteps, a House subcommittee signed off on a budget increase for the National Institutes of Health Thursday.

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