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) issued the following statement after voting against legislation to increase the debt limit:
"Runaway government spending is bankrupting the country, and the Democrats' response is to raise the debt limit and keep on borrowing and spending. Today's vote increased the debt limit for the sixth time in three years. That kind of spending is simply unsustainable.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following statement today in response to the release of the Obama administration's fiscal year 2011 budget:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole provided the following comments after hearing reports that the web site that tracks spending from the nearly $800 billion stimulus bill, Recovery.gov, misreported the number of Congressional districts in the state of Oklahoma.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) provided the following comments regarding his recent co-sponsorship of a resolution acknowledging the participants of the 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington which took place on September 12th.
WASHINGTON - Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) added his name to a discharge petition calling for House Democratic leadership to give members of Congress - and the public - at least 72 hours to look over major legislation before it is voted on.
"Defeating these Amendments is a Disservice to the American People"
WASHINGTON - Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) recently introduced two amendments during a conference committee on the FY2010 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.
Congressman Calls for More Accountability in Presidential Appointments
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) recently cosponsored legislation calling for more transparency in Presidential appointments. Specifically, Cole cosponsored H.R. 3226, the "Czar Accountability and Reform Act of 2009," introduced by Representative Jack Kingston (GA-01). If passed, funding will be withheld from any task force, council, or czar that is not confirmed by the Senate.
Says "Taxpayer Payouts for Political Party Conventions and Presidential Elections Must Come to an End"
WASHINGTON – Today Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) introduced two bills that seek to eliminate federal programs that currently use taxpayer dollars. Cole's first bill would terminate taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns. The second bill would prohibit the use of public funding for political party conventions.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) gave the following statement regarding H. Con. Res. 85, the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for fiscal year 2010, which passed yesterday in the House.