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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 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

September 25, 2007 Weekly Columns
At the end of this month, the government will reach its annual deadline to fund the federal government for the next fiscal year. Here in the House of Representatives, we have passed all twelve of the required appropriations bills.
June 18, 2007 Weekly Columns
Each year Congress considers 11 or more appropriations bills which provide funding for numerous activities like national defense, education, homeland security and crime. Earmarking refers to a provision in legislation, in this case appropriations bills, which direct funds to be spent on specific projects.
March 17, 2005 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole voted today for the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Resolution (H.Con.Res. 95) that adequately funds our Nation's priorities while reigning in spending and reducing the federal deficit.
February 8, 2005 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole announced today that the President's budget includes language that would reverse a recent IRS decision that would require recipients of storm shelter grants to pay taxes on the funds they received.
October 26, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole was recently awarded the National Association of Manufacturer (NAM) Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence.
September 24, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – American Shareholders Association (ASA) awarded Representative Tom Cole with its annual Friend of the Shareholder award for siding with investors on important shareholder and economic issues in the 108th Congress.
September 24, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole today lauded the news that the unemployment rate in Oklahoma fell to 3.8 percent in August. This is the first time that the statewide rate has dropped below 4.0 percent since October 2001.
September 23, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole voted today for a comprehensive tax relief package that will ease tax obligations on America's families and businesses.
September 3, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole today applauded the news released today that 144,000 jobs were added to U.S. payrolls during August.
June 25, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole voted for legislation this morning that focuses on the most fundamental budget problem: spending.

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