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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 5, 2015 Weekly Columns

The release of a series of videos that have exposed the despicable backroom practices at Planned Parenthood and which documented disturbing conversations with some of its employees have caused Americans to question the federal funding the organization receives. Without question, I share the same disgust of the utter disregard for unborn human life demonstrated by the organization’s sale of aborted body parts in the videos. Like many others across the nation, I certainly do not believe that taxpayers should foot the bill for any of Planned Parenthood’s expenses.

October 1, 2015 News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

Congress averted a government shutdown Wednesday, approving a short-term spending bill just hours before the deadline with strong bipartisan support.

President Barack Obama signed the legislation, which will keep departments funded close to their current levels until Dec. 11, two weeks before Christmas.

September 30, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – 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 through December 11 and prevents a government shutdown.
September 30, 2015 News Stories

The Hill - Sarah Ferris

A top House Republican is asserting that the short-term government spending bill includes no funding for Planned Parenthood, a last-ditch effort to quell the conservative rebellion threatening the bill's fate.

“Just to make the record crystal clear, there's just simply not a dime in here for Planned Parenthood,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said during a markup of the spending bill by the House Rules Committee.

September 30, 2015 Weekly Columns

Oklahoma Economic Report - Congressman Tom Cole

Perhaps the most daunting issue that we face as Americans is the massive amount of public debt that exists and the rate at which it is growing. Certainly, the staggering number of nearly $18.4 trillion calls for real solutions to change the debt trajectory. In an effort to return our nation to fiscally-firm footing, it’s important to consider how we reached this point while also recognizing the areas where we’ve been successful.

September 29, 2015 News Stories

PolitiFact - Lauren Carroll

Congress needs to pass a spending bill by Sept. 30, 2015, or there’ll be a government shutdown. Some members of Congress want to leverage this deadline to defund Planned Parenthood.

But the bill Congress will likely pass -- a short-term spending bill that funds the government through Dec. 11 -- doesn’t include funding for Planned Parenthood to begin with, said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., on Fox News Sunday Sept. 27. So Congress shouldn’t shut down the government over funding the women’s health organization.

August 26, 2015 News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

The annual budget deficit will be the lowest since 2007, but the federal government's spending and accumulated debt are still heading to dangerous levels, the Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday.

With about five weeks remaining in the federal fiscal year, the CBO is estimating a deficit of $426 billion. That would be $59 billion below the 2014 shortfall.

July 22, 2015 News Stories

Washington Times - Andrew Nachemson

Alzheimer’s advocates are warning that Medicare and the national health system will be swamped by costs and patient loads in the coming years if no action is taken to prepare for a projected huge increase in the caseload as baby boomers enter their senior years.

July 20, 2015 Weekly Columns

Five years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that vastly restructured the American financial system. Brought about in response to the financial crisis and resulting recession in the last decade, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was presented as the means to protect consumers, encourage recovery and ensure financial stability in the future. Instead, the reality of Dodd-Frank has meant more rules and government regulators, fewer jobs created, slowed recovery and less American opportunity.

July 13, 2015 Weekly Columns

Before Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives more than four and a half years ago, lawmakers already knew that Americans desired change. But unlike the “change” that President Obama promised throughout his campaign and then strong-armed through a closed-door, Democrat-led Congress, Americans wanted to see a government that reined in regulatory excess, controlled government spending and demanded greater transparency and accountability. The Republican members of the House understood that then, and we still understand and fight for that now. 

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