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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

June 17, 2015 News Stories

Politico - Brian Mahoney

An appropriations subcommittee shot down a bid by Rep. Rosa DeLauro to increase funding for programs in the Labor HHS bill to the levels requested by President Barack Obama in his 2016 budget.

The amendment would have funded by nearly $11 billion child care programs, Pell grants, job training and other defunded programs, DeLauro said. “And yet even with those increases, we are only halfway back to restoring the Labor HHS bill to its fiscal year 2010 funding level,” DeLauro said.

June 16, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. 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.
April 30, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. Con Res. 11, the FY16 Budget Resolution Conference Report. This agreement balances the budget in 10 years, repeals Obamacare to lead the way for patient-centered reforms and provides funding to maintain a strong national defense. Passage of the legislation in both chambers will mark the first time since 2009 that Congress has agreed upon a budget.
April 6, 2015 Weekly Columns

Each year when it comes time for filing income taxes, hardworking Americans are forced to navigate what has become a needlessly complicated process. Because of the headaches associated with gathering or finding the necessary filing documents, navigating the tricky instructions and wondering still if you covered all your bases, it’s no wonder that many rely on paid professionals to comply or end up requesting an extension.

March 25, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 27, to establish the federal government’s budget for fiscal year 2016. The House proposal recommended by Republicans would balance the budget in less than 10 years, cut spending by $5.5 trillion, provide funding to maintain a strong national defense, repeal Obamacare, reform both the tax code and entitlements—like Medicare and Medicaid—and present real solutions to grow the economy.
March 24, 2015 Speech
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), during consideration of the rule for the House Republican budget for fiscal year 2016, made the following remarks on the House floor in support of the proposal:
March 23, 2015 Weekly Columns

In households across the United States, many families already understand that getting out of debt and staying out of debt requires a budget. Like the countless families who recognize the importance of setting spending limits and living within their means, Republicans have long agreed that the federal government should follow the same example.

March 17, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Committee on the Budget, released the following statement after Chairman Tom Price led the committee in releasing “A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America.” The blueprint for fiscal year 2016 would balance the budget in less than 10 years, cut spending by $5.5 trillion, repeal Obamacare, reform entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid and present real solutions to grow the economy.
February 9, 2015 Weekly Columns

During a quick glance of the news, it’s impossible to ignore the mounting crises overseas, like the dangerous uprising of terrorists groups in the Middle East and mobilization of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine. While these worldwide crises are currently in the forefront and rightly viewed as urgent threats to our nation’s security, the sometimes overlooked yet increasingly dangerous threat to our nation’s future prosperity and security is living in the form of our exploding national debt. 

February 5, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement of support after the U.S House of Representatives passed H.R. 527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act. Along with instructing federal agencies to look at the economic impact of regulations on small businesses, it requires that agencies conduct reviews of current rules.

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