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Foreign Affairs

While much of the power to conduct foreign affairs is granted to the president by the U.S. Constitution, Congress can and should still shape foreign policy and play a vital role in ensuring the world remains a safe place and that our citizens are protected from harm.

For example, Congress maintains control over the “purse strings” and funds our national defense and foreign assistance. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand how foreign assistance is used to support American values all over the world. On average, only about one percent of foreign aid is provided as direct budget support to foreign governments. In fact, most aid is given in the form of expert technical advice, training, equipment, vaccines, food, educational exchanges and applied research. Much of the work done by America and its citizens internationally is crucial to lifting developing countries out of disease and poverty, promoting long-term development and building important relationships.

Additionally, through the appropriations process, Congress can help ensure that funding goes to countries to build stability and counter a variety of international threats, such as terrorism, illegal drugs, and infectious disease. Approximately 1.3 percent of the total federal budget is designated for foreign assistance from all federal sources. Aid that promotes global prosperity, democracy and rule of law, economic growth and humanitarian interests reflects American values and global leadership.

More on Foreign Affairs

March 24, 2008 Weekly Columns
As we reflect on the past five years since the beginning of the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important to recognize the progress that has been made, as well as the enormous sacrifices that were required to make that progress possible.
January 3, 2008 Weekly Columns
America's leaders understand that securing a strong and reliable relationship with Pakistan is a critical foreign policy goal. Global terrorism is thriving along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, radical Islamic practices are surging in the area, and most recently, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated.
October 29, 2007 Weekly Columns
Last weekend I was able to take a trip to Kuwait, Iraq and Germany with three other members of Congress.
October 1, 2007 Weekly Columns
Last week Columbia University in New York City invited the President of Iran to speak before students and faculty during a World Leaders Forum.
July 28, 2005 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole voted today for the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) to reduce trade barriers and help promote American exports.
July 22, 2005 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole announced today that the Valero refinery in Ardmore will be designated as a foreign trade subzone by the Department of Commerce.
March 10, 2005 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole, who returned Monday from his fourth trip to Iraq, said he was much more optimistic about the situation in Iraq and the future of the Iraqi people then he was in previous trips to the country.
September 16, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – This weekend Congressman Tom Cole will be hosting British Parliamentarian Mr. Richard Shepard in Oklahoma and introducing him to U.S. politics on a state level.
May 6, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole today voted for a resolution that condemns the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody in Iraq. H. Res. 627 also emphasized that alleged crimes of a few should not detract from the commendable sacrifices of over 300,000 members of the Armed Forces who have served, or who are serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
October 31, 2003 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole voted today to provide $87.5 billion to support U.S. troops and rebuild Iraq.