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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, about one percent of foreign aid is provided as direct budget support (cash) to foreign governments. The remainder of 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 poverty and promoting long-term development.

Additionally, through the appropriations process, Congress can help ensure that funding goes to countries to build stability and counter international threats. 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

February 3, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he supported H.R. 3662, the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act. In response to the president’s implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement, the legislation passed yesterday prevents Iranian individuals and groups supportive of terrorism and the regime’s ballistic program from getting sanctions relief.
January 25, 2016 Weekly Columns

Long before the controversial Iran nuclear agreement was set in motion by the Obama Administration, Republicans voiced their strong opposition to engaging and negotiating with the terrorist regime. Unfortunately, despite concerns from both lawmakers and many American citizens, President Obama chose to risk our nation’s security for an agreement that will undoubtedly increase volatility in the Middle East and ultimately pave the way for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. To call the Administration’s performance “disappointing” would be an understatement.

December 8, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 158, the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. The legislation relates to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which currently has 38 participating countries and uses background information shared by those countries with the United States for screening individuals seeking entry and short-term travel to America.
November 30, 2015 Weekly Columns

In response to the escalating conflict in the Middle East, thousands of refugees have fled the violence, terrorism and oppression directed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS). Without question, this flood of refugees into Europe and their potential resettlement into the United States calls for compassion, but our handling of the crisis also demands that we exercise serious caution. 

November 28, 2015 Weekly Columns

Tulsa World - Congressman Tom Cole

November 19, 2015 News Stories

Fortune - Steven T. Dennis

Paul Ryan’s on a roll. The new House speaker set Democrats back on their heels this week with a proposal to hit the pause button on the U.S. acceptance of Syrian refugees, even as he forcefully put down anti-Muslim sentiment on his party’s right flank.

November 19, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he supported H.R. 4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015, which passed the House by a vote of 289-137. In response to the increasing influence of ISIL/ISIS and the terrorist group’s suspected exploitation of refugees fleeing the escalating conflict in the Middle East, this legislation halts admission of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the United States until the vetting process is strengthened.
November 18, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he was one of 110 House members who sent a letter today urging President Barack Obama to halt admission of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the United States until the vetting and monitoring process is improved and strengthened in order to keep Americans safe from potential terrorist threats.
November 17, 2015 News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

Echoing the concerns of many Republican officeholders, Sen. Jim Inhofe said Monday that no more Syrian refugees should be allowed into the United States until Congress has reviewed the process for screening them.

“Accepting refugees is an important and historical practice of our nation, but the Syrian refugee situation is atypical due to ISIS's attempts to exploit the crisis and concerns over the validity of Syrian passports,” said Inhofe, R-Tulsa.

November 16, 2015 Weekly Columns

Over the weekend, the world was shaken by a series of devastating terrorist attacks that claimed dozens of innocent lives in Paris. Reportedly carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS), the senseless attacks demonstrate that these terrorists are becoming bolder and more violent by the day, intending to terrorize and harm all of humanity.