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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

December 17, 2014 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, issued the following statement after President Barack Obama announced steps to “normalize relations” between the United States and Cuba. This policy change comes after Alan Gross, an American contractor who was held captive in Cuba for five years, was released today.
December 2, 2014 News Stories

Wall Street Journal - Byron Tau

President Barack Obama invoked the responsibility of the U.S. to lead on the world stage as he renewed his call for Congress to pass a $6.2 billion emergency aid package aimed at combating the Ebola outbreak.

Speaking at an event at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., Mr. Obama said American leadership at home and abroad was needed to tackle the deadly disease worldwide. “We need to protect the American people, and we need to show the world how America leads,” the president said.

December 1, 2014 Weekly Columns

Since 1984, Iran has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a sponsor of terrorism around the world. Without question, this designation has set a precedent in our relationship with Iran, causing distrust and caution in our dealings with the country. In fact, last year was the first time since 1979 that direct communication between the U.S. and Iranian heads of government even took place, when President Barack Obama reached out to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with a phone call.

October 6, 2014 Weekly Columns

Over the last several months, we have all kept a close watch over the alarming outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. Primarily impacting the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, our concern is certainly shared with those who have lost loved ones to this disease. As Americans, our first inclination in the midst of suffering is to lend a helping hand and prevent a situation from growing from bad to worse.    

September 29, 2014 Weekly Columns

As details continue to unfold about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), we remain united in the belief that this terrorist group cannot be allowed to further expand or establish an Islamic caliphate. ISIL represents a clear and present danger to the safety and security of the United States. Knowing the violence of which this group is capable, including the brutal murders of two American journalists, the United States and our Allies understand that we must combat this enemy urgently and with resolve.

September 23, 2014 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s ordering of air strikes to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
September 17, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 124, Continuing Appropriations Resolution for 2015. This legislation removes the threat of a government shutdown by providing funding through December 11, 2014; it also includes an amendment that approves the president’s request for authorization to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
September 15, 2014 Weekly Columns

Last week, President Barack Obama addressed the nation and offered his plan for combating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). During his speech, the president asked Congress to authorize training of Syrian rebels and recommended further air strikes in the region for diffusing the threat of this dangerous enemy. 

September 10, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President Barack Obama addressed the nation about his plan for addressing the growing threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Sunni Islamist terrorist organization poses a threat far beyond the region in which it currently operates in Iraq and Syria, ultimately seeking to claim and use territory for building an Islamic caliphate.
September 5, 2014 News Stories

The Wire - Russell Berman

The House will only vote on a formal resolution authorizing the use of military force against the Islamic State if President Obama makes a direct request for congressional action.

That's the message the new majority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), has been delivering privately to lawmakers in recent days, according to aides familiar with his thinking.