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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Social Security

I am committed to addressing the challenges facing Social Security and in protecting it for current workers, as well as future retirees.

Social Security

Many seniors live on a fixed income, and I know how important Social Security checks are for their medicines and day-to-day living expenses. Based on current forecasts, Social Security can pay full benefits until 2033, after which it will only be able to pay 75 percent of its benefits. In 2011, Social Security saw its expenditures exceed its revenues for the first time in the program's history.

I am very committed to addressing the challenges facing Social Security and in protecting it for current workers, as well as future retirees. While the system is not facing an imminent crisis, it will face some irrefutable structural problems in the not-too-distant future. And every year that we delay addressing the issue, the solutions become more expensive and more painful.

I support legislation that would make changes to Social Security for the next generation of recipients, those under 55, while leaving the current system in place for those who have planned their retirements around it.


Like Social Security, Medicare has become a critical component of the social safety net upon which many of our senior citizens rely. And also like Social Security, Medicare is on an unsustainable funding path that will render it bankrupt by 2024 unless significant reforms are undertaken. And making matters even worse, the healthcare reform that was recently passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, cuts an additional $718 billion from Medicare.

While in Congress, I have supported the Ryan Budget, which will make no changes to Medicare for those 55 and older. Under this 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.

More on Social Security

February 15, 2017 Weekly Columns
At a time when trust in government is at or near an all-time low, it is critical that Congress and the President do everything we can to ensure that American tax dollars are being well-spent.
January 28, 2017 News Stories
In just a few weeks, President Trump is expected to send Congress a federal budget that many expect will propose significant cuts to non-military spending. It will likely be the kind of proposal the GOP majorities in both the House and Senate have long embraced in theory but have had a harder time accepting in practice because it would require ending programs some of them support.
January 23, 2017 Weekly Columns
As President Trump begins his first 100 days into his presidency, Congress is busy working hand-in-hand with the new administration. Traditionally, the President presents the outlined budget for the next fiscal year in February. This begins the appropriations process to determine how each of our agencies and the entirety of our government are funded. A fiscal year expires on October 1st, so it is imperative that these appropriations are passed before that deadline.
January 2, 2017 Weekly Columns

This week the 115th Congress will be sworn in and will immediately be faced with a host of challenges and opportunities. I am honored to serve another term as the Representative for the Fourth District of Oklahoma. When I was first elected in 2002, I was proud to serve with a Republican Administration and in the majority party in Congress. Six years later my party was the minority party and the United States had elected a Democratic president. In November 2016, the voters elected a Republican president and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress.

October 24, 2016 Weekly Columns
Since it was established in 1935, the Social Security program has become one of the most popular, and relied upon, government programs. A typical retired American will derive more than fifty percent of their income from Social Security. And approximately twenty five percent of American retirees rely on Social Security for nearly ninety percent of their income.
November 2, 2015 Weekly Columns

As long as President Obama is in office and Republicans control Congress, the nation will remain in an era of divided government. Given our system of checks and balances, true negotiation must take place and real compromise must be reached to govern effectively. And like I’ve said on numerous occasions, neither side can ever get all that it wants in a negotiation. In fact, in a true negotiation you’ll always get less than you want and give up more than you’d like. 

October 19, 2015 Weekly Columns

The Department of Treasury and Office of Management and Budget recently reported that the annual federal deficit had declined to its lowest level in years. At first glance, this sounds like very good news, and predictably President Obama was quick to claim it as his victory. However, even though the report certainly signals that some responsible choices have been made to slow the rate of spending, the reality is that the government still consistently spends outside its means and in so doing adds to our country’s already heavy burden of debt.

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.

August 23, 2015 News Stories

Ada News - Eric Swanson

Lawmakers have floated several proposals for fixing Social Security, such as raising the eligibility age and increasing the income levels subject to Social Security taxes, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said Thursday.

Cole also said he was optimistic that Congress would find a solution to Social Security’s financial woes.

“I think in the end, the public will force people to the table,” he said.

August 17, 2015 Weekly Columns

For decades, Social Security has brought peace of mind to generations of American retirees and disabled citizens. From that first paycheck and onward into every stage of working life, Social Security is an investment program that has served tens of millions of American workers. But as we are all too aware, the program’s ability to keep the same promise to future generations of American workers is in grave danger.