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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Lawton Constitution: Cole not pleased with vote in Defense Act

July 13, 2019
News Stories

Lawton Constitution - Staff

Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday on H.R.  2500, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.

Cole opposed the legislation, which he said underfunds the Department of Defense, includes partisan provisions and deviated from customary process. He had said earlier in the week that he planned to vote against the NDAA for the first time because of its problems. Critics have said the House bill contains $17 billion less than the $750 billion version passed two weeks ago by the U.S. Senate.the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020.

At the time, Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the Senate and House would go to conference committee on the NDAA, but he expects to see many of the provisions from the Senate version included in the final version of the bill.

The House bill passed on a 220-196 vote. vote. Cole was among those who voted no.

“I am disappointed that House Democrats have turned a historically bipartisan effort into a partisan exercise. For nearly 60 years, members on both sides of the aisle have come together to authorize funding for our nation’s military personnel, readiness and operations,” said Cole. “Until today (Friday), I’ve never voted against the annual National Defense Authorization Act because it’s always been a bipartisan product that rightly affirms support for our troops and the critical resources they need to be effective.

“Despite the partisan failure in the House, there is a realistic and responsible path forward. Thanks to the hard work of Senate Armed Services Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and members of the committee, the Senate already passed an NDAA — by a strong bipartisan vote of 86-8 — that more closely mirrors the needs of the American military. House Democrats should have worked with Republicans to achieve the same goals to begin with, but in the days to come, I hope they choose the sensible course and vote on the Senate’s NDAA since it can actually become law. The troops deserve our full support.”

During consideration of the rule for H.R. 2500 on Wednesday, Cole expressed his specific concerns with the legislation — including slowing down the modernization of nuclear forces to counter Russian aggression, reversing a longstanding prohibition against transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States and restricting the administration’s ability to secure the southern border. Cole also pointed out the imbalance of Democratic and Republican amendments considered in the process of finalizing the NDAA, which he said clearly favors Democrats.

Online: Lawton Constitution