Tom Cole

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

Purcell Town Hall Meeting

2014/07/21

Please join me for discussion at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 27 in Purcell. 

McClain County Community Center 1721 Hardcastle Boulevard Purcell, OK  73080

If you have any questions, please contact my Norman office at (405) 329-6500.

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Newcastle Town Hall Meeting

2014/07/21

Please join me for discussion at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 26 in Newcastle. 

Newcastle Community Center 705 NW 10th Street Newcastle, OK 73065

If you have any questions, please contact my Norman office at (405) 329-6500.

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Frederick Town Hall Meeting

2014/07/21

Please join me for discussion at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, August 5 in Frederick.

Banc First Conference Center 201 S. Main Street Frederick, OK 73542

If you have any questions, please contact my Norman office at (405) 329-6500.

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Oklahoma Delegation urges Obama Administration to reconsider use of Ft. Sill to house Unaccompanied Alien Children

2014/07/21

Washington, D.C. — The Oklahoma Congressional Delegation today urged the Obama Administration to reconsider its use of Fort Sill Army Base in Lawton, Okla., as a long-term holding facility for Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC).  

On Friday, Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel approved a request from HHS to extend and expand the Department of Defense’s (DOD) commitment to house UAC on military bases. The agreement calls for the DOD to house up-to an additional 5,000 UAC in addition to the ongoing support for 3,600 children approved in May. The agreement also commits DOD facilities to be used through January 31, 2015. 

“First and foremost, the Oklahoma delegation is proud of Fort Sill and the community for rising to the occasion to assist the children that are in the crosshairs of this unfortunate crisis. There is significant concern the contract with Fort Sill is turning into a commitment beyond what was originally proposed by the Administration and will soon begin to impede on the base’s vital responsibility to house and train new recruits,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, ranking member of Senate Armed Services Committee. “During my visit in June to meet the children and tour UAC housing, I warned local leaders that I fully expected the Obama Administration to push its limits with the use of Fort Sill. The Obama Administration’s lack of organization and the President’s failure to send a strong signal that he will secure the border will only increase demand of our military installations. While our military bases have been used before to temporarily aid migrants and refugees, we now have an Administration that is asking our military to do more with less resources than ever before.  President Obama needs to stop putting the onus on our military to manage his crisis, and he needs to prioritize solutions that will quickly reunite these children with their families in their home country.”

"Since we learned of the Administration's plan to use military installations for housing unaccompanied illegal minors, I have continually voiced my strong opposition to it,” said Rep. Tom Cole (4-OK). "While the flood of these juveniles has caused an apparent crisis, it is one of the president's own making due to a policy failure stemming from his unwillingness to enforce existing immigration law. Rather than acknowledge the problem at hand, the president has chosen to process individuals and allow them to stay in the United States, causing even more juveniles to make the journey. Not only is this surge causing a strain on the facilities and personnel of our military, but processing and detaining these juveniles on military installations does not and will not lead to a solution to the crisis. It instead incentivizes even more to come. I remain strongly opposed to use of our military bases for housing illegals, and most certainly do not support any time extension for HHS use of these facilities. Regardless of their origin, the treatment of all illegal immigrant children should be the same, meaning deportation should be immediate and mandatory."

"The border crisis is a result of Administration policies and failure to enforce the law,” said Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1), member of the House Armed Services Committee.  "The surge of illegal entries at the southern border of the United States has resulted in children suffering and threatens our national security and national sovereignty.  The compassionate thing to do is to deter people from making, or sending their children, on this dangerous journey.

"The request to extend use of DOD facilities for housing UAC is a very real threat to U.S. military readiness.  Ft. Sill is the primary artillery training center for troops before deployment.  The barracks are needed in October to prepare them for housing our warfighters in this critical training mission.  Secretary Hagel should not extend or expand the use of Ft. Sill as a UAC camp."

“The Administration’s decision to hold the unaccompanied minors at Fort Sill in the first place was irresponsible,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-2). “Fort Sill is not designed for this purpose, and turning the facility into a longer-term solution for housing these minors is extremely concerning. We need to be looking for real solutions not temporary fixes.”

“Military bases such as Fort Sill have stepped up to temporarily house thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving from Central America. However, the Obama Administration cannot continue to rely on such facilities as a long-term solution to illegal immigration,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-3). “If the president is serious about putting an end to this humanitarian crisis, he can start by securing our border and enforcing our country’s immigration laws.”

“This is a problem of the President’s own creation,” said Rep. James Lankford (OK-5). "The task of safely and humanely housing thousands of unaccompanied alien children is a classic example of the President trying to manage a problem, rather than solve a problem. President Obama already has sufficient legal authority from Congress to quickly reunite these children with their families in their home country. 

"The law is clear; a child is not considered ‘unaccompanied’ unless they do not have a parent in the United States. The vast majority of these children already have at least one parent illegally in the United States. This is not an issue of human trafficking. This is an issue of ignoring the law and attempting to jump ahead of other immigrants who have waited patiently to legally enter the United States. The quality facilities provided to these children at Ft. Sill are ideal for the Administration to stall the enforcement of existing law and further the President's pro-amnesty agenda. As a father, I remain grateful to the hard-working contract personnel who are responsible for these children while in HHS custody in Oklahoma. But I continue to implore President Obama to enforce the law immediately and stop encouraging children to travel thousands of dangerous miles, only to face a delayed return home.”

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Contact: Donelle Harder (202) 224-4721 (Inhofe)Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole) Sheryl Kaufman (202) 225-2211 (Bridenstine) Josh Miller (202) 225-2701 (Mullin) Andrew Witmer (202) 225-5565 (Lucas) Kelly Ferguson (202) 225-2132 (Lankford)

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Boundaries of Executive Power Must be Defined

2014/07/21

As our founding fathers clearly described in Article I of the Constitution, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has shown a consistent pattern of executive overreach throughout his time in office by repeatedly choosing to bypass Congress and unilaterally change laws on his own. 

While there have been numerous instances in which the president has gone around Congress to change laws or implement them however he chooses, this unconstitutional behavior has been most obvious through his handling of Obamacare. Since implementation of the law began, the president has unilaterally changed the law more than 20 times. For example, the president twice delayed the business mandate but still required that individuals purchase health plans. Even though I agreed with the relief afforded to businesses, the president did not go through the proper channel. 

In response to the recurring overreach related to the president’s signature piece of legislation, Speaker John Boehner recently revealed that he would lead the House in suing the president. Along with this announcement, the Speaker introduced a draft resolution for consideration “Providing authority to initiate litigation for actions by the president inconsistent with his duties under the Constitution of the United States.” This resolution to keep the president accountable to his own law was the topic of Wednesday’s hearing last week in the Rules Committee. As a member of the committee, I am supportive of this course of action by the House because it allows the courts to determine whether the president has acted within the powers designated to the executive branch.  

While some have cried for impeachment, I do not believe that is an achievable goal nor is it constitutionally correct since we are not dealing with high crimes or misdemeanors. We are instead dealing with a president who clearly doesn’t understand the appropriate limits of his power. Furthermore, never have senators from either party voted to impeach a president of their own party. To put this in perspective, at least 22 Democrats would have to agree with the 45 Republicans in the Senate for impeachment to even move. That said, impeachment proceedings would clearly not be successful.  

Instead, I agree that this lawsuit is the most appropriate venue for keeping the president accountable to the power designated to chief executive, starting with his implementation of the healthcare law. If the courts find that the House is correct in charging the president, which I believe they should, it follows that his previous orders should be nullified, forcing him to consult Congress. 

Clearly, the president needs the boundaries of his power defined, and I think this lawsuit is a step in the right direction.

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Sanctions Alone Will Not Deter Russian Separatists

2014/07/17

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after President Barack Obama announced his intention yesterday to impose more sanctions on Russia in response to continued conflict along the Russia-Ukraine border. Today, concerns surrounding the conflict in the region intensified after Malaysia Flight MH17, en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, was shot down and crashed in Ukraine near a pro-Russia separatist stronghold. 

“In the wake of today’s heartbreaking incident and following the president’s announcement to impose more sanctions on Russia, we are reminded of the gravity of the conflict and danger facing our friends in Ukraine,” said Cole. “In light of these events, it has become increasingly urgent for the United States to consider other ways to assist Ukraine in its time of desperate need.

“While the Ukrainian defense force continues to hold the line in the midst of growing threats, the rebels and the Russians continue to bully and attempt to dismember Ukraine. Beyond imposing sanctions, we must stand alongside Ukraine in its fight for survival against pro-Russian separatists, whether through providing equipment, strategic advice or intelligence. Especially in light of today’s incident, it would be well-advised for the president to explore such options immediately by sending a delegation to Kiev in order to define the needs of our Ukrainian friends and determine how we can help them defeat the separatist movement. Without some sort of significant aid to the Ukrainian military, stability in the region will likely remain elusive.     

“Ukraine is an important friend that shares our values. Rather than relying exclusively on sanctions, this unfolding situation requires strong, decisive leadership by President Obama. He must show that he’s ready to lead through aid that will actually deter the rebels and the Russians from this violence,” concluded Cole.

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Financial Services Appropriations Bill Limits IRS

2014/07/16

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5016, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015. This annual funding bill totaling $21.3 billion covers the Treasury Department, Judiciary, Small Business Administration, Securities and Exchange Commission and other related agencies. 

In addition to providing this annual funding package, this legislation limits the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through reductions to its overall funding and measures that encourage accountability and prevent abuse. More specifically, the bill upholds the First Amendment to the United States Constitution by prohibiting the targeting of individuals due to their religious or political beliefs. 

“The Administration’s priority should be to lead the country according to the freedoms afforded to every American,” said Cole. “Regardless of the president or the partisan identity of the Administration, abuse of power cannot be tolerated within the IRS or any other federal agency. Due to the IRS scandal that involved the unconstitutional targeting of conservative groups, I am pleased that the House has taken action through this bill to prevent future abuse, encourage accountability and limit the overall funds available to the agency.”

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Ros-Lehtinen Introduces Fuel Choice for American Prosperity and Security Act

2014/07/15

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), along with her colleagues, U.S. Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ), introduced the Fuel Choice for American Security and Prosperity Act (FCAPS), a bill that would provide automakers the option of reducing their CAFE obligation by four miles per gallon if half or more of the vehicles they manufacture in a model year are warranted to operate on any technology in addition to or instead of petroleum-based fuel.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: 

“Fuel competition in our transportation sector will improve U.S. energy and national security, increase our foreign policy flexibility, spur economic growth, and lower fuel prices. By providing more options at the pump, we can dampen the impact of oil price volatility and reduce the leverage of oil rich governments and rogue regimes that are unstable, repressive, or hostile to the United States and who use oil as a weapon to undermine U.S. foreign policy efforts. Fuel choice will also allow the American economy to capitalize on our plentiful domestic resources, create jobs, and encourage innovation, all while driving down the price of fuel.

“By providing automakers the option of rolling back costly fuel economy regulations, we are incentivizing a technologically neutral, free market competition for transportation fuels without government mandate and without picking winners and losers. I am proud to introduce the Fuel Choice for American Security and Prosperity Act with my colleagues Tom and Matt and look forward to working with the rest of the House to move this important bill forward.”

Statement by Cole:

"I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that allows consumers to choose the most cost-effective fueling option at the pump. By encouraging automakers to manufacture cars that operate on a variety of fuels, this allows them to not only meet the necessary CAFE regulations but also be more competitive in the process. Certainly, this legislation helps consumers and automakers alike.”

Statement by Salmon:

“By incentivizing American auto companies to make better use of our abundant, domestic energy resources, we offer them the opportunity to be a part of the “all-the-above” solution to our national energy and security needs.”

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Contact: Keith Fernandez (202) 225-8200 (Ros-Lehtinen)Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole)

Link to original release

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President’s Temporary Plan Looking More Permanent by the Day

2014/07/14

Over the last several weeks, we’ve watched a growing crisis at our borders resulting in a flood of unaccompanied illegal juveniles—all fueled by the Administration’s immigration policy failure and refusal to enforce current immigration law. Because of the president’s failure to send these minors home quickly or at all, he has now incentivized thousands more to come at the hands and usually at the high profit of criminal cartels. 

Since the normal facilities are unable to manage the surge of these minors, the Administration last month turned to military bases, including Fort Sill in Lawton, for housing these individuals. Even though the president reassured the country through his usual campaign rhetoric that the space would only be used temporarily and as an emergency measure, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has already requested a time extension and greater overall capacity with the Department of Defense (DoD).  

According to recent reports, in addition to the capacity for 3,600 children currently being provided by DoD, HHS is now asking for a total overall capacity of 8,600 across military facilities and use through the end of January 2015 if permanent facilities are not yet available. By requesting expansion of the military facilities and setting an even longer timeframe, it appears that the Administration intends to turn military bases into semi-permanent detention facilities. 

It is not yet clear if more bases will be added or if Fort Sill will be required to continue housing these individuals, but the problem isn’t going away. Those juveniles making the journey are not being deterred from entering our country because they know this Administration will not send them home.  

As I suspected, predicted and feared when I learned that a base in my district would be used for housing these juveniles, it appears that the Administration intends to use military facilities as semi-permanent detention facilities rather than addressing his policy that caused the flow in the first place. Unless and until we remove the incentives for these illegal juveniles to enter our country, they will continue to overwhelm our borders and the president will continue to misuse our nation's military facilities by using them as juvenile detention centers. That is an abuse of our defense resources and an injustice to the men and women who volunteered to serve. 

The president must stop the rhetoric and get serious about solving the actual problem. That means sending these individuals back to their country of origin and doing so as expeditiously as possible. Unfortunately, he is apparently more interested in managing and processing the flow of these individuals as opposed to stopping them, and he intends to use our military bases to that end.

In the days ahead, I plan to use whatever legislative means appropriate and available to discontinue use of our military bases for housing illegal minors and instead reserve the space for those for whom it was designed.  

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Joint Op-Ed in the Oklahoman: Obama must address surge in young immigrants

2014/07/13

The Oklahoman - By Senator James Inhofe and Congressman Tom Cole

As one of America’s premier military installations, Fort Sill continuously accepts and trains hundreds of new U.S. Army recruits. After graduating from Fort Sill’s 10-week basic training course, these soldiers go on to help keep the nation safe and freedoms secure — all with skills they learned in Oklahoma. But in June, new neighbors arrived on the post.

Due to an alarming spike in unaccompanied alien children (UAC) crossing the border illegally, the Obama administration saw an opportunity to use empty barracks at Fort Sill slated for renovations and turn them into UAC housing. While the contract between the Department of Health and Human Services and Fort Sill states that the stay is temporary, the administration has a poor history of abiding by its promises.

In 2012, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland was asked to house UAC for 30 days. The administration then asked the Department of Defense to extend it another 30 days. Earlier this year, the administration again asked the U.S. military at Lackland to house UAC. Within one week, the request for housing capacity more than tripled and expanded to more military bases.

President Barack Obama has already decimated the military with budget cuts and the lack of overall strategy; now he’s asking them to do more. Last week, we learned the administration hopes to use military installations until January 2015 and increase the capacity for thousands more children.

While the initial agreement at Fort Sill only requests UAC housing for 120 days, nothing would require the children to be relocated after that. The president could merely extend the stay and force Fort Sill to identify a new building. Obama’s temporary solution is beginning to look more permanent. The administration’s inconsistent instructions for Fort Sill have made it frustratingly difficult for members of Congress to conduct due oversight.

The military is being instructed to shoulder this burden because it will always rise to the occasion. When called upon, our military has time and again taken care of migrants and refugees with excellence. When thousands were left homeless after an earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida served as a port of embarkation for survivors. In 1999, Fort Dix in New Jersey temporarily housed thousands of refugees when war broke out in Kosovo.

These temporary situations bear no resemblance to the administration’s current demands. Fort Sill’s barracks weren’t built to become permanent holding facilities for people with no legal reason to be in the United States. Unlike the situations mentioned above, this crisis is of the president’s making. His policies and campaign tactics have communicated a promise of amnesty to families in Central America.

Not only does this disrupt and destabilize these countries, it also encourages families to entrust their children to dangerous cartels with a known history of bringing drugs into our country.

Rather than simply throwing money at the problem and demanding help from our strapped military, the president must address the reason for the sharp increase in UAC. He owes it not only to our military but also to these vulnerable children to abandon campaign rhetoric and confront his policy failure head-on.

Inhofe, R-Tulsa, is Oklahoma’s senior U.S. senator. Cole, R-Moore, represents Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District.

Online: The Oklahoman

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Contact Information

2458 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6165
Fax 202-225-3512
cole.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Budget

Appropriations

Rules

Tom Cole became the Representative for Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District on November 6th, 2002. During his tenure in the House Cole has established himself as a strong voice for the conservative views and values of the Fourth District. He is an advocate for a strong national defense, a defender of the interests of small business and taxpayers, a proponent of education at all levels and a leader on issues dealing with Native Americans and tribal governments. Cole was named as one of “Five Freshmen to Watch” by Roll Call at the outset of his congressional career.

Congressman Cole is a member on the House Armed Services Committee to which he was appointed in 2002 He also serves on the Natural Resources Committee. Cole serves as a Deputy Whip in the U.S. House. In this role he helps line up the votes needed to pass the legislative agenda of the President and the House Republican Conference. Cole also serves as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, making him a member of the House GOP Leadership.

Cole has a significant background of service to his home state of Oklahoma. He has served as a District Director for former Congressman Mickey Edwards, a member of the Oklahoma State Senate, and as Oklahoma’s Secretary of State. In this capacity he served as former Governor Frank Keating’s chief legislative strategist and liaison to the state’s federal delegation. Keating tapped Cole to lead Oklahoma’s successful effort to secure federal funds to assist in the rebuilding of Oklahoma City in the wake of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19th, 1995.

Cole is a founding partner and past president of CHS & Associates, a nationally recognized consulting and survey research firm based in Oklahoma City. The firm has been named one of the top twenty in its field in America and has literally dozens of past and current clients scattered across the country.

A former college instructor in history and politics, Cole holds a B.A. from Grinnell College, an M.A. from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Cole has been a Thomas Watson Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow at the University of London. He currently serves on the national Board of the Fulbright Association. He also serves on the board of the Aspen Institute.

Tom Cole is a fifth generation Oklahoman and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. He is currently the only Native American serving in Congress He was awarded the Congressional Leadership award by the National Congress of American Indians and was inducted in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004. Cole’s late mother, Helen, is also a member of the Chickasaw Hall of Fame and served as a state representative, state senator and Mayor of Moore in her native state of Oklahoma. Cole’s late father, John, served twenty years in the United States Air Force and worked an additional two decades as a civilian federal employee at Tinker Air Force Base. Tom and his wife Ellen, have one son, Mason, and reside in Moore, Oklahoma.


Serving With

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Markwayne Mullin

OKLAHOMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

James Lankford

OKLAHOMA's 5th DISTRICT

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