Tom Cole

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

Cole Statement on Air Strikes in Syria to Combat ISIL

2014/09/23

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). 

“As I’ve said earlier, ISIL represents a clear and present danger to the safety and security of the United States,” said Cole. “If this terrorist organization continues to function, we risk the threat of the establishment of a terrorist state in the region. Neither the United States nor our Allies in the region can tolerate that becoming a reality. 

“I am pleased that the president has led and shown the world American strength, resolve and determination to destroy ISIL by targeting its strongholds in the region through air strikes. He has done so prudently by encouraging the participation and building of a coalition with Arab allies, who are also in danger if ISIL is not destroyed.  

“Just as the president has built a coalition abroad, I hope that he will work to build a similar coalition with lawmakers in both chambers of Congress.  As I said last week, the amendment that passed to authorize training and weapons of the Free Syrian Army does not authorize force in Syria. Constitutionally, I believe that it is most appropriate and better for the president and the nation if Congress authorizes force. I hope Congress will debate and vote on this as early as possible, allowing our own citizens and the rest of the world to see a united country.”

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Op-Ed in Journal Record: Ex-Im Bank benefits American economy

2014/09/23

Journal Record - Congressman Tom Cole

America was built by the hands of innovators and entrepreneurs, and it remains supported by likeminded individuals who desire for America to remain great. Our land is still filled with an abundance of untapped resources and human intellect that, when allowed to flourish, only strengthens our presence and standing in the world. Even in tough economic times, the American brand is in high demand, and our public policy should seek to keep it there.

Especially as we navigate the waters of a still-struggling economy, the effects of potential solutions upon job creators and providers should be carefully considered. Whether in the short term or long term, any solutions should obviously help rather than hurt hardworking American business owners, workers and innovators.

Our country’s ability to prosper depends heavily upon the success of businesses, particularly small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, an estimated two out of three new jobs in the economy are created by small businesses. Today, that includes nearly 60 million employees working for around 27 million small businesses nationwide.

Recognizing the strong contributions offered by small businesses to our economic recovery doesn’t require one to travel far, especially in Oklahoma. Our state is home to a variety of small businesses that contribute positively to economic recovery. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Oklahoma in 2010 had 332,998 small businesses, representing a variety of industries and reaching a variety of markets. Some of Oklahoma’s businesses even reach an international clientele that requires their ability to export.

Some of Oklahoma’s business owners whose products reach an international market have done so with the assistance of the Export-Import Bank. According to its charter, Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States. As it was established in 1934, Ex-Im Bank helps make potential overseas sales opportunities a reality by financing these transactions without competing with private sector lenders. Throughout its lifespan, Ex-Im Bank has facilitated more than $567 billion in exports, including $37.4 billion last fiscal year alone.

Similar to the private sector, Ex-Im Bank doesn’t provide loans or credit for free. Recipients are required to pay fees or interest on the services backed. As a result, this system has actually allowed Ex-Im Bank to help pay down the national deficit, rather than claim taxpayer dollars. In fact, Ex-Im Bank has returned more than $2.6 billion to the U.S. Treasury since 2008. For these reasons, I have been supportive of reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank charter.

Since 2007, financing provided by Ex-Im Bank has supported over $1.1 billion in sales in Oklahoma by U.S. companies that would not have existed otherwise. Recipients of Ex-Im Bank assistance include more than 100 Oklahoma companies that together employ more than 7,200 people – the majority being small businesses. In the 4th Congressional District, this includes six companies representing energy, manufacturing and textile industries, including four small businesses that employ about 35 people.

In an era when foreign governments are directly subsidizing industries, American companies are in need of a level playing field, and I believe that Ex-Im Bank does that responsibly. For other countries, the service provided by Ex-Im Bank isn’t unusual or unlike tools already available to them. In fact, many companies based in foreign countries already depend on export credit agencies, or ECAs, for supporting the risk of export transactions.

Along with passage of the continuing resolution legislation last week, I am pleased that Ex-Im Bank was extended until June 30, 2015. I believe the current benefits felt by businesses across the country, in Oklahoma and the 4th Congressional District argues strongly for its reauthorization.

Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cole represents the 4th District of Oklahoma in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the Budget, Appropria­tions and Rules Committees.

Online: Journal Record 

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Ex-Im Benefits Small Business

2014/09/22

As we navigate the waters of a still-struggling economy, the impact of potential solutions upon job creators and providers should be carefully considered. Whether in the short-term or long-term, any solutions should obviously help rather than hurt hardworking Americans. When the economic environment allows business owners and workers to thrive, the whole country feels the benefit.

Our country’s ability to prosper depends heavily upon the success of small businesses, and Oklahoma contains a variety of businesses that contribute positively to economic recovery. Some of Oklahoma’s business owners whose products reach an international market have done so with the assistance of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im). 

According to its charter, Ex-Im is the official export credit agency of the United States. As it was established in 1934, Ex-Im helps make potential overseas sales opportunities a reality by financing these transactions. Throughout its lifespan, it has facilitated more than $567 billion in exports.    

Since 2007, financing provided by Ex-Im has supported over $1.1 billion in sales in Oklahoma by U.S. companies that would not have existed otherwise. Recipients of Ex-Im assistance include more than 100 Oklahoma companies that together employ more than 7,200 people—the majority being small businesses. In the Fourth Congressional District, this includes six companies representing energy, manufacturing and textile industries—four of which are small businesses employing around 35 people. 

Along with passage of the continuing resolution legislation last week, I am pleased that Ex-Im was extended until June 30, 2015. In an era when foreign governments are directly subsidizing industries, American companies are in need of a level playing field, and I believe that Ex-Im does that responsibly. In fact, Ex-Im has returned more than $2.6 billion to the United States Treasury since 2008. For these reasons, I have been supportive of reauthorizing the Ex-Im charter.  

While the existence of Ex-Im is sometimes questioned, I believe the current benefits felt by businesses across the country, in Oklahoma and the Fourth Congressional District argues strongly for its reauthorization. 

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Cole Statement on Passage of H.J. Res. 124

2014/09/17

Washington, D.C. – 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).

“I am pleased that the House acted responsibly today by passing a continuing resolution that funds the government through December 11 and removes the threat of another government shutdown,” said Cole. “In wake of the rise of ISIL and in response to the president’s address to the nation last week, I am encouraged that lawmakers worked in a bipartisan manner to provide the authority he requested to fight ISIL. While I don’t think it’s nearly sufficient for destroying this dangerous enemy, I believe that it’s important for Congress to act in a bipartisan fashion to confront a terrorist organization that poses a clear and present danger to the United States. I look forward to seeing the same quick and thoughtful action displayed by the Senate.” 

To watch Congressman Cole’s remarks on the House Floor while managing the rule for H.J. Res. 124, click here

For more information about the legislation passed today, click here.

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Cole Opening Remarks on H.J. Res. 124

2014/09/16

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) offered the following opening remarks today on the House Floor while managing the rule for H.J. Res. 124, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution for fiscal year 2015:Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Rules Committee met and reported a rule for consideration of H.J. Res. 124, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution for fiscal year 2015. The rule is a structured rule which provides for the consideration of a short-term continuing resolution keeping the government funded until December 11, 2014.

The rule provides for 1 hour of debate equally divided between the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Appropriations.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, this rule provides for the adoption of a technical amendment by Chairman Rogers and makes in order an amendment by Chairman McKeon. That amendment provides the authority for the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups or individuals.

For this amendment, the rule provides 6 hours of debate equally divided between Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith. The rule also provides for one motion to recommit.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, the rule corrects a technical error and puts in place the base rules of the House regarding media access to the hearings and meetings of the Benghazi Select Committee.

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my friend Chairman Rogers for bringing a bill to avoid a government shutdown to the House. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, it is frustrating that we are forced into acting on a short-term continuing resolution when we spent much of this year, both in committee and on the floor, updating congressional funding priorities for fiscal year 2015.

This House has done its work. I wish I could say the same for the other body. While the Senate has chosen not to pass even one appropriations bill on the floor, this House has passed seven.

While the Senate Appropriations Committee has passed eight of the 12 appropriations bills out of committee, the House Appropriations Committee has approved all but one. If the Senate would work with us, I believe we could pass all of our bills on time.

The CR we are considering today is a clean bill continuing the funding of government operations at last year's levels. It includes only 36 so-called anomalies all within the total level of funding.

These changes are necessary to address current immediate needs like addressing the Ebola crisis, funding programs to counter regional aggression toward Ukraine and other former Soviet Union countries, and funding to ensure appropriate treatment of veterans and continued oversight of the VA.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, this bill extends the Export-Import Bank through June 30, 2015. I know some of my friends will disagree with me; however, I believe the Export-Import Bank provides a vital service. In an era when foreign governments are directly subsidizing industries, our companies are in need of a level playing field. I believe the Export-Import Bank does that.

In my home State of Oklahoma, since 2007, financing provided by the Export-Import Bank has supported over $1.1 billion in sales by U.S. companies that would not have existed otherwise; in addition, the Export-Import Bank has returned over $2.6 billion to the United States Treasury since 2008.

Finally, and most significantly, the McKeon amendment would provide the President with the authority he has requested to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition. The amendment ensures congressional oversight by requiring detailed progress reports on a plan, a vetting process, and procedures for monitoring unauthorized end use of provided training and equipment. It would also require the President to report on how this authority fits within a larger regional strategy.

Mr. Speaker, when we look back on what brought us to this point, there are at least three significant failures that we can point to: first, former Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki was given the opportunity to create a multiethnic, multisectarian, inclusive State of Iraq, but, instead, he squandered it; secondly, President Obama didn't insist forcefully enough to keep a residual American presence in Iraq; and, third, Mr. Speaker, when ISIL expanded out of Syria and into Iraq, both Prime Minister al-Maliki and President Obama were slow to respond.

When Ramadi and Fallujah fell to ISIL, their indecisive leadership allowed and encouraged this terrorist organization to assert itself in the Middle East. Mr. Speaker, the salient discussion is not about the past and how we got here but about the future and what we must do now.

I agree with the President that ISIL represents a clear and present danger that must be dealt with, confronted, and destroyed. I am willing to give the President the authority and the funds needed to accomplish this mission. This amendment gives the President what he has requested while maintaining an appropriate role for Congress, but I do disagree with the President on several important issues.

I don't believe that he has the inherent authority to use military force in Syria, and nothing in this amendment authorizes him to do so.

I believe that going to war on the authorizations that were passed in 2001 and 2002, which dealt with very different times, places, and peoples, is shaky, at best. In fact, Mr. Speaker, a vast majority of my colleagues, including myself, were not even here in Congress when those authorizations were approved.

When we return in November, I hope that we repeal the 2001 and 2002 authorizations and replace them with ones that reflect the views of this Congress not the Congress of the last decade.

Additionally, I disagree with the President's choice of tactics. Regardless of whether he intends to use them or not, I believe the President was far too quick to rule out options and tools that he, in fact, may need later. War is the most unpredictable of all human enterprises. History shows that it is vital for a commander to maintain as much flexibility as possible.

I also do not believe that the authority and resources the President has requested will be nearly enough to achieve the mission he has outlined. It is going to take far more from our country, our allies, and our friends on the ground to destroy ISIL than envisioned in this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I don't believe the President can succeed in the effort to destroy ISIL without bipartisan, popular support, and I hope he will take this opportunity to build on that. We are not Republicans or Democrats in war, but Americans first. The Commander in Chief has asked for our support in the underlying legislation. He should get it.

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Strength in Resolve

2014/09/15

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. 

Along with most Americans, I agree that ISIL represents a clear and present danger to the United States and our friends and allies. But I have some serious reservations about the president’s approach for destroying ISIL. Frankly, I am concerned that he won’t lead this endeavor decisively or with the strong resolve needed in times of war.

Regardless of the scope of action, Congress and the president should work together. During his address to the nation, the president still claimed to have the authority for action without further approval from Congress. Some argue that resolutions passed under the Bush Administration in 2001 and 2002 already provide him with the authority to act, but I do not share this view. A measure dating back more than a decade in very different times and under different leaders and lawmakers cannot and should not justify unlimited executive authority in this new war. 

In times of great danger to America's national security, no president should act alone. Any commander-in-chief that faces such danger on behalf of our country should – and would – have bipartisan and bicameral support. I will certainly vote to authorize the resources needed to destroy ISIL, but the president must show decisive executive leadership and willingness to work with Congress.

At home and abroad, the United States must show strength in its resolve, unity in its strategy and commitment to fighting this evil foe. Until the mission is completed, the president would be unwise to rule out any options or tactics for achieving that objective. 

With the rapid expansion and unexpected uprising of a terrorist organization that desires to take territory for building an Islamic caliphate, we are painfully reminded that we still live in a dangerous world. In the days ahead, it is likely that more will be revealed about the capabilities and resources honed by these terrorists—making swift and targeted action ever more urgent. 

Before proceeding further against ISIL, Congress should vote on the president’s request without any extraneous legislative attachments. Voting to authorize war is perhaps the most serious and solemn act that any member of Congress can take.  It ought not be encumbered with any other irrelevant matters. Many members from both sides of the aisle feel the same way, and I expect that leadership will allow that. 

Finally, Congress and the Administration must recognize the stark reality facing our nation and reverse the alarming cuts to our military that have occurred in the past year due to sequestration. The world we live in is becoming more dangerous, not less. It’s important that Congress and the president, House and Senate, and Democrats and Republicans work together to keep America safe in the days and years to come.    

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Oklahoma Delegation Calls on DOI to End Secret Agreements

2014/09/11

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) led the Oklahoma congressional delegation Wednesday in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Interior Sec. Sally Jewell to urge the Department’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) to discontinue its attempt to resolve programmatic issues with the Oklahoma Department of Mines with "secrecy agreements.” The letter urges Sec. Jewell to open an inquiry into OSM’s practices of secret negotiations as an attempt to avoid public participation in issue-resolution discussions. The letter was signed by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla), Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK-1), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-2), Frank Lucas (R-OK-3), Tom Cole (R-OK-4), and James Lankford (R-OK-5).  

The Members wrote, “It has come to our attention that the Department’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement recently demanded that the Oklahoma Department of Mines (ODM) enter into a “secrecy agreement” in order to discuss resolutions of an issue that has arisen with its surface mining program, over which it has primacy.”

For decades, Oklahoma has been working with OSM to resolve a variety of programmatic issues. TheDepartment of Interior has clear, well established procedures that follow the policies and regulations under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMRCA) of 1977 provides that once a state develops laws, regulations and programs that are as effective as Federal SMCRA, the Secretary of Interior may grant “primacy” to that state. Oklahoma achieved primacy in 1983, and thus assumed exclusive jurisdiction over surface coal mining with limited oversight by OSM. 

“The essence of OSM’s mission in a primacy state is to work with the state to resolve programmatic issues.  For OSM to suggest that it will only do its job under the condition of secrecy is completely improper, as well as unproductive.  Conducting government business in secret erodes public confidence, and in this case it is a blatant attempt to avoid public participation in an official decision.  This proposal is also at odds with the President’s transparency agenda and claim that his Administration is ‘the most transparent administration in history.’”

“We urge you to open an inquiry into the practices of OSM to engage in secret negotiations as a means of avoiding public participation in its discussions, particularly with states that have primacy over their federal programs.  In the interim, we urge you to instruct the Director of OSM to immediately abandon this effort in Oklahoma.”

You can view the whole text of the letter by clicking here

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Contact: Donelle Harder, Jacob Heisten (202) 225-5721 (Inhofe)Link to original release

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Cole Statement on President’s Plan to Combat ISIL

2014/09/10

Washington, D.C. – 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.

“Like most Americans, I have no doubt that ISIL represents a clear and present danger to the United States and our friends and allies,” said Cole. “Certainly, I will vote to give the president any authority and resources he needs to confront this urgent national security risk. However, the president must be certain and decisive in his leadership.

“While the president claims the authority to take this action without further approval from Congress, there is little doubt that a unified strategy involving both the legislative and executive branches of our government would be a far preferable approach. The president would be well advised to seek Congressional authorization for these actions as well as for the resources necessary to carry them out. I have no doubt that such authorization would be overwhelmingly supported by both houses of Congress and on both sides of the aisle. Americans, our friends and our enemies need to see the president and Congress united in their determination to destroy this very dangerous foe.

“In the days ahead, I am certain that Congress will work with the president in a bipartisan manner to preserve our safety, security and freedom. But the president must remember that success in war requires decisive executive leadership.

“At home and abroad, there should be no doubt that the United States is engaged and committed to ISIL’s destruction. Until that task is completed, the president should not rule out any options or tactics for achieving this objective. Instead, acting with the support of Congress, he should keep the full array of military tools at his disposal. This would strengthen his support at home, reassure our friends abroad and clearly warn our enemies that they face a united America. Unless the president works with Congress to marshal the full strength of the nation, America will find itself fighting a deadly enemy with one arm tied behind its back,” concluded Cole.

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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War on Terror is Ever-Present

2014/09/08

Thirteen years ago this week, our nation was devastated when 2,977 innocent lives were prematurely taken during the September 11th terrorist attacks. Our world was shaken and our sense of security was shattered by those who sought to destroy us. The terrible nightmare united us as a country, but it also forced the nation to face the chilling reality that terrorism exists, can reach our own shores and will remain a very real threat in the foreseeable future.  

Following the attacks, America immediately displayed strength and commitment to winning the war on terror, which included a strategy to track down and kill those responsible for attacking us and dismantle their infrastructure. This mission was carried out by the brave men and women who volunteered to protect our nation. We will forever remember those who gave their last full measure of devotion in the fight to ensure the lives of millions more, and we are eternally grateful. Because of their commitment and sacrifice, we were able to send a clear message telling the world that America will stand up and defeat any act of aggression against our people and our homeland. 

It’s been over a decade since those first al-Qaeda attacks and only two since the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi. But today, in light of the rise of ISIS and Hamas, we are reminded that the war on terror is ever-present. Savage acts of terrorism cannot be allowed to stand, and it is critical that America never backs away from that basic belief and conviction. When America buries its head in the sand and ignores evil acts and actors, terrorism will eventually win. 

Over the last several months, ISIS and Hamas have become ever more brazen in their acts of brutality and with little notice or reaction from the Obama Administration. Despite the group’s short lifespan, ISIS poses a threat far beyond the region in which it currently operates, intending to claim territory in which to build an Islamic caliphate. In light of the brutal, senseless murders of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, this administration should be painfully aware of the atrocities and dangers of which ISIS is capable. 

Like ISIS, Hamas is a Sunni Islamist party that has also shown a shocking disregard for human life. The group’s unprovoked and unwarranted rocket attacks on Israel—a valuable American friend and ally in the Middle East – clearly demonstrate disinterest in peace or harmonious co-existence in the Gaza Strip. As seen in repeated violations of cease fire agreements, continued construction of tunnels through which to wage war against Israel and use of its own women and children as human shields, there is no question as to the character and motives of Hamas. As such, its members pose a serious threat to America and our allies around the world. 

As in past days, diffusing the threat of terrorism requires an unrelenting and calculated response from the United States—a clear strategy. The longer we allow terrorists to feel empowered, the more quickly they will mobilize and gain influence, which already includes ISIS recruiting amongst our own citizens. Recent reports reveal that more than 100 Americans have joined ISIS fighting forces in Iraq and Syria.  

We must demonstrate to our allies and enemies alike that our nation is united and strong in its response to terrorism and violence at home and abroad. We cannot allow the sacrifice already offered by countless men and women to be squandered. The American people expect and long for the president to offer a clear strategy for combating terrorist groups and diffusing their influence, and I am pleased that he has expressed intention to do so this week. But he would be wise to involve Congress in molding and approving any such plans to defeat ISIS. 

Time is ticking. More days of inaction signals weakness and puts our nation at much greater risk, both at home and abroad. 

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We Must Stand with Israel

2014/09/02

In addition to the growing threat of terrorism due to ISIS influence in Iraq and Syria, there is another volatile situation that must be watched along the Gaza strip. Like ISIS, Hamas is a Sunni Islamist party that has shown its disregard for human life and sole intention to do harm. This has taken form through numerous unprovoked and unwarranted rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas, sometimes despite supposed ceasefire agreements, and use of its own civilians as human shields. 

Israel is one of America’s most important and loyal friends. In light of the unrest and tension that has grown over the last several weeks, we must remain supportive of Israel’s right to fight the terrorist acts of Hamas. Fortunately, America has already played an important role in combating Hamas through the Iron Dome, a joint Israel-American project completed in 2011 that intercepts missiles. The use of this impressive technology has proved indispensable and protected millions of lives from thousands of Hamas rocket attacks.  

We live in a dangerous world, where hatred of Western civilization and the corresponding threat of violence by terrorists are ever-present. Like other terrorist organizations, Hamas is out to kill and destroy those associated with the West, which means threats against Israel also jeopardize American security.

The world is deeply grieved by the innocent lives lost in both Israel and Gaza. Since July 8, Hamas has fired more than 4,500 rockets toward Israel, intending to claim innocent Israeli lives. But beyond these attacks on Israel, Hamas has also knowingly put its own civilians in harm’s way by encouraging them to stay in their homes when Israel warned of coming retaliation. Hamas using its people as human shields and not encouraging them to take cover are serious humanitarian crimes—a reminder that the group must be deterred. 

In light of the situation in the Middle East, I joined Congressman Steve Israel to introduce a House resolution reinforcing Israel’s right to defend itself against unprovoked rocket attacks. I was encouraged that it included more than 140 cosponsors from both sides of aisle and passed with strong bipartisan support at the end of July. In addition, we wrote a letter, co-signed by more than 100 members to Navi Pillay, the United Nation's top human rights official, urging the U.N. to condemn Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields—a direct violation of international law.

It is important that we continue to stand by Israel in the days ahead. While our friends desire to live peaceably in the region with its Palestinian neighbors, that requires the cooperation or discouragement of those on other side. Until and unless the environment changes, Israel will continue to take care of its own and remain committed in the fight against terror.  

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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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