Tom Cole

Tom Cole


A Bad Deal for America


Following two years of negotiations that have included missed and extended deadlines, the P5+1 announced this month that a deal with Iran has been reached regarding its nuclear program. This deal comes at the insistence of the legacy-starved Obama Administration that has already taken dangerous missteps in its foreign policy. I remain very concerned about the concessions made to Iran in the deal and the implications for the safety and security of America and our allies, including our greatest friend in the region: Israel. 

As I’ve said before, Iran is an untrustworthy and dangerous negotiating partner. History reveals that the country’s leaders cannot be trusted and only aim to do us – and our allies – harm. In fact, since 1984, Iran has been listed by our nation’s own State Department as a known sponsor of terror around the world. Common sense should dictate that decades-long patterns of bad intentions and aggressive behavior are unlikely to change overnight. I believe that the agreement negotiated by the Obama Administration doesn’t change the nature of our relationship and certainly does not make Iran a friend of the United States or deserving of our confidence and trust, especially since the country still holds four American citizens hostage.

Since the agreement was announced, I have had the opportunity to read the full text of the deal. I have attended a classified briefing with three cabinet secretaries, including Secretary of State John Kerry. I have visited with military and Middle East foreign policy experts. I have consulted with members of the clergy and advocates for the state of Israel. Without question, the more I learn, the less comfortable I am with the agreement.

The Administration clearly lost sight of the objective that was stated repeatedly before, during and after the negotiations. When negotiations started two years ago, the president assured the American people that the goal was to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and to block its pathway to acquiring and building a nuclear weapon. But this deal does nothing of the sort – it simply delays Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb. In addition, removal of the sanctions will give Iran a multi-billion dollar infusion of cash, which the country will almost certainly use to continue funding the terrorist enemies of America and our allies.  

For its part, Iran appears to be elated with the agreement, which in and of itself should be cause for concern. The agreement doesn’t provide for unannounced inspections, which gives the country time to cheat or cover up illegal activity. Further, the United States will not be allowed to participate in or even observe the inspections that do occur. Only countries with diplomatic relations with Iran—countries like Syria, Russia, North Korea and China—will be responsible for making sure Iran doesn’t cheat on the agreement. I believe that is a little too close to the proverbial “fox guarding the henhouse.”

The only way to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon is through significant degradation of its nuclear capability. That must include fewer centrifuges, greater transparency and Iran’s surrender of weapons-grade uranium accumulated in recent years. I believe that until Iran demonstrates that it is trustworthy and committed to renouncing terrorism, the sanctions should remain in place. The United States and our allies should be able to maintain a complete overview of the regime’s nuclear activities through unlimited and unannounced inspections of Iran’s facilities to catch anything done in secret. 

When this agreement was first announced, I was skeptical that it would be something I could support. Those initial concerns have only been deepened as I have learned more about the details. Throughout the month of August, I intend to have a number of town hall meetings across the Fourth District of Oklahoma to hear what my constituents think about this proposed agreement. Their opinions will be extremely important to me. However, at this point in time, I don’t see any possible way this could be a good deal for America or one that I could ever vote for.

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The Hill: GOP: Defund Planned Parenthood now


The Hill - Sarah Ferris and Peter Sullivan

House Republicans outraged by a series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos about fetal parts are pressuring their leadership to immediately call a vote on defunding the organization.

Republican members have been lining up behind the push to cut off federal funds to the organization. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and 124 co-sponsors have backed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood for one year while an investigation takes place.

But House leadership says any legislative action will wait for the congressional investigations. "Let's get the facts first," Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a press conference Thursday.

Many of Boehner’s members, though, are in no mood for waiting.

“There is no excuse when you have evidence like this, it’s time to move forward. It’s not time to back off,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas), who is often a vocal critic of leadership. “I would be very disappointed if we gave in to the abortion industry in this.”

“The idea that we would wait for an investigation,” he added, shaking his head. “Are we going to wait a Benghazi length of time? Are we going to wait a year and a half? Now’s the time to actually bring the defunding bill up.”

Huelskamp is among several Republicans — including Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who has a companion bill to Black's — who will headline a D.C. rally against Planned Parenthood next Tuesday. Dr. Ben Carson, a Republican presidential candidate, will also appear at the protest organized by Students for Life.

Republicans say they see an opening to defund the group in the wake of two viral videos that show Planned Parenthood officials candidly discussing the price for fetal tissue donations. The group behind the videos says Planned Parenthood is illegally profiting from the donations.

Planned Parenthood strongly denies it has broken the law, and points to its officials’ statements in the videos that they are looking for legal compensation for expenses, not profit.

“I would like to see us call a moratorium now, and frankly, I ultimately wanted Planned Parenthood defunded period,” Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said. “Certainly the videos are so disturbing and gruesome that calling a halt to that funding now would be very prudent and reasonable.”

Brady said he believes defunding Planned Parenthood and launching investigations into the group can “be done in parallel.”

Asked about Black’s bill, Kevin Smith, a Boehner spokesman, said, “The Speaker has long supported efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and has voted to do so in the past.”

The fight to defund Planned Parenthood, which receives around $500 million in government dollars, is expected to reach the Senate as part of the debate over a highway bill. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), both presidential candidates, have vowed to force votes on defunding the group by adding amendments to the legislation.

Even if Paul and Cruz are rebuffed in the Senate, the funding issue could loom large in September’s government funding negotiations.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a deputy whip, said Thursday that he is “open to using all means to make sure” that Planned Parenthood doesn’t receive federal funding. “I have absolutely no doubt it will come up in those discussions [in the fall],” he said.

“I’ve never ever been in favor of shutting down the government, I just don’t think that’s ever an appropriate response,” Cole added. “But I think if we remove this, I very seriously doubt the president of the United States will veto a $150-odd billion [health] appropriations bill, or an omnibus, over this single issue. But we’ll see.”

But some warned that picking a funding fight with Democrats over Planned Parenthood could be bad for Republicans.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said Democrats would likely try to paint the GOP’s effort as another display of dysfunction — even if President Obama and Democrats are the ones to oppose the budget deal.

“[Obama] will say to Dems, ‘Don’t vote for cloture in the Senate,’ then the people simply won’t know about that, and they’ll say, ‘Those damn Republicans are trying to shut the government down again,’ when all we’re trying to do is stop the taxpayer funding of abortions,” Franks said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday was quick to bring up Republicans’ previous effort to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011.

“One of their first actions was a threat to shut down government rather than to fund Planned Parenthood,” she said, repeating herself for emphasis: "They would shut down government rather than fund Planned Parenthood.”

Still, Franks said Republican leaders should allow votes in the House and Senate on defunding bills.

“I am open to the most reasonable approach, but I think to do nothing or to turn our head away is to do so at our moral peril,” he said.

Some of the House’s anti-abortion members remain skeptical of Boehner’s commitment, Huelskamp said.

He pointed to an intraparty dispute in January that led GOP leadership to cancel a vote on a late-term abortion ban. The bill, which ultimately passed the House in May, had been timed to coincide with the annual March for Life, which brought thousands of activists to the National Mall.

“On the biggest pro-life day of the year, they pulled a pro-life bill,” he said.

Online: The Hill

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Cole, McCollum Introduce Bill to Reaffirm Tribal Trust Agreements


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) and Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04), co-chairs of the Native American Congressional Caucus, this week introduced H.R. 3137, to reaffirm the trust status of tribal trust lands. The legislation ensures that existing tribal lands will continue to be held in trust by the federal government and removes the uncertainty and ambiguities inherent within the Carcieri v. Salazar opinion.

“I am pleased to introduce legislation that seeks to further repair what has historically been a battered relationship between Native Americans and the federal government,” said Cole. “By reaffirming the trust status of lands acquired by tribes, this bill keeps the promises previously made and rightly provides peace of mind related to the ownership of tribal lands.” 

“The placement of land into trust for tribal nations is a binding commitment,” said McCollum. “This bipartisan bill makes clear that our government honors the commitments it has made, and that lands that have been restored and held for tribes under existing trust status are protected for future generations.”


On June 18, 1934, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) to protect tribal sovereignty and to help restore lands to tribes. For 75 years, all federally recognized tribes had the right under IRA to request that land be placed into trust for their nations by the Secretary of the Interior Department. Accordingly, tribes have used their trust lands to build community facilities like schools, health clinics and tribal housing to serve their tribal members. 

In 2009, however, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that long-established precedent in Carcieri v. Salazar. In addition to generating expensive litigation, the Carcieri decision caused uncertainty and unequal treatment among federally recognized tribes, operating on existing tribal trust lands. 

Bill text is available here


Contact:Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165Sam McCullough (202) 225-6631 (McCollum)

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Washington Times: Nation faces stiff bill in Alzheimer’s care


Washington Times - Andrew Nachemson

Alzheimer’s advocates are warning that Medicare and the national health system will be swamped by costs and patient loads in the coming years if no action is taken to prepare for a projected huge increase in the caseload as baby boomers enter their senior years.

At a major conference on the mind-wasting disease held in Washington this week, Alzheimer’s experts and lawmakers said that a failure by the federal government to spend money on research and prevention in the very short term could mean societal costs will grow exponentially in the next decade.

“It will cost us more in the long run if we don’t invest now,” said Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican. “Alzheimer’s is probably the most expensive single disease that we have with no cure.”

A recent survey by the Alzheimer's Association projects that, by 2050, 50 percent of baby boomers (or 28 million individuals) will develop Alzheimer’s, consuming nearly 25 percent of all Medicare spending. The looming bill was the focus of a major panel discussion Tuesday at this week’s gathering featuring both lawmakers and leading researchers.

The Alzheimer’s Accountability Act, passed in late 2014, requires that the National Institutes of Health submit a budget every year on efforts to curtail the disease by 2025.

The Alzheimer's Association said that, in order to stay on course, Congress must provide at least an additional $300 million in NIH research funding for the 2016 fiscal year. This would raise the total to $886 million next year.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Pennsylvania Democrat who serves with Mr. Cole on the House Committee on Appropriations, said increased Alzheimer’s funding “is just common sense, and we have got to do more.”

According to the association, in 2015 Alzheimer’s cost the United States an estimated $226 billion, and given current projections, “cumulatively, between now and 2050, it will cost $20.8 trillion, with more than half of the cost being borne by Medicare.”

“For every $26,000 Medicare and Medicaid spent caring for people with Alzheimer’s, the NIH only spends $100 on Alzheimer’s research,” according to the group.

Raj Long, an expert on dementia drug development and regulation, said she was “surprised and impressed” by the bipartisan support in the U.S. government for increased spending for Alzheimer’s research, and said advocates for increased funding and support should take advantage of the support.

“This is a very opportunistic moment for dementia research development.”

Ms. Long, who has done research for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the next step in the process is international cooperation. She said she supported development on a global level, culminating in the eventual creation of an International Dementia Advisory Board.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” she declared.

Online: Washington Times

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The Oklahoman: Oklahoma's congressional leaders hold prayer breakfast


The Oklahoman - Carla Hinton

The Oklahoma Congressional delegation recently hosted its 10th annual Oklahoma Prayer Breakfast at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., to pray for Oklahomans and celebrate the proud history and tradition of the Sooner State.

About 140 people attended, ranging from Oklahomans visiting the Capitol to native Oklahomans who now work in Washington, a news release from U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said.

Former Sen. Don Nickles, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1981-2005, emceed the event, while former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, who served from 1995-2003, also attended. The Oklahoma Congressional delegation includes: Senators Jim Inhofe and Lankford, and Representatives Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, Jim Bridenstine, Markwayne Mullin and Steve Russell. 

The theme was ‘Celebrating Oklahoma’s strength, community, culture, impact, and promise.’ Each prayer breakfast speaker was chosen by each of the Oklahoma's U.S. House representatives and focused on each of the theme petition topics, while Inhofe and Lankford gave a New Testament reading and Old Testament reading, respectively.

Bob Yandian, a constituent of Rep. Bridenstine and pastor of Grace Church Tulsa, also gave remarks and prayed during the breakfast.

The prayer event took place in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building at the Capitol, the oldest of the Senate office buildings.

Online: The Oklahoman

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Dodd-Frank Five Years Later


Five years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that vastly restructured the American financial system. Brought about in response to the financial crisis and resulting recession in the last decade, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was presented as the means to protect consumers, encourage recovery and ensure financial stability in the future. Instead, the reality of Dodd-Frank has meant more rules and government regulators, fewer jobs created, slowed recovery and less American opportunity.

Rather than streamline regulations or regulating bodies, Dodd-Frank has added to the regulatory burden with 400 new rules accompanied by unaccountable government bureaucracies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Financial Stability Oversight Council. Supposedly intended to make financial institutions—particularly big banks—more accountable and transparent, the rules created by Dodd-Frank have caused confusion and cost much time and money to ensure proper compliance. In addition, the law created a system that provides for taxpayer-funded government bailouts for “too big to fail” banks. If faced with closure, no such system exists to rescue smaller financial institutions.

Unfortunately, the compliance burden has been most detrimental to smaller institutions that serve families and small businesses across the country. Due to the burden imposed on these community institutions, many consumers have lost access to valuable services like free checking. In the same vein, small businesses and entrepreneurs now have difficulty acquiring low-interest loans for expanding or starting up that were previously more readily available through community institutions.

Because some of the rules prescribed in the law have not been written, the confusion over compliance and high cost associated with it will continue in the days ahead. Already, the rules that are currently written cover more than seven thousand pages and cost millions of hours per year to interpret—stealing precious and productive time from businesses to pursue innovation and growth. That means fewer jobs are being created because of the regulations imposed by this law. And without reform, we are likely to fall into yet another fiscal crisis.

Since taking control of the House, Republicans have led efforts to change the consequences brought about by Dodd-Frank. The House Committee on Financial Services, where Congressman Frank Lucas is a senior member, has held numerous hearings specifically on Dodd-Frank, including several this month. The committee has also reported several bills to the House floor that would repeal, reform or fix provisions mandated by the law. As legislation comes to the floor, I will continue to support similar measures to lift the burdensome regulations imposed by the law.

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Cole Response to Presidential Protesters in Oklahoma Waving Confederate Flags


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement online in response to a group of protesters yesterday in Oklahoma waving Confederate flags during President Obama’s visit to the state.

“I was shocked and disappointed by those who showed up to wave Confederate flags soon after President Obama arrived in Oklahoma,” said Cole. “Their actions were not only disappointing but incredibly disrespectful, insensitive and embarrassing to the entire state. The unacceptable behavior displayed by these individuals certainly does not reflect the values and views of the vast majority of Oklahomans. No president should ever be confronted by such behavior, especially when the purpose of the visit was meant to celebrate and recognize some of our state’s greatest achievements.

“The office of President of the United States is deserving of the respect of all Americans, regardless of how deeply we may disagree on issues or policies. Political differences are never a justification to insult the president, and I believe that such action shows disrespect for the office itself. In this circumstance, I consider it to be particularly insensitive given the president’s personal graciousness when Oklahomans in Moore were devastated by tornadoes in May 2013.

“Like me, I’m certain that the vast majority of people across our state are embarrassed and disappointed to see other Oklahomans engage in this sort of activity. Given the president’s purpose for visiting, all Oklahomans should have been proud to have him in the state and shown him the same hospitality that we routinely extend to those who visit our state.”


Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Tornado Family Safety Act passed as part of Superstorm Sandy Relief Act


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed H.R. 208, the Superstorm Sandy Relief and Disaster Loan Program Improvement Act of 2015. The legislation included as a provision the same language as Cole’s previously introduced Tornado Family Safety Act.  

Currently, the Small Business Administration (SBA) provides homeowners, renters and personal-property owners with low-interest loans to help recover from a disaster. Cole’s provision clarifies that SBA disaster loans can be used by homeowners for construction of safe room shelters within rebuilt homes. 

“Whether it’s a hurricane in the northeast, wildfire on the west coast or a devastating tornado in my home state of Oklahoma, at some point every area of the country is susceptible to a natural disaster,” said Cole. “Not only is emergency preparedness critical for saving lives in the midst of disaster, but recovery and rebuilding efforts must be swift after disaster occurs. In Oklahoma, we are faced yearly with the risk and unpredictability of tornadoes that are capable of leaving neighborhoods unrecognizable and forcing communities to rebuild from nothing. For those who have suffered unbelievable losses from severe weather, particularly in Oklahoma, I believe that construction of safe room shelters can provide much-needed peace of mind when rebuilding. I am pleased that the legislation passed today ensures victims can use disaster loans for safe room construction.”


Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Cole Statement on Iran Nuclear Deal


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Obama Administration announced that the P5+1 has reached an agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program. 

“While I haven’t reviewed the agreement in full yet, I remain skeptical about trusting the intentions of Iran and believing it will abide by its word,” said Cole. “Iran is a disingenuous and dangerous negotiating partner, especially on matters that closely impact the safety and security of our nation and allies. I am deeply concerned that President Obama gave up too much to Iran—a known sponsor of terror—in order to reach an agreement that he believes will be historic but may prove tragic for America and its closest friends in the Middle East. 

“The only way to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon is through significant degradation of its nuclear capability. That should include fewer centrifuges, greater transparency and Iran’s surrender of weapons-grade uranium accumulated in recent years. I believe that sanctions should only be removed gradually and only if Iran fulfills its commitments. The United States and our allies should be able to maintain a complete overview of the regime’s nuclear activities through unlimited and unannounced inspections of Iran’s facilities to catch anything done illegally and in secret. Finally, the decision to lift the embargo on selling conventional armaments and ballistic missile components to Iran has no place in this agreement. I am deeply concerned that the Administration made this concession not only to Iran, but to Russia and China as well.‎

“Over the next 60 days, Congress and the American people will have an opportunity to thoroughly review this agreement with Iran. Before arriving at a final opinion, I intend to take my time carefully reading the agreement and listening to the Administration, my colleagues in Congress, various foreign policy experts and, most importantly, my constituents. While the president deserves the opportunity to make his case, he is surely aware that many of us begin this process with serious reservations and questions about the agreement and some of those nations who are parties to it,” concluded Cole.


Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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The Oklahoman: Oklahoma military installations enjoy welcome news, this time


The Oklahoman - Editorial Board

Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation had a somewhat muted response to the news that Fort Sill will gain from a pending military restructuring that will produce deep cuts in other installations. We share their ambivalence.

On the one hand, this is great news for Fort Sill and the Lawton area. The addition of 219 active-duty positions in the next two years will keep Fort Sill in a strong position going forward; its primary focus is on field artillery training and air defense artillery, or Fires.

As a Fort Sill official put it, adding an air defense and field artillery battalion “will help Fort Sill continue to lead the future of Fires for the Army into the 21st century.” Given the alternative, this is a tremendous shot in the arm.

That alternative included significant cuts, as will be seen at Army posts in Alaska (2,600 positions), Georgia (3,500), Texas (a total of 4,550 at two installations) and Kansas (675 at two installations). Indeed the office of U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Fort Sill, had helped Lawton-area officials prepare a report to the Army about the potential effect of the proposed reduction of about 6,800 personnel at the post. Fort Sill is home to about 10,000 active-duty and National Guard and Reserve troops and 5,000 civilian workers.

The flip side of the coin is that those other posts and their communities will feel the sting from these reductions. Additional cuts will be necessary if sequestration happens this fall. The Obama administration has previously insisted that half of all sequester cuts come from the defense budget.

The Army, which has trimmed 80,000 from its rolls since 2012, plans to reduce its active-duty force to 450,000, with most of the cuts to be implemented in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Reducing Army personnel to that level won’t pose a significant risk to national security, according to Pentagon officials, but cutting any further very well could.

Thus the reaction of Cole, who said that while he was grateful Fort Sill wasn’t affected by the Army’s reductions, “I remain very concerned about the president’s military policy and continued determination to further cut those who volunteered to defend our nation.”

Likewise Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said he was pleased that none of Oklahoma’s military installations would be affected by the latest cuts. But the Army’s new cuts, in addition to reductions throughout the military in recent years due to sequestration, “puts into question our military’s capabilities to execute the requirements of our national security strategy.”

A longtime member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Inhofe has noted several times that Obama’s proposed defense budget last year would leave the United States with the smallest ground forces since 1940, the smallest fleet of ships in 100 years and the smallest tactical fighter force in Air Force history.

As long as sequestration remains a possibility, then further cuts are ahead throughout the military. The next time around, Oklahoma’s military installations might not be as fortunate as they’ve been thus far. Congressional leaders and President Obama need to find a better way to handle such a vital national interest.

Online: The Oklahoman

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Rep. Cole: "Disappointed by those who showed up to wave Confederate flags"

2015-07-17 13:21:26

Rep. Cole : "Ex-Im creates international opportunities for small companies"

2015-07-15 23:16:56

Rep. Cole: "Skeptical about trusting Iran's intentions"

2015-07-15 17:13:20

Rep. Cole: "Iran deal may prove tragic for America"

2015-07-15 17:13:16

Rep. Cole: "Deeply concerned President Obama gave up too much to Iran"

2015-07-15 16:38:15

Rep. Cole files LHHS Appropriations for FY16

2015-07-14 16:53:59

Rep. Cole questions on 21st Century Cures Act

2015-07-09 03:04:33

Rep. Cole: "Must find a logical way to manage the horse population"

2015-07-09 02:48:25

Rep. Cole speaks in support of Student Success Act

2015-07-08 04:50:29

Rep. Cole on Iran talks: "President should've walked away from the table"

2015-07-06 19:46:10

Rep. Cole on LHHS Appropriations: "We set priorities and made tough choices"

2015-06-25 03:52:29

Rep. Cole discusses TPA and TPP on WTOP Radio

2015-06-24 20:20:15

Rep. Cole on Interior Appropriations: "Helps some constituencies historically overlooked"

2015-06-24 19:34:02

Rep. Cole: "The power here is what bothers me the most"

2015-06-23 03:13:56

Rep. Cole: "Intelligence is as much an art as it is a science"

2015-06-23 03:13:23

Rep. Cole offers amendment to Interior Appropriations for FY16

2015-06-23 02:57:43

Rep. Cole supports Interior Appropriations bill for FY16

2015-06-23 02:57:26

Rep. Cole remarks during Rules consideration of Trade Promotion Authority

2015-06-12 13:49:28

Rep. Cole: "WCF employees are already fully funded"

2015-06-11 18:50:08

Rep. Cole on McGovern amendment: "Offered in good faith"

2015-06-10 02:52:52

Contact Information

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Phone 202-225-6165
Fax 202-225-3512

Committee Assignments




Currently serving in his seventh term, Tom Cole was elected to Congress in 2002. Identified by Time Magazine as “one of the sharpest minds in the House,” Cole is an advocate for a strong national defense, a tireless advocate for taxpayers and small businesses, and a leader on issues dealing with Native Americans and tribal governments. Cole was named as one of the “Five Freshmen to Watch” by Roll Call at the outset of his congressional career.

Since 2009, Cole has served on the powerfulHouse Appropriations Committee, where he is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education); he is also assigned to the Subcommittees on Defense and Interior.

For the third consecutive Congress, Cole was reappointed to the House Budget Committee in 2015 as one of the three members of the majority party who also sits on the Appropriations Committee. He is currently considered the Senior Appropriator on the panel.

In 2013, Cole was appointed to serve on the House Rules Committee. In addition, Congressman Cole serves as a Deputy Whip for the Republican Conference and is a member of the Republican Steering Committee.

In October 2013, he was appointed by Speaker Boehner and Budget Chairman Paul Ryan to serve as one of four House Republicans on a House-Senate joint budget conference committee that negotiated a bipartisan budget deal for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

Tom Cole has a significant background of service to his home state of Oklahoma. He has served as the State Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, District Director to 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 19,1995.

Cole is widely regarded as one of the GOP’s top political strategists. He served as Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 1992 cycle. He also served as the Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee during the historic 2000 cycle in which Republicans won the presidency, the Senate and the House for the first time in 48 years. In the 2008 cycle, Cole served as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Cole is a founding partner and past president of CHS & Associates, a nationally recognized political consulting and survey research firm based in Oklahoma City. The firm has been named one of the top 20 in its field 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 serves on the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents, as well as the national board of the Fulbright Association. He is also a member of the Congressional Advisory Board to the Aspen Institute.

Tom Cole is a fifth generation Oklahoman and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. He is currently one of the only Native Americans serving in Congress. He was awarded the Congressional Leadership award by the National Congress of American Indians in 2007 and 2011 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 the Mayor of Moore in her native state of Oklahoma. Cole’s late father, John, served 20 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


Markwayne Mullin


Frank Lucas


Steve Russell


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