Tom Cole

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

Oklahoma Delegation Responds to Obama Administration’s Failure to Grant ESEA Extension

2014/08/28

Washington, D.C. — Today the Oklahoma delegation criticized the Obama Administration for failing to approve a one-year extension of Oklahoma’s Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) Flexibility:

"The Obama Administration doesn't like when Oklahomans buck big government regulations, and today the Administration responded by penalizing our children with failing to grant the one-year extension of the ESEA flexibility," said Sen. Jim Inhofe. "Oklahomans want education reform that sets standards created and certified by Oklahoma's institutions, community leaders, and parents. Instead of supporting these values, the Obama Administration has chosen to make it more expensive and difficult to achieve the state's education goals that, once met, will exceed the requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education. As seen with ObamaCare taxes or the Endangered Species Act rulings, today's decision continues the trend of this Administration punishing Oklahoma for making decisions that represent the goals and interests of its constituents." 

“Greater state and local control over education funding is vital to the success of Oklahoma's students,” said Sen. Tom Coburn. “The experiment in federal micro-management of our nation's schools has proven to be a failure. This is what makes the Secretary's decision to revoke Oklahoma's ESEA flexibility so disappointing. As Oklahoma takes concrete steps to ensure our students are prepared for their future careers, the Department should give our schools the flexibility they need to succeed.”

“The revocation of Oklahoma’s NCLB waiver—just as students begin a new school year—demonstrates this Administration’s unwillingness to allow states the time to establish state-specific, high academic standards,” said Rep. James Lankford. “The Administration granted an education funding waiver if Oklahoma would accept Common Core or if our state would establish college-ready standards. In May, our state chose to reject the Common Core standards and began writing our own. Because of that decision, the Administration has chosen to revoke what little flexibility and clarity Oklahoma educators were allowed by the federal government to help our students and teachers succeed amid a one-size-fits-all federal approach to education policy. The actions of the Administration today increase bureaucracy and decrease time to focus on academic standards.  

“This is a glaring example of why the federal government should not dictate local education policy. In July of last year, the U.S. House passed an Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization to protect local schools from new federal red tape and to provide school districts the flexibility to identify, recruit and retain the best teachers possible. Centralized, federally mandated curricula, inside-the-Beltway education funding priorities and impossible federal standards are not the answers to improve education in our nation.”

“Our state stood firm against further federal intrusion into the education of our children by rejecting the Common Core curriculum and determining that local educational leaders could best develop the appropriate curriculum for Oklahoma students,” said Rep. Jim Bridenstine. “Instead of applauding this constitutional decision and leadership, the Obama Administration decided today to reject the requested one year extension of flexibility previously granted to Oklahoma under ESEA. This politically motivated decision is the perfect example of how the unconstitutional federalization of education has effectively taken away the power reserved for the states and the people by our founders. It's time to abolish the federal Department of Education and return power to the states consistent with the 10th Amendment.”

“I'm very frustrated by this decision not just as an Oklahoma Representative but also as a parent with children in public school,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin. “Like many Oklahoma families, my family depends on public education, and this irresponsible action promises to weaken our state's ability to provide our youth with the education they need to be successful.” 

"Oklahoma's educators deserve maximum flexibility in order to provide our students with the tools to succeed,” said Rep. Frank Lucas. “Today's decision reflects just how out of touch the Obama Administration is when it comes to the needs of Oklahoma's students, and I urge the President to reconsider extending this critical education measure."

"Although the waiver was not granted, I hope that the Department of Education works with the state to ensure a smooth transition,” said Rep. Tom Cole. “Changing the standards for a school year that has already begun is untenable and will not only be rushed but will likely be difficult to implement. I am disappointed that the Administration would cause such an unfair strain on the system in Oklahoma."

On Aug. 25, the Oklahoma Delegation sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education Arne Duncan requesting the agency to consider a one-year extension of Oklahoma’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility. The extension would allow for Oklahoma to continue developing elementary and secondary education standards in conjunction with institutions of higher education in order to meet and exceed the U.S. Department of Education’s requirements. 

The Delegation wrote, “On behalf of the State, we request that Oklahoma be afforded this one-year extension of the ESEA Flexibility in order to allow state leaders and educators the opportunity to focus on the development and implementation of Oklahoma college- and career- ready standards, as well as other State education reforms necessary to continue supporting the Principles of ESEA Flexibility.”

You can read the full text of the letter by clicking here

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Contact: Donelle Harder (202) 224-4721 (Inhofe) Elaine Joseph (202) 224-5754 (Coburn) Kelly Ferguson (405) 234-9900 (Lankford) Sheryl Kaufman (202) 225-2211 (Bridenstine) Josh Miller (202) 225-2701 (Mullin) Andrew Witmer (202) 225-5599 (Lucas)Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole)

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Combating Terrorism Requires Action

2014/08/25

Last week, the world was horrified when we learned that American journalist, James Foley, was brutally murdered in cold blood by ISIS extremists. But this wasn’t the first instance of violence by these terrorists, nor is it likely to be the last if they are not stopped. 

Led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS formed out of al-Qaeda last year and has been terrorizing various areas between Iraq and Syria ever since, including its taking of Mosul in June.  Seen as even more extreme and more dangerous than other jihadist organizations, ISIS has even been publicly denounced by other terrorists for the brutality of its tactics. Even so, the terrorist organization has been gaining steam, claiming territory and garnering support in its effort to establish a terrorist state—so far without much discouragement or deterrence. And the effort doesn’t just include members from Syria and Iraq but also recruits from other countries. As many as 3,000 citizens from Western countries have reportedly joined ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria. 

As ISIS gains more ground, it becomes more emboldened, which was evident earlier this summer when it was renamed Islamic State, confirming its desire to create an Islamic stronghold in the region. Though initially funded by private anti-Shia investors or Sunni sympathizers, ISIS has gained additional strength by stealing money from Iraqi banks and weapons and equipment from Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Because these terrorists haven’t been stopped, their influence, violence and destruction has increased, including the persecution of Iraqi Christians, Kurds and other religious minorities. 

Earlier this month, ISIS taking of Sinjar and Qaraposh caused thousands of religious minorities to flee persecution or execution by seeking refuge in Kurdish-controlled territory. This displacement and ISIS bullying of so many people led the United States to provide aid to refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar. But beyond humanitarian aid, the president called for U.S. air strikes that helped ISF reclaim control of the Mosul dam—assistance that ISIS called its reason for murdering Foley last week.

Despite its short lifespan, ISIS poses a threat far beyond the region in which it currently operates. Diffusing the threat requires a calculated and swift response from the United States. The longer we allow these terrorists to feel empowered, the more difficult it will be for their influence to be dispelled and their violence eliminated. 

Unfortunately, the current violence might have been prevented if American troops were not prematurely taken out of Iraq in 2009, destabilizing the region and squandering the achievements of the previous mission. The foundation built was also quickly shaken by the corrupt leadership of Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who allowed the country’s military to resemble a militia that favored the Shia sect of Islam, pushing away Sunni Muslims into the hands of extremists. 

So far, the United States has only reacted to specific acts of terror in the region. Currently acting under the War Powers Act, the president is allowed 60 days of unauthorized military activity against this terrorist group. However, any further military intervention must and should have congressional authorization. The president would be well-advised to ask for a vote in Congress long before this 60-day period expires in order to display a Congress and president that desire to work together in finding the best way to combat this terrorist organization. 

Before the events of the last several weeks, the House of Representatives passed the McGovern Amendment that would require the president to consult and seek authorization from Congress before taking any further action in Iraq, especially before sending American troops or other military support. In this tricky situation, it is critical that Congress and the president navigate together and make decisions together. If Congress and the president are not on the same page, the American people will lose confidence in the objectives of any future military action.

We must act quickly to prevent further mobilization of these terrorists, who have already proved their disregard for human life and intention to do harm. But before any action can be taken, the president must sell a clear strategy and mission to the American people, and he should work with Congress to approve and implement such plans.

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Tulsa World: Obama should ask Congress for Iraq support, Cole says

2014/08/23

Tulsa World - Randy Krehbiel 

President Barack Obama should ask Congress for authority to expand U.S. intervention in Iraq, and Congress should give it to him, 4th District Congressman Tom Cole said Friday in Tulsa.

“The president can claim, and a lot of people will want him to do this, that he can act under the 2002 authorization,” said Cole. “There’s a legal argument for that, but I don’t think there’s a good political argument for it.” 

Cole said members of both parties would be reluctant to take such a vote ahead of this fall’s elections, but in the long run it would be best for all concerned.

“There will be a lot of messages directed to the president saying, ‘Don’t make us do this,’” said Cole. “But we can’t complain about the president doing things without authorization if we refuse to give him authorization.

“This president, if he’s going to deploy assets there, would be wise to ask Congress. Congress would be wise to support him.”

Cole said a “pretty messy debate” would accompany any such vote, but it would be “a mistake to stumble into something like this without the American people informed and able to hold Congress accountable.”

Requesting congressional approval would also require the administration to formulate a coherent policy for dealing with the violent insurgents, Cole said.

“They should be able to say ‘Here’s the threat, here’s the objective, here’s the strategy, here’s what we want (Congress) to do,’” Cole said.

Cole said that, in hindsight, the U.S. should have left residual forces in Iraq, but the “real villain” is former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, because it was al-Maliki who turned Iraq’s military into a sectarian militia and pushed the opposition Sunnis into the arms of the extremists.

Cole said Obama was “right” not to deal directly with the Iraqi government until al-Maliki was replaced, but that the administration needs to do more than react to specific situations.

“These are bad guys,” Cole said.

“We do not want them to establish a terrorist state.”

Online: Tulsa World

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Securing the American Promise

2014/08/18

All across the world, the United States of America is recognized as a nation where individuals and families can flourish. Because our country has always valued hard work, we seek to achieve, and we often succeed because opportunity lives here. Stories of success overflow from the earliest Americans to our current Americans. And this great American promise of success is a legacy that we expect and desire to pass on to our children and our children’s children.

Sadly, the brightness of this promise has faded in recent years due to a struggling economy that has yielded fewer job opportunities and brought greater debt. Without serious, intentional changes to the current trajectory, we will be forced to leave a mess for future generations, instead of the abundant inheritance that many of us have enjoyed.

Certainly, Americans are shaken by the problems that seem to grow by the day, including nearly $17.7 trillion in debt, 3.2 million long-term unemployed people and national security troubles overseas and at our own borders. Rather than accept an unfortunate reality, however, Republicans have worked in the midst of divided government to offer real solutions that will restore and secure the promise of the American dream. But we cannot act alone to implement these solutions. 

There are now more than 40 pieces of House-passed legislation awaiting action in the Democratic-led Senate that encourage innovation and job creation, improve the workforce and facilitate economic recovery. One such piece of legislation that addresses the growing number of long-term unemployed is the SKILLS Act that would provide training programs to equip these individuals for a wider range of job opportunities.

While there are numerous contributing factors to our poor employment situation and economic recovery, the president’s healthcare law isn’t helping. Rather than make healthcare more affordable, Obamacare puts a greater financial burden on individuals, families and job creators by imposing billions in new taxes and instituting unnecessary mandates and regulations.

I certainly agree that we should look for solutions that encourage rather than force people to purchase health insurance, especially those who haven’t been able to afford coverage in the past. In a struggling economy, Americans want insurance that saves their hardworking dollars, fits in with their budgets and provides as much or as little coverage as desired or needed. Republicans believe that any changes to our system should be focused on and committed to the unique needs of every patient and encourage competition amongst providers and across states, reflecting market-based ideas rather than allowing a government to inefficiently manage an industry it doesn’t understand.

Other Republican-offered solutions for improving our economic situation would also strengthen our national security. Most significant is TransCanada’s still-pending application to construct the Keystone XL pipeline nearly 2,200 days ago. In the last Congress alone, the House voted six times to advance construction of the pipeline. Last year, a bipartisan House approved the Northern Route Approval Act, legislation that expedites the application process. As lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have noted over the last several years that we’ve waited for a decision from the Administration, Keystone would boost the economy, create thousands of jobs, lessen our dependence on foreign energy and wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything.

In times of economic uncertainty and mounting national security issues, we must also remember the countless men and women who selflessly answered the call of duty. It is because of their dedicated service and sacrifice that puts us at ease and allows us to feel safe. Unfortunately, this Administration has recommended deeper cuts to our military than any other aspect of government.

With mounting crises overseas, we are reminded that the strength of our military presence and readiness speaks to both our enemies and allies. When our military is weak, our nation is seen as a target by our enemies and less stable or dependable to our allies. Making our military weaker inevitably makes the world more dangerous and runs the risk of increasing the number and severity of conflicts around the globe. This is not the sort of world that we want to leave to the next generation.

Our children and grandchildren are the future doctors, teachers, engineers, soldiers, writers, business people and community leaders. Despite our differences, lawmakers must work together to ensure the same American promise that has fueled generations long before us to do great things and has allowed them to feel safe in our land. Republicans have already started the dialogue and await the participation of the Senate and President Obama.

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Main Street Key to Economic Recovery

2014/08/11

Throughout our nation’s history spanning more than 238 years, the United States has been recognized as a land of opportunity, where success can be achieved regardless of where you’ve come from. The American dream never fails to inspire old and young alike, and it will continue to motivate future generations to pursue big dreams, think creatively and foster new ideas. 

Our country’s ability to prosper depends heavily upon the success of small businesses, entrepreneurs and inventors. According to the United States 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. Looking specifically at Oklahoma’s contribution in 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce recorded 332,998 small businesses that employed 673,373 people.

Oklahoma has an abundance of thriving small businesses that make us proud. Last week I hosted a Town Hall in Frederick.  I also spent time visiting with small businesses, such as Field’s Pies in Paul’s Valley. Known for its delicious pecan pies, Field’s has been baking and delivering pies since 1925 when it was just a single kitchen operation. Still family-owned, the company now serves a national market and is just one of many success stories from our state. The day after touring Field’s with owners Chris Field and Jenny Wallace, I was able to continue the important dialogue about the issues facing small business owners at an event hosted by members of the South OKC Chamber of Commerce. Each visit and conversation reminded me that there are very real challenges facing Main Street if the current regulatory, tax and healthcare environment is left unchanged. 

Small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy. In order for more companies like Field’s Pies to be established, create jobs and remain open, a healthy business environment must be in place in order for them to thrive. Unfortunately, many new business owners experience difficulty entering and staying in the marketplace due to burdensome regulations and high taxes. Now, with the implementation of Obamacare and the higher healthcare costs for businesses that accompany the new program,  business owners are forced to limit capital investments or slow expansion plans because of an uncertain regulatory environment and increased costs. 

Job creators should not be punished for trying to create jobs and opportunity. It’s critical that we find ways to clear red tape that’s preventing potential job opportunities that would encourage commerce and help the economy.

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The Oklahoman: U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, says the world is full of problem spots as the size of the U.S. military is reduced

2014/08/10

The Oklahoman - By Rick Green 

Dangers have increased around the globe at a time when U.S. military forces are smaller and less capable of dealing with trouble overseas, Rep. Tom Cole told The Oklahoman’s editorial board.

“In my time in Congress, and I’ve sat on the Armed Services Committee or Defense Appropriations almost every year I’ve been there, I have never seen a more complex and dangerous international environment than we have today,” he said Thursday.

He mentioned several potential flashpoints, starting with North Korea, where Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of its leader, Kim Jong Un, was executed late last year for treason.

“We’ve got a guy with five or six nuclear weapons and one of the largest conventional forces in the world, and we don’t know what he’s going to do any morning when he gets up,” said Cole, R-Moore. “His own uncle clearly didn’t know what he was going to do any morning when he got up.”

Cole, who is serving in his sixth term, said Chinese military activities in the East and South China Seas, together with territorial disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan, have been a cause for concern for its neighbors, who look to the U.S. for support.

“They watch what happens with the size of the Navy, which came down during the last sequester,” he said.

He called Pakistan, which has 120 nuclear weapons, “a very dangerous place, where we’re not popular.” He noted that Osama bin Laden was able to hide there for six years.

Iran, the No. 1 sponsor of terrorism in the world, is trying to get a nuclear capability. Israel has been locked in a long-term conflict with the Palestinians, while extremists and terrorists have set up an Islamic state in portions of Iraq and Syria. Meantime, Russia has apparently decided the Cold War is back on or peace after the Cold War is off, Cole said.

National security

Despite all this turmoil overseas, America’s focus has turned inward.

“So while we’re dealing with all this other stuff at home and doing all the politics and worried about immigration issues, we have real national security issues that transcend this,” he said.

“The next president will not have the military capability that this president and any previous American president for a generation or more has been able to take for granted. It’s still the best military in the world, it’s still more robust than anybody else in the world and can still do more things, but its capabilities have been declining.”

He said that if the U.S. military force retracts around the world, forces not friendly to freedom will assert themselves into the vacuum. He noted that the U.S. Army has gone from a force of 570,000 people to as low as 420,000.

Keith Gaddie, a University of Oklahoma political science professor, said the U.S. military has been transitioning to a force with a lighter footprint, depending more on high technology and special forces than boots on the ground.

“It’s an expensive and elite military rather than a large conscription force,” he said.

Domestic issues

Turning to domestic topics, Cole said Republicans seem to have a good chance of picking up the six seats in the November election that will give them a majority in the U.S. Senate. Until that election, he doesn’t see much hope of getting things accomplished in Congress. After the election, there could be a chance for significant progress in entitlement reform and immigration, if compromises can be reached.

Gaddie said that if the Republicans gain control of the Senate, more legislation could find its way to President Barack Obama’s desk, but it’s an open question as to whether agreement could be reached for him to sign some of those bills.

“If everybody wants to run it their way and keep the ideological wing of their caucuses involved, nothing is going to get done,” the professor said.

Cole said the president will be left with a choice of working to burnish his legacy by trying to make breakthroughs on major issues, or instead making political choices intended to improve the chances of the next Democrat to run for president.

Online: The Oklahoman

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Fort Sill to Cease Housing Illegal Minors

2014/08/04

Norman, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after learning that Fort Sill Military Base is expected to discontinue housing unaccompanied illegal minors by Friday, August 8. In response to the surge of these unaccompanied minors at the southern borders coming from Central America, the Administration had ordered the use of three military facilities. According to an announcement made today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Administration plans to discontinue use of these surge emergency shelters.

“I am very pleased by today’s announcement that HHS will discontinue using military facilities for housing unaccompanied illegal minors,” said Cole. “I am grateful to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell for respecting the sense of Congress, recognizing that military bases are not the right place to house these minors and working quickly to move them elsewhere.

“Out of serious concern for our service members for which these facilities are designed and intended, I have always been opposed to the Administration’s emergency plan of using our military facilities for managing the surge of illegal minors. While it is encouraging that HHS is moving these unaccompanied illegal minors off the bases, the problem that caused the surge must still be addressed, starting with enforcement of current immigration law and plugging the loophole in the 2008 sex trafficking law which the Administration claims forces it to go through a lengthy litigation process before returning unaccompanied illegal Central American minors to their country of origin. The House passed legislation to do that just last week. The Administration would be wise to embrace at least this portion of the legislation in order to address the crisis at the border.”

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Conference Report Provides for our Veterans

2014/08/04

There is no obligation more sacred than to provide for our service members and their families, both during and after service to their country. Many return from war forever changed, sometimes with both physical and psychological challenges. Especially when these veteran heroes require special care, they should never receive less than the best treatment. As a grateful nation, we owe them that debt for their selfless sacrifice and service.

Today, there are more than 1.4 million service members on active duty and 21 million veterans living in the United States. Following their service, our veterans should feel confident that the health services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the best care available. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, thousands of veterans seeking care through VA health clinics and facilities have been neglected, due to internal mismanagement. 

In one such example, a facility in Phoenix, AZ was found to have falsified records to hide actual wait times that veterans were forced to endure. Similar problems abounded across the country and revealed that many veterans waited weeks to even get an appointment. Many of them were still waiting or hadn’t even been put on a waiting list after requesting an appointment. 

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that we should take care of our veterans; that is an important commitment that we will always share. When we were confronted by the outrageous treatment of our veterans due to the VA’s internal negligence and mismanagement, lawmakers quickly worked together to find an immediate fix that would prevent future problems. Last week, both chambers agreed on the VA conference committee’s report and passed it with a strong show of bipartisanship. The legislation has been sent to the president for his signature.

The Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act includes $10 billion for the Veterans Choice Fund, $5 billion for improving the internal medical force at the VA and $1.5 billion to start up 27 new VA clinics, including one in Tulsa. In addition to passage of the conference report, a new VA secretary was confirmed and sworn in last week to lead the department out of corruption. Robert McDonald served in the United States Army before spending decades at Proctor & Gamble, including the roles of Chairman, President and CEO. I am optimistic that his military and management background will serve the department well, helping ensure that veterans get the care they need when they need it.     

By putting new accountability measures in place, increasing the VA medical force and speeding up the process for those veterans who have been waiting, I believe we are on the right track to solving the issues that have put our veterans at risk.

In midst of controversy, it is nice to see both parties unite with urgency to protect the benefits earned by veterans through their proven valor.

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Border Supplemental Provides Limited Funding for Border Crisis

2014/08/02

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5230, Making Supplemental Appropriations FY 2014, to addresses the president’s emergency request for dealing with the border crisis. 

In response to the president’s $3.7 billion request, the House-passed bill provides $659 million to meet immediate border security and humanitarian needs through the end of the year. Along with sending National Guard assistance to the southern border and improving enforcement resources for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the supplemental amends a 2008 law that requires all minors entering the country illegally from Central America be treated the same as Mexican minors, who are sent back immediately. The bill speeds up deportation proceedings by adding temporary immigration judges to hear cases and prevent backlog while working with the countries from which the individuals migrated to return them safely home. It also includes language that prevents further expansion or funding for the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“Rather than throw money at a problem that the president’s failed policy created, the House today voted for a measure that covers immediate border security and humanitarian needs until the end of this year,” said Cole. “With the limited funding, the bill makes reforms that help change the incentive of those attempting to stay in America illegally by speeding up the process for returning them to their countries of origin. I am pleased that the supplemental actually addresses the situation at our borders and helps reverse the surge of thousands of illegal minors.”

The legislation also includes language recommended by Cole that addresses the use of military facilities for housing illegal minors. It specifically states that military installations should not be used for housing unauthorized aliens. It outlines conditions the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should meet such as providing written and advance notice to Congress and the public in the Federal Register about housing UAC’s at military facilities.

In addition, the final bill includes an amendment introduced by Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03) that prohibits use of military facilities for UAC housing should it “displace members of the Armed Forces or interfere with the activities of the Armed Forces.”

“I am very encouraged by the changes made to the final bill as it relates to use of military installations. Ever since I learned of the border crisis and the president’s plan to use Fort Sill in my district for housing illegal minors, I’ve thought it was an inappropriate use of military facilities. I am pleased that this strong language was included because it will help prevent the confusion of missions at our military bases and reserve use for our military personnel.”

Cole represents Lawton, which includes Fort Sill Military Base that is currently being used to house unaccompanied illegal minors.

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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House Approves Legislation Authorizing Lawsuit Against President Obama

2014/07/30

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H. Res. 676, “Providing for authority to initiate litigation for actions by the President or other executive branch officials inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution of the United States.”

“Throughout his time in office, President Barack Obama has shown a consistent pattern of executive overreach by repeatedly choosing to bypass Congress and unilaterally change laws, especially with the implementation of Obamacare,” said Cole. “While it is unfortunate that we have been driven to this point, the president must be held accountable for unconstitutional behavior. In order to seek both resolution and clarification, I believe that initiating a lawsuit is the most appropriate tool available to clearly define executive power and authority for this president. 

“Clearly, we have a profound difference of opinion with the president. House Republicans hope that this lawsuit will bring the resolution we desperately need. The president must work with Congress to pass laws, not create his own.” 

Yesterday, the House Rules Committee held a hearing for consideration of H. Res. 676. To watch Congressman Cole’s remarks during the hearing in favor of the lawsuit, click here.

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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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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