Tom Cole

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

The Oklahoman: Rep. Tom Cole's laudable effort to keep Social Security afloat

2015/03/29

The Oklahoman - Editorial Board

NO, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole isn’t bored and simply looking for a challenge. Instead Cole, R-Moore, says his decision to try to come up with a way to keep Social Security afloat is based on a firm belief that it can be done.

“The problem is it’s easily fixed,” Cole said in an interview last week. “It’s the politics that’s hard.”

In 2014, 24 percent of all federal spending went to pay for Social Security. When you add in Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and other benefit programs, and the interest on the debt, these programs combine to eat up two-thirds of all federal monies. And yet reform proposals routinely get shot down in Washington.

Recall President Barack Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission, which included then-Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee. Among other things, it recommended changes to Social Security. Obama never endorsed the commission plan (which also failed to get enough support from commission members to require a vote of Congress). Democrats have been so protective of Social Security that they have sought through the years to require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, instead of a simple majority, to make any changes to the system.

But Cole believes he can return to his district “and defend anything to save Social Security, because it really is the most popular program.” In addition, he said, most people recognize that some changes need to be made.

Cole has joined with Rep. John K. Delaney, a Democrat from Maryland, in filing a bill to establish a 13-member commission to make recommendations on keeping Social Security from going under. The need is there: Cole and Delaney point out that current projections show the program’s combined trust funds won’t be able to meet obligations beginning in 2033.

The panel would be bipartisan, with members appointed by House and Senate leaders from both parties, and the president. The group would have a year to do its work and present its recommendations to Congress for an up-or-down vote. The fact that each recommendation has to earn nine commission votes ensures bipartisan buy-in.

The process is similar to one in 1983 that helped extend Social Security’s solvency for decades. Cole said it’s possible, perhaps likely, that some of the recommendations made by this group will be similar to those made three decades ago. For example, a gradual increase in the age of eligibility might be a suggestion, or an index adjustment that slows the growth of benefits for upper-income Americans.

“They’re politically challenging, no doubt about it,” Cole said. He added, though, that, “I think the American people are more sensible than the American Congress is, and more sensible than the special interests” that work so hard to keep the status quo.

There’s no serious debate about whether something needs to be done to ensure Social Security’s long-term future. The year 2033 will be here before you know it. If the program’s trust fund runs dry, Cole said, the average benefit would fall by 22 percent immediately.

“We need to fix this thing,” he said. “The later you wait, the more expensive the fix will become.”

Cole says he and Delaney are of a mind that “if we could ever get the process going, we could get to the end point.” Congress should support this important effort, and we salute both men for taking the lead.

Online: The Oklahoman

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No Deal without Congress

2015/03/27

With the March 31 deadline for initial negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 just days away, I am very concerned by the president’s failure to consult Congress and his lack of stated intention to do so. Concern over what the new framework could include for Iran’s nuclear program is not a partisan issue. In fact, members on both sides of the aisle have told the president to err on the side of caution and remember the history of our relationship with Iran. 

Since 1984, Iran has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a sponsor of terrorism around the world. Without question, this designation has set a precedent in our relationship, causing the distrust and understandable caution in our dealings with the country. And for years, Iran’s tendency to deceive has only become more pronounced, further alienating the Iranian regime from the United States and our allies. 

A few days ago, out of grave concern about the direction of the negotiations, I joined my colleagues in urging the president to think long and hard about the deal he reportedly intends to secure. In the bipartisan letter signed by 367 House members, we reminded the president that a “final comprehensive nuclear agreement must constrain Iran’s nuclear infrastructure so that Iran has no pathway to a bomb, and that agreement must be long-lasting.” 

As we reminded the president in the letter, Iran hasn’t complied with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by fully reporting its past bomb work, so its real progress in acquiring and building the bomb is essentially unknown. In addition to this lack of cooperation with IAEA, inspectors have voiced their concern about questionable military activity in Iran, including design of a nuclear payload for a missile. Obviously, these signs add doubt that Iran should be a negotiating partner at all. Because the Iranian regime has been deceptive in the past, it’s to be expected that the same precedent will hold—no matter what they promise or how nicely they promise it.

Unfortunately, the president appears to be more interested in reaching a historic deal, rather than being shrewd about what the terms of the agreement will mean long-term for America’s safety and security, as well as for our allies. Once again, he’s going about it alone when Congress could and should be able to help come to the right deal—or recommend that we walk away if that proves to be impossible. 

Even though the Administration wants a deal, the only acceptable agreement in my view is one that permanently eliminates Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. Iran cannot be allowed to build an atomic bomb, and the only way we can prevent that from becoming a reality is by eliminating—not simply limiting—the means to do that. 

Unfortunately, several concessions have already reportedly been made. Nuclear infrastructure in Iran will remain robust, and inspections will lack the ability to enforce sanctions for violations. Even if sanctions were imposed, Iran only has to wait until the agreement has expired in 10 years before the country would legally be allowed to continue pursuit of nuclear weapons. 

We should absolutely not reward past bad behavior and deception with fewer restrictions. Gambling on the remote possibility that Iran actually honors any so-called agreement with the rest of the civilized world is risky and highly unlikely. 

Until and unless we are certain that Iran can be trusted—and that time doesn’t appear to be in the immediate or foreseeable future—there’s no reason to risk a bad deal simply for the sake of reaching a deal. As I’ve said before, I believe the president has a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure Iran doesn’t acquire the atomic bomb. If his negotiations fall short of that objective, Congress has an obligation to reject and block his actions.

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Cole Praises Medicare SGR Replacement

2015/03/26

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. The legislation passed today permanently replaces the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) that often short-changes Medicare reimbursements for doctors. Further, the bill includes small reforms to address the broken structure of Medicare and provides a two-year extension for funding community health centers. 

“Rather than relying on another temporary and expensive ‘doc-fix’ solution, I am pleased that lawmakers voted to replace the SGR payment model with a system that will properly compensate physicians and allow them to offer the best possible care to their patients,” said Cole. “By moving toward a payment system that protects access to quality care and prevents patients from becoming uninsured or having to resort to Obamacare, this legislation moves us further toward a patient-centered system. I am especially encouraged that the bill includes funding for community health centers, which provide invaluable access to quality care in communities where it would otherwise be scarce. 

“Finally, in addition to solving the broken payment system, today’s vote reflects bipartisan commitment to reforming Medicare. Without immediate changes to the program, Medicare’s future and survival is uncertain. By including albeit small steps to change the structure of the program, there is hope that we can protect its existence for generations to come.”

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Cole Statement on Passage of House Republican Budget

2015/03/25

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Con. Res. 27, to establish the federal government’s budget for fiscal year 2016. The House proposal recommended by Republicans would balance the budget in less than 10 years, cut spending by $5.5 trillion, provide funding to maintain a strong national defense, repeal Obamacare, reform both the tax code and entitlements—like Medicare and Medicaid—and present real solutions to grow the economy.  

“For the fifth consecutive year, I am pleased that House Republicans have passed a responsible budget that offers real solutions for changing the trajectory of our debt,” said Cole. “As it has in previous years, the House proposal actually achieves a balanced budget, unlike the president’s budget that raises taxes and still never balances. By making the necessary yet difficult decisions today, the House plan again reaffirms our commitment to protecting American prosperity and opportunity for future generations. 

“As I have said quite often since both chambers unveiled their budgets last week, it is important to realize that these blueprints, including the one passed today, represent the starting positions for negotiating something we can all agree on. Just as we worked out the differences in our initial starting position through committee mark-up last week and this week during floor consideration in our own chamber, finding the same common ground is still required in the days ahead, especially as we face reconciliation with the Senate’s opening position,” concluded Cole. 

To read a transcript and watch Congressman Cole’s remarks on the House floor during consideration of the rule for H. Con. Res. 27, click here

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Cole on House budget: "This is our opening position"

2015/03/24

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), during consideration of the rule for the House Republican budget for fiscal year 2016, made the following remarks on the House floor in support of the proposal:

I want to pick up and thank my friend and thank our chairman of the Rules Committee for doing exactly what he just suggested, bringing us a rule that lets everybody bring their choices to the floor. That is what we all like to do around here.

Interestingly enough, we essentially have three Democratic choices and three Republican choices, and we are going to have an opportunity for people to express a variety of opinions and arrive at a consensus in this body.

Now, obviously, as a Republican, I like all three Republican alternatives pretty well. I think my friend Mr. Woodall has always worked on the Republican Study Committee budget; it gets us to balance faster than anything else on this floor.

The reality is, if you look at the three Republican budgets, they have several things in common. The first is they make tough choices because we have got an $18 trillion debt; and, just left on autopilot, that will increase by another $7.2 trillion. It aims to bring these things into balance, and each one of those Republican budgets does that—the Republican Study Committee budget a little bit faster—but all within the 10-year budget window.

Second, they all repeal Obamacare—not a big surprise. No Republican voted for it. We have never liked it, and it would be remiss of us not to continue to argue our position.

Third, they all call for major tax reforms. We all know that lowering rates, eliminating exemptions, and rationalizing the Tax Code contributes to economic growth.

They all, frankly, defend the country pretty well. We do it in different ways, and we have debates, but they all manage to do that, and none of them raise taxes in the process of achieving those objectives.

I am pretty content with the Republican choices in front of us and look forward to that. I think it behooves us all to remember—and it gets lost in this debate—a budget is not the law of the land. The budget is, essentially, a negotiating position.

The President submitted a budget earlier. That is his initial negotiating position. Whatever emerges from this debate today is likely to be the Republican initial negotiating position. My friends on the other side will present a budget today which I presume represents their initial negotiating position. They have also got other budgets within the context of that—perfectly appropriate. We do, too, but they will have a general position. Our friends in the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, are wrestling with this very issue as we talk.

Now, we seem to forget, as we draw our differences and distinctions here, we do live in an era of divided government; and despite what many people think, we do occasionally come to compromises around here.

Now, I am pretty pleased we have lowered the budget deficit every year that we have been in the majority, but that has entailed some compromises. We compromised in the Ryan-Murray agreement. That was actually a pretty good agreement that both sides were happy with.

Frankly, this week, we will probably compromise on the so-called doc fix, the SGR. We compromised last December on the CR/Omnibus bill which, again, gave us some fiscal stability.

I suspect, as we all define our initial negotiating positions, at some point down the road, we will indeed compromise. The President of the United States has got a signature that is going to have to happen to any appropriations bill. Our friends have a filibuster control in the upper House.

My hope is we state our positions. I am very content with where we are opening this debate; and then, frankly, over the course of the months ahead, we work together and see if we can find that common ground.

That common ground ought to do what the Republicans are trying to do in terms of lowering the deficit, reforming entitlements, not raising taxes, and moving us in a fiscally responsible direction while we modernize our Tax Code. That is our opening position. I look forward to defending it.

I thank my friend Mr. Woodall for bringing this excellent rule to the floor, which allows everybody to put forward their position. Mr. Speaker, I urge support of the rule.

Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Delaney, Cole File Bipartisan Legislation to Create Social Security Commission

2015/03/24

Washington, D.C. – Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) and Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) have filed legislation to guarantee the long-term solvency of Social Security. The Social Security Commission Act of 2015 creates a bicameral and bipartisan commission that is designed to bring both parties and chambers of Congress together, along with the President, to ensure that Social Security is fully funded for decades to come. The commission created by the legislation is modelled on the 1983 Social Security Commission and would automatically produce an up or down vote in Congress.

According to the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees 2014 Annual Report, absent policy changes, Social Security’s combined trust funds will be exhausted in 2033. 

“Social Security is a promise made to the American people, it’s fundamental and essential. We need to protect and preserve Social Security for generations to come and that’s the singular aim of this legislation, to guarantee Social Security keeps working for the next 75 years,” said Congressman Delaney. “I am deeply concerned about the possibility of drastic cuts to benefits in the future, because the data in front of us is irrefutable. The Social Security Commission Act creates the bipartisan and bicameral process we need to guarantee that a healthy Social Security is waiting for our grandchildren. I am honored to work with Congressman Cole on this legislation.”

“Throughout the entirety of their working life, every American contributes to Social Security and trusts in the promise of future benefits from the program later on in life. Unfortunately, Social Security is in grave danger,” said Congressman Cole. “Without immediate changes that modernize the current system, Social Security will not be able to pay the benefits that American workers have earned and have come to rely upon. Rather than risk breaking the promise made to generations who have paid or will pay into the system, I am pleased to reintroduce bipartisan legislation today with Congressman Delaney that will hopefully result in common sense solutions for saving Social Security for future generations of retirees.”

The Delaney-Cole legislation would provide for the following:

• A 13 member commission, the Commission on Long Term Social Security Solvency, with 12 members appointed by leadership from both parties in the House and Senate (three appointees from each party’s leader in each chamber). Two of the Congressional appointees must be non-elected experts. 

• The commission is chaired by the 13th appointee, named by the President. The President’s appointee means that the President’s party will appoint 7 members, the other party appointing six.

• Within one year of their first meeting, the commission must report to Congress on the 75-year health of Social Security and provide recommendations for how to improve the program.

• The commission’s report must have a minimum of 9 votes, guaranteeing bipartisan consensus.

• The legislation based on the commission’s plan would then receive expedited consideration in Congress for an up or down vote.

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Contact: Will McDonald (202) 225-2721 (Delaney)Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole)

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Congress Opens Budget Negotiations

2015/03/23

In households across the United States, many families already understand that getting out of debt and staying out of debt requires a budget. Like the countless families who recognize the importance of setting spending limits and living within their means, Republicans have long agreed that the federal government should follow the same example.

During the last five consecutive years since taking majority, House Republicans have drafted budgets that acknowledge our nation’s unsustainable debt and offer real solutions for changing the debt trajectory. Until Senate Republicans claimed the majority, no such document had been proposed in that chamber for quite some time. In fact, for the first time in six years, the Senate is actually participating in the budget process.

Last week, I was pleased that both the House and Senate released their budget blueprints for fiscal year 2016 and completed mark-up meetings in the respective budget committees. While these proposals are not identical and have not won full consensus in either body yet, each reflects a budget that balances without tax hikes. By contrast, we should remember that the president’s budget submitted in February never balances and is instead filled with tax increases and even more spending.

As a member of the House Budget Committee, I was pleased to join Budget Chairman Tom Price in unveiling “A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America.” It should come as no surprise that this year’s budget contained similar items from previous years that deal with the nation’s more than $18 trillion in debt—a number that only continues to grow.

Under the responsible plan announced and passed through committee, balance is achieved without raising taxes. Instead, the blueprint cuts spending by $5.5 trillion, repeals the president’s unworkable healthcare law and reforms entitlement programs—like Medicare and Medicaid—that are struggling to survive. By making the difficult decisions today, the House Republican budget protects and reaffirms the promise of prosperity for future generations. Lawmakers are expected to consider the legislation on the House floor this week. 

It is important to note, however, that whether from the president, House or Senate, a budget is only a plan—not the law. Entitlement reform, tax reform and spending restraints will require bipartisan and bicameral negotiation and compromise. Further, both budgets reflect the starting position in negotiating something we can all agree on. This budget is an important step – but only a first step – in an ongoing journey that will have many twists, turns and surprises along the way.

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Cole Supports NAHASDA Reauthorization on House Floor

2015/03/23

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following remarks on the House floor in support of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act (NAHASDA) of 2015:

It is very important when we look at this extremely significant piece of legislation to recognize, as my good friend from Wisconsin said, this is a trust obligation of the United States Government. This isn't a housing handout. This isn't some special deal. This is something, an obligation that we assumed in negotiation with tribes over many decades, many different situations. If people are living in Indian Country, particularly on reservations, and don't have adequate housing, the Federal Government has a responsibility to do something about it, something we have recognized since the 1960s, something, as my friend Mr. Pearce said, we institutionalized in 1996.

This has been a good program for a long time. It has been a block grant program, which has empowered tribes. One of the things I love about this legislation is, in a bipartisan sense, we continue to do that. We provide a lot more flexibility for tribes to actually control their own affairs, meet their own needs.

As Ms. Moore suggests, we all wish the sum could be more. $650 million is a lot of money, but spread across a population of almost three million individuals and over 57 million acres, an area of land about the size of Wyoming, it is maybe not as much as we would like, particularly given the severe needs, but it is a good faith effort, and it is appropriate given the difficult financial times we are in.

Again, we have had tremendous support across Indian Country. As both speakers previously mentioned, National Congress of American Indians, particularly the National American Indian Housing Council, has worked hand-in-glove with Members on both sides of the aisle to build this program.

My friends were very fulsome in their praise for various Members, and I wouldn't disagree with anybody they mentioned, but I have got to hold, particularly, Mr. Pearce up not only for his tremendous work on this, Ms. Moore as well, but for their persistence in this. They brought this legislation to the floor in the last Congress, having worked out the difficulties, formed a bipartisan compromise and coalition and, frankly, brought their leaders along with them, I think, educating their respective leaders in the process. We got that through the House last time on a bipartisan basis. The Senate wasn't able to act, and I am very pleased to see that they have come back again this quickly in the session. Hopefully we will have a little bit better response on the other side. I don't think there was any opposition; they just didn't get it done in the press of business toward the end of the year. They are going to have plenty of time to do that.

This is an excellent piece of legislation. As my friends have both suggested, it is an example of how well we can work together when we focus on the problems instead of sometimes the partisan and philosophical divisions that separate us. I reflect, as I am looking here on the floor, that I usually like to think of myself as a rightwing conservative Republican, but I can't get to the right of my friend Mr. Pearce, as hard as I try; and my friend Ms. Moore--we have worked together on TRIO programs, on violence against women, now on this--is certainly well to the left of me on a lot of issues. So anything that can bring the three of us together is pretty inclusive in this body, and you won't have much excuse.

I am particularly pleased to see my friend Mr. Kildee on the floor, who continues a family tradition of working in the forefront of Native American issues.

It is a good piece of legislation. It has been worked on hard by people that really know what they are doing. They brought the body along. So I certainly urge its passage and again want to congratulate, particularly, Mr. Pearce and Ms. Moore for their absolutely stellar work in this case. It would not have happened without their efforts.

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Students Invited to Enter 2015 Congressional Art Competition

2015/03/20

Washington, D.C. – The office of Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) is now accepting entries for the annual Congressional Art Competition.

Each spring, the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors An Artistic Discovery, a nationwide competition for high school students interested in the arts and looking for an opportunity to showcase their creativity. The annual contest recognizes and encourages artistic talent of young constituents across the nation, including those living in Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District.

The winner’s artwork is displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In addition, the winning prize includes travel to Washington with a guest for a reception, workshop and award presentation, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

All entries are accepted at one of Congressman Cole’s district offices or the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce by 5 p.m. on April 24, 2015. Those locations are listed below: 

Norman Office 2424 Springer Drive, Suite 201 (405) 329-6500

Lawton Office 711 SW D Avenue, Suite 201 (580) 357-2131

Ada Office 100 East 13th Street, Suite 213 (580) 436-5475

Ardmore Chamber of Commerce 410 West Main (580) 223-7765

The official entry form, contest rules and submission checklist are available here. For other questions about the competition, please contact Elizabeth Norrie at (405) 329-6500.

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Contact:  Elizabeth Norrie (405) 329-6500 Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Cole Statement on Introduction of House GOP Budget

2015/03/17

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Committee on the Budget, released the following statement after Chairman Tom Price led the committee in releasing “A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America.” The blueprint for fiscal year 2016 would balance the budget in less than 10 years, cut spending by $5.5 trillion, repeal Obamacare, reform entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid and present real solutions to grow the economy. 

“In households across the United States, many families already understand that getting out of debt and staying out of debt requires a budget,” said Cole. “Like the countless families who recognize the importance of setting spending limits and living within their means, Republican members of the House Budget Committee today recommended that the federal government follow the same example. Under the responsible plan unveiled today, I am pleased that the budget actually balances, reins in spending, repeals the president’s unworkable healthcare law and reforms entitlement programs. 

“With more than $18 trillion in debt that continues to grow, the hard decisions cannot be left for another day, month or year—even another president or Congress. In order to guarantee the American dream for our children and grandchildren in the years and decades ahead, we must acknowledge our grave situation and set out a course for economic recovery. The Republican budget reflects that commitment to future generations. 

“It is important to note, however, a budget is only a plan. It is not the law. Entitlement reform, tax reform and spending restraints will require bipartisan and bicameral negotiation and compromise. And the president will hardly be an innocent bystander in all this. This budget is an important step – but only a first step – in an ongoing journey that will have many twists, turns and surprises along the way,” concluded Cole. 

To read the plan announced today, click here ###

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

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

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Markwayne Mullin

OKLAHOMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Steve Russell

OKLAHOMA's 5th DISTRICT

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