Tom Cole

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

Time Doesn’t Change the Past

2014/12/22

Certainly, we always celebrate the safe return of one of our own. Especially before the holidays, we understand the relief felt by the family, friends and loved ones of Alan Gross, the U.S. citizen who was held captive in Cuba for five years after entering the country as a contractor. On the same day as the release of Gross last week, the Obama Administration announced a plan to “normalize relations” with the corrupt Castro regime responsible for the imprisonment. The steps ahead include efforts to re-establish diplomatic relations and open commerce by lifting sanctions. While the president insisted that Gross was released for humanitarian reasons, it appears that the policy change unveiled last week is yet another prisoner exchange slanted heavily in favor of a known enemy. 

The United States has always shown strength against terrorism and commitment to combating threats around the world. Since 1982, Cuba has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism. This has guided America’s distant, rightly-cautious relationship with Cuba. Now more than three decades after Cuba was first recognized as a terrorist sponsor, it appears that the president has forgotten the danger or naively supposed that time equals a changed regime. Apparently some in his administration don’t remember what caused our limited relationship with Cuba in the first place. Regardless, the reality is that Cuba is still led by the same family that mistreats and oppresses its own citizens and associates with other corrupt governments.

Without question, Americans feel for the Cuban people, who hunger for a return to democracy and are desperate to taste the sort of freedom we often take for granted. Over the years, many Cubans have embarked on journeys to flee oppression and live freely in America—revealing the true state of the country and the dangers posed by Communism. Certainly, the oppression they experience on a daily basis at the hands of their own government is unacceptable. Americans should want to break that bondage and prepare the pathway for the Cuban people to build their own free society. Unfortunately, this policy change doesn’t help the Cuban people; it further imprisons them to an oppressive government.

The timing of the Obama Administration seeking to normalize and rebuild diplomatic relationships with Cuba hardly makes sense. Like his brother, Cuba’s current dictator Raul Castro maintains close relationships with some of America’s worst and most dangerous enemies. Since the country is located just 90 miles off the coast of Florida, the possibility of harm at our own shores is uncomfortably close. Instead of being discouraged or forced to feel consequences, the intentions of the Castro regime are further emboldened and will likely empower other enemies of the United States to test a similar course of action.   

Time doesn’t change the past or the intentions of the same Cuban dictatorship. I am very disappointed that the president believes he can reason with a nation ruled by a corrupt dictator. In the process, he is setting a dangerous precedent that welcomes future negotiations with our proven enemies that are of little benefit to the United States.

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Cole Statement on President’s Policy toward Cuba

2014/12/18

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, issued the following statement after President Barack Obama announced steps to “normalize relations” between the United States and Cuba. This policy change comes after Alan Gross, an American contractor who was held captive in Cuba for five years, was released today. In light of this prisoner exchange, the Administration announced that steps ahead will include efforts to re-establish diplomatic relations and open commerce by lifting sanctions. 

“I am very disappointed that the president believes he can reason with a nation ruled by a corrupt dictator,” said Cole. “Time doesn’t change the past or the intentions of the Castro regime, which is set in its Communist ways and now further emboldened to continue mistreating its own people. Unless and until that nation shows promise of embracing democratic ideals and Communism is overthrown, it is dangerous and foolish to place trust in a country that has been designated by the State Department as a sponsor of terrorism. 

“Certainly, we always celebrate the safe return of one of our own. Especially before the holidays, I can only imagine the relief felt by the family of Alan Gross, who was held captive in Cuba for five years. Unfortunately, the president has once again negotiated with known enemies of America and set a dangerous precedent in the process.”

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Op-Ed in Red Alert Politics: Government Can Function

2014/12/17

Red Alert Politics - Congressman Tom Cole

Even though many would prefer to forget, last week was a reminder of the painful government shutdown during October of last year. As we recall, that situation dragged on for too long and caused the American people to question the ability of lawmakers to do what they were elected to do. However, when both sides came to the table, they were able to find common ground that restored hope of a government that can function and serve the best interests of the nation.

This hope was restored last December through the Bipartisan Budget Act, unveiled and negotiated by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray. Providing top-line budget numbers for two fiscal years, the agreement provided a much-needed guide to appropriators to fund for the long-term, rather than rely on short-term continuing resolutions.

With the topline number already agreed upon in the Ryan-Murray agreement, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers and Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski wasted no time in working out differences for funding the government in fiscal year 2015. After months of tough negotiations, the leadership announced a bipartisan, bicameral agreement last week that reconciled the inevitable differences and conflicting priorities that are present in divided government. Most importantly, this “omnibus” funding bill demonstrated that bipartisanship can work and that shutdown is still not the answer.

While the agreement isn’t perfect, I do believe it is the best solution to be expected in the midst of divided government, and it still reflects conservative priorities. The omnibus includes full funding for 11 of the 12 regular appropriations bills through end of the fiscal year. The Homeland Security appropriations bill, however, is funded at current levels under a temporary continuing resolution set to expire at the end of February.

By limiting the funding to Homeland Security through February, the incoming Republican majority will have the opportunity to address the president’s executive overreach related to immigration. While the president announced last month that he will grant legal status to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants, the Administration isn’t expected to implement that plan until the spring. This buys time for the Republican-led Congress to address his overreach.

The omnibus achieves much-needed changes to both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Not only did the IRS lose more of its funding, but the language prohibited the IRS from targeting groups for scrutiny based on their political beliefs. Changes to the EPA sought to rein in some of the regulatory overreach that has prevented utilization of our own natural resources. With a rich supply of oil and natural gas present in our nation, domestic production of these resources should be encouraged rather than hindered. EPA staffing reductions helps prevent excessive regulations and provides promise of a pathway to energy independence.

Along with limited and reduced funding across various areas of government, the omnibus also redirects savings to fund important programs that all Americans can agree are worthwhile. For example, a piece of legislation that I co-authored with Congressman Gregg Harper and that was signed into law by the president earlier this year took effect. The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act takes money previously spent on political party conventions and instead funds valuable pediatric disease research.

The omnibus also shows commitment to our military and national security. Not only does it fully fund our military, but the legislation acknowledges the need to deal with immediate and very real threats in our midst, including the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the growing terrorist threat posed by ISIL in the Middle East.

In what were some of the remaining days of the 113th Congress, I am pleased lawmakers fulfilled their responsibility of funding our government. By putting partisan differences aside, it proved again that we can work together and lead in divided government. It also showed the American people that their government can work.Rep. Tom Cole, a member of House Appropriations Committee, represents Oklahoma's Fourth Congressional District.

Online: Red Alert Politics

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Swearing-in of the 114th Congress

2014/12/16

On January 6, 2015, tune in online to watch members of the 114th Congress be sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives: http://www.houselive.gov

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Finding Common Ground Priorities

2014/12/15

Just more than a year ago, members on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress unveiled a two-year bipartisan budget deal. When the announcement was made by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray that a deal had been reached, it proved that, despite inevitable differences and even conflicting priorities, we can work together and lead in divided government. 

With another government shutdown looming last week, I am pleased that lawmakers were again able to put partisan differences aside and ultimately come together to vote on legislation that fully funds the government and reflects the best interests of the American people. After months of negotiations between leadership in the House and Senate to reconcile differences on funding legislation for fiscal year 2015, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers and Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski announced a similar agreement to responsibly fund the government, using the terms set out in the Bipartisan Budget Act. 

Called an “omnibus,” this bipartisan, bicameral agreement passed the House chamber on Thursday evening and included full funding for 11 of the 12 regular appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year. The Homeland Security appropriations bill, however, is instead funded at current levels under a temporary continuing resolution set to expire on February 27, 2015. While the president announced toward the end of November that he will grant legal status to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants, the Administration isn’t expected to implement that plan until the spring of 2015. This provides the opportunity for the incoming Republican majority in the 114th Congress to address the president’s overreach.  

While the negotiations were certainly tough, I believe that the omnibus reflects common sense and conservative priorities. For example, it includes cuts to both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, the omnibus brings EPA staffing to its lowest level since 1989. Another win for conservative values includes provisions that maintain historic pro-life provisions and language requiring Obamacare plans to disclose whether or not abortion services are provided.  

Along with some necessary cuts to various areas of government, the omnibus also redirects savings to fund important programs, including money previously spent on political party conventions. In light of the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which I co-authored with my colleague Gregg Harper and that was signed into law by the president earlier this year, those inefficiently-used taxpayer dollars, $12.6 million laid out in the omnibus, will now go toward funding valuable pediatric disease research. 

Of great importance to the Fourth District of Oklahoma and following recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, I am pleased that the omnibus fully funds our military and prevents the Administration’s recommended deactivation of seven AWACS aircraft stationed at Tinker Air Force Base. Such a move by the Administration would significantly impact the readiness and ability of our Armed Forces to combat current and future conflicts. Also addressed in the military funding, the omnibus acknowledges the need to maintain our national security by dealing with threats that currently include the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the growing terrorist threat posed by ISIL in the Middle East.

While the agreement isn’t perfect, I do believe this is the best solution that provides much-needed certainty to the American people. Most importantly, passage of the omnibus prevented another painful government shutdown that would put partisan differences ahead of the best interests of the American people.  

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Cole Supports Bipartisan, Bicameral Omnibus to Avoid Government Shutdown

2014/12/12

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015. Using the topline number and terms set in the Ryan-Murray budget agreement, the omnibus legislation fully funds the government at $1.013 trillion and prevents another government shutdown. 

This omnibus spending bill includes full funding for 11 of the 12 regular appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year. The Homeland Security appropriations bill is funded under a temporary continuing resolution until February 27, 2015, to allow the incoming Republican majority of Congress to address the president’s executive overreach and prevent his plan of granting executive amnesty to illegal immigrants before that plan is implemented. 

“Today’s vote is the result of a bipartisan, bicameral negotiation,” said Cole. “While it has been a tough negotiation, the omnibus reflects common sense and conservative priorities. It also gives the incoming Republican majority the opportunity to address President Obama’s executive overreach related to immigration. Most importantly, passage of the omnibus prevents another government shutdown that would put partisan differences ahead of the best interests of the American people. 

“Especially after the IRS scandal that revealed unfair targeting of conservative groups, I am pleased that the omnibus cuts funds directed there. Since 2010, the IRS budget has been reduced by more than $1.2 billion, and this legislation cuts $345 million. In the same vein, this legislation decreases EPA funding for the fifth consecutive year, bringing staffing to its lowest level since 1989. 

“In addition to maintaining historic pro-life provisions, the omnibus also requires Obamacare plans to disclose whether or not abortion services are provided.  

“Along with necessary cuts to various areas of government, the omnibus also redirected savings to fund important programs. I am especially pleased that it includes funds for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which I co-authored with my colleague Congressman Gregg Harper and that was signed into law by President Barack Obama earlier this year. Funded at $12.6 million in the omnibus, this money previously spent on political party conventions will instead go toward valuable pediatric disease research. 

“After passage of the National Defense Authorization Act last week, which authorized funding for our military, I am pleased that the funding carried over in the legislation passed today. Of great importance to the Fourth District of Oklahoma, the omnibus prevents the Administration’s recommended deactivation of seven AWACS stationed at Tinker Air Force Base—a move that would significantly impact the readiness and ability of our Armed Forces to combat current and future conflicts. It also addresses critical readiness gaps for aircraft depot maintenance caused by sequestration and repeated resource cuts by diverting funds from lower priority items.  

“The omnibus also addresses the need to maintain our national security by dealing with very real threats, including funds to help with the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and combat the growing terrorist threat posed by ISIL in the Middle East. 

“While this agreement isn’t perfect, I do believe this is best solution before we are joined by a Republican-led Congress in January. It funds the most important areas of government through 11 regular appropriations bills, but it also provides an opportunity for Republicans to address the president’s executive overreach before his plan to provide legal status to thousands of illegal immigrants is implemented,” concluded Cole.  

To watch Congressman Cole’s remarks during the Rules Committee hearing on Wednesday evening, click here.

To watch Congressman Cole’s opening remarks while managing the rule on the legislation, click here.

For detailed information about items contained in the legislation, click here

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Cole Manages Rule for Omnibus Spending Bill

2014/12/11

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) managed the rule on the House floor for H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015, and delivered the following opening remarks:

Mr. Speaker, yesterday  the Rules Committee met and reported a rule for consideration of Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. The resolution makes in order a motion offered by the chair of the Committee on Appropriations that the House concur in the Senate amendment to H.R. 83 with an amendment consisting of the text of the FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The rule provides 80 minutes of debate, 60 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the Committee on Appropriations and 20 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. In addition, the rule provides the chair of the Committee on Appropriations the authority to insert any explanatory information. Finally, the rule provides same day authority through December 12, as is customary at the end of the session.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present to this House the culmination of the Appropriations Committee’s work for fiscal year 2015. In this legislation, 11 of the 12 appropriations bills are fully conferenced and fully funded through the end of the fiscal year; however, the Homeland Security bill is funded under a temporary continuing resolution until February 27, 2015.

Mr. Speaker, I carried the initial rule for consideration of the first two appropriations bills considered in the House back on April 30, 2014. And I believe the record of the House and the House Appropriations Committee has been good. We considered 7 out of the 12 appropriations bills on the floor, under an open process, considered 11 of 12 appropriations bills in Committee. Contrast that to the Senate, which was unable to consider even a single appropriations bill on the floor. 

So I am proud Mr. Speaker of the work we have been able to accomplish. The omnibus legislation abides by all the terms set in the Ryan-Murray budget agreement, providing a top line funding level of $1.013 trillion. But at the same time, this legislation contains important policy provisions that prevent government from reaching into the lives of ordinary citizens, like preventing the Army Corps of Engineers from regulating farm ponds and irrigation ditches to regulating the lead content in ammunition or fishing tackle. It maintains historic pro-life provisions, and includes new ones, like requiring Obamacare plans to disclose whether they provide abortion services, and countless others.

At the same time, this omnibus enacts important common sense priorities on the direction of this government. It cuts funding for the IRS by over $345 million. Indeed, the IRS has been cut by more than $1.2 billion since 2010. It prohibits the IRS from targeting groups for scrutiny based on their political beliefs. It cuts EPA funding for the fifth consecutive year, bringing staffing to the lowest level since 1989. It implements a government-wide prohibition on the painting of portraits. It makes common sense decisions, like prohibiting funding for inappropriate videos or conferences that shouldn’t be funded by taxpayers in times of surplus—much less in times of deficit.

But this legislation doesn’t just cut funding from programs. It takes those cuts and reallocates them to programs that are truly in need. For example, it provides $30 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase over FY 14, enhancing funding for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and brain research. It funds the Gabriella Miller Kids First Act, a bill I authored with Gregg Harper and Eric Cantor, at $12.6 million, shifting these dollars from funding political conventions to research into pediatric diseases. It increases the healthcare and educational funding to some of our poorest and most needy constituents, Native Americans. And it provides funding to deal with crises like those associated with the outbreak of Ebola or the militant activity of ISIL.

I could go on and on with all the good things included in this bill; however, I am sure others will speak on those. I believe it is important to take stock in where we have come over the last four years. We have taken an annual budget deficit of $1.4 trillion and lowered it to $486 billion. Still too high but one of the most rapid, if not the most rapid decline, of deficits in American history. 

We have prevented additional burdens and regulations from being foist upon the American people. Our work is certainly not done; however, one must remember that appropriations and appropriating is a process. The bureaucratic welfare state built by decades of Democratic control cannot be dismantled in a single blow; however, it can be reduced piece by piece. This legislation does just that.

Some of my friends will raise objections to the process, where we are left with a frustrating choice between passage of a large, omnibus bill to fund all of government or a government shutdown. To my friends, I say that I agree with you, as do my fellow members of the Appropriations Committee. There are some things in this bill I disagree with and some certainly that I agree with. But I do agree that under regular order those with a different point of view should be able to make their case to the entire House. The House has led by example in this regard. We considered 7 different appropriations bills on this floor, in an open amendment process which passed with bipartisan majorities. And the House would have considered even more appropriations bills had the Senate been willing to consider even a single appropriations bill on the floor. In fact, the last time the Senate passed an individual appropriations bill was November 1st, 2011, more than three years ago. 

Mr. Speaker, this isn’t the way to govern. I hope that in the next Congress the House will have a partner in the Senate which is willing to consider individual appropriations bills, in an open process, so that we do not have to consider large, omnibus packages without the opportunity for amendment. I believe we will, and believe we will end up with a better product because of it.

I am encouraged by the work of my friend Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Nita Lowey and look forward to working with them and a new Senate next year to build upon the work we have done this year. I urge support for the rule and the underlying legislation. 

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Congress Can Work Together

2014/12/08

Since our nation’s founding, we have been a nation of ideas, including common beliefs held by the vast majority of Americans but also stark differences. Especially in government, there will always be a number of issues that tend to divide us rather than unite us. But instead of focusing on the things capable of tearing us apart, it is important that we work together when and where there is common ground. 

I am pleased that last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle showed that they can unite for the good of the entire country. As members considered and voted on legislation, there were items that showed a shared commitment to getting things done. That’s how government should operate, especially when it is a divided government.

On Wednesday, the House considered and voted on H.R. 647, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. Using the same idea of college saving funds, this legislation helps families of disabled children also plan for the future. It does so by giving states the option of establishing an ABLE program, in which families can put pre-taxed money away in ABLE accounts that operate similar to a Roth IRA. This allows money to grow and be used for future disability expenses without the penalty of taxes when the money is taken out. 

The House also acted with strong bipartisanship to pass vital legislation that authorizes funds for our military personnel, readiness and operations. On Thursday, the House passed the negotiated agreement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) between the House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee. Without question, maintaining the strength of our military deserves our utmost attention and support, and I am glad that the House again showed its commitment to giving the military the resources needed both at home and abroad. 

Very important to Tinker Air Force Base in the Fourth District, I am pleased that the defense bill included funding for several vital aviation programs including AWACS, C-130 and A-10. Earlier this year, the Administration recommended the deactivation of seven AWACS aircraft stationed at Tinker used for both wartime and peace missions. Such reductions to the size and capability of the AWACS fleet would significantly impact our Armed Forces in future conflict and make it more difficult to combat enemies. 

With budget constraints in place across areas of government, I hope that the Department of Defense will manage future budgets carefully and weigh all competing variables when making readiness and workforce decisions going forward. Passage of this bicameral, bipartisan legislation provides hope that we will continue to prioritize our dedicated military personnel and authorize the funding needed to strengthen our national security.

As we continue to consider legislation in the remaining days of the 113th Congress and as we begin the 114th Congress with a fresh majority, I remain optimistic that we will find common ground with each other.

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The Oklahoman: U.S. House sends on defense bill protecting AWACS at Tinker Air Force Base

2014/12/05

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

The U.S. House easily passed a $585 billion defense bill on Thursday that protects Tinker Air Force Base from some of the Pentagon’s proposed cuts and promises more money for the huge maintenance depot there.

The bill passed 300-119, with all five of Oklahoma’s U.S. House members in favor. It now heads to the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, of Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, negotiated the final version of the bill and strongly supports it.

But Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, has vowed to use all procedural means at his disposal to stall final passage because of his objections to a package of federal land acquisitions that was added by top congressional leaders to the defense bill.

Still, the measure, which sets Pentagon policy for the next year, is expected to clear before Congress leaves for Christmas.

Pay raises

Most active duty troops would get a 1 percent pay raise under the legislation, though there are small cuts to commissary and housing subsidies.

Inhofe prevented the Pentagon from deactivating — at least for a year — seven of the 27 AWACS planes at Tinker and a Reserve unit associated with them.

He also inserted language pressing the Air Force to continue a C-130 modernization program managed by Boeing in Oklahoma City.

And he helped boost the authorized funding for aircraft maintenance by $666 million, some of which should flow to the repair depot at Tinker.

Bill is praised

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Tinker and Fort Sill, the U.S. Army post in Lawton, praised the legislation, saying that it shows bipartisan commitment “to giving our military the resources they need both at home and abroad.”

Cole, a key member of the panel that approves military spending, secured money in July to pay for the full fleet of AWACS, command-and-control planes that have been based at Tinker for decades.

Cole said the increase for aircraft maintenance addressed a critical need caused by the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. The money was diverted from lower priority items, he said.

The final version did not include a provision Cole authored that would have shielded much of Tinker’s civilian workforce from any future furlough. Many of those who maintain aircraft are paid out of a separate fund that is not dependent on annual congressional appropriations.

Last year, Defense Department officials decided to make them part of the furlough caused by sequestration, despite the fact that it didn’t save any money for them not to be working.

“Such a practice only delays delivery times of aircraft and raises rates, costing the taxpayer and reducing military readiness,” Cole said Thursday.

Online: The Oklahoman

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Cole Supports FY15 NDAA Agreement

2014/12/04

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 3979, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. This legislation is the negotiated agreement between the House Armed Services Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, reconciling two separate pieces of legislation passed in May in both chambers.

“Today, the House acted with strong bipartisanship to pass vital legislation that authorizes funds for our military personnel, readiness and operations,” said Cole. “Without question, maintaining the strength of our military deserves our utmost attention and support, and the negotiated NDAA agreement passed today demonstrates our joint commitment to giving our military the resources they need both at home and abroad. 

“The NDAA further addresses critical readiness gaps associated with an increase of $666.2 million for aircraft depot maintenance caused by sequestration and repeated resource cuts. The increase was achieved by diverting funds from lower priority items. 

“But very important to Tinker Air Force Base in the Fourth District, I am pleased that the legislation includes funding for several vital aviation programs including AWACS, C-130 and A-10. Earlier this year, the Administration recommended the deactivation of seven AWACS stationed at Tinker. Such reductions to the size and capability of the AWACS fleet would significantly impact our Armed Forces in future conflict. 

“I was disappointed that a provision I had included in the House version of the bill was not carried in the final bill that would have prevented working capital fund (WCF) employees from any future furloughs. I remain concerned about the negative effect furloughs of WCF employees have on military employees when monies and workload are available. Such a practice only delays delivery times of aircraft and raises rates, costing the taxpayer and reducing military readiness. 

“With budget constraints in place, I hope that the Department of Defense will manage future budgets carefully and weigh all competing variables when making readiness and workforce decisions going forward. However, I remain concerned that if resource trends are not reversed soon, any tentative gains in these accounts will be diminished or eliminated. 

“As we face mounting threats to our national security in the months and years ahead, I hope that we continue to work together to authorize funding to combat our enemies by providing adequate resources to our dedicated military personnel,” concluded Cole. 

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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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