Tom Cole

Tom Cole


Ready to Withstand


Without question, Oklahomans are no strangers to severe weather and the terrible destruction that can result from it. Past experiences in distant and more recent times have served as sobering reminders that we must be ready at a moment’s notice to face tornadoes and other unpredictable weather patterns. In Oklahoma, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ that time will come.

This month marks two years since storms devastated my hometown of Moore and other communities in the surrounding areas and state. Since that very difficult time, we have undergone successful recovery efforts and sought to rebuild homes and structures that are stronger than before and better suited to withstand similar disasters.

While Oklahomans have proven that their spirit will always remain strong, we cannot prevent storms from occurring and threatening to shake that spirit. Already this year, tornadoes and flash floods have returned and caused destruction in our communities, including parts of Moore again and also Bridge Creek located in the Fourth District.

When families are forced to pick up the broken pieces or even left with nothing, it is critical that their replacement homes are ready to withstand future disasters. Not only should the structures be sound and secure, but I believe that construction of safe room shelters can help provide much-needed peace of mind to Oklahomans who have suffered losses from severe weather.

Recently, I offered legislation that would help families rebuild stronger, disaster-ready homes that include safe rooms through disaster loans. Currently, the Small Business Administration (SBA) provides homeowners, renters and personal-property owners with low-interest loans to help recover from a disaster. To clarify that these SBA disaster loans can be used by homeowners for construction of safe rooms in rebuilt homes, I introduced the Tornado Family Safety Act. 

While we cannot know what the future holds with the weather, we can anticipate our response and prepare. In Oklahoma, that preparation should not only be a written plan but include having safe buildings and homes. 

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Ryan Neal named OK-04 Winner of Congressional Art Contest


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) congratulated this year’s Fourth District winner of the Congressional Art Competition. Ryan Neal is the son of Sandy Travis and Charles Neal, art student of Melissa Mayo and a 2015 graduate of Duncan High School. His winning artwork, Detailed Metal, is a detailed drawing created with Prisma colors and inspired by the latest Transformers movie. It will be displayed in the Cannon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol for a year. 

Earlier this spring, high school students from across the nation were invited to enter the competition through their respective congressional offices. Entries for the Fourth District were judged by Dr. Victor Youritzin, Professor of Art History at the University of Oklahoma. 

“Each time the House of Representatives hosts this national art contest, I am reminded that the Fourth District is home to many talented young artists,” said Cole. “I was very impressed with Ryan’s drawing and even more so when I learned that he spent a month working on it. The attention to detail is incredible and a sure testament to Ryan’s passion for drawing. I look forward to seeing his artwork displayed in our nation’s capital.”  

When asked about his choice of media for the winning piece, Neal explained, “I have always enjoyed drawing and really liked drawing with detail. I started off with just pencil and then used color. From there, it got better and better.”

"I am very proud of Ryan for his accomplishments this year,” said Mayo. “I have only been his AP Art teacher for two years, and he has grown so much as an artist, finding his artistic voice.”

Photo of the winning artwork is available for download and media use here


Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Cole Introduces Tornado Family Safety Act


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) introduced legislation this week that would help families rebuilding their homes after disasters. Currently, the Small Business Administration (SBA) provides homeowners, renters and personal-property owners with low-interest loans to help recover from a disaster. The Tornado Family Safety Act of 2015, introduced by Cole, clarifies that SBA disaster loans can be used by homeowners for construction of safe room shelters within rebuilt homes. 

This legislation underscores the type of projects that are eligible for these SBA disaster loans, which includes loans for construction of safe rooms. Under current law, SBA can increase the size of a home disaster loan up to 20 percent of the total damage to lessen the risk of property damage by future disasters of the same kind. 

“Oklahomans are no strangers to severe weather and the terrible destruction that can result from it,” said Cole. “Considering the yearly risk and unpredictability of tornadoes that exists, it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ it will occur. Two years ago this week, tornadoes tore through my hometown of Moore and other surrounding areas. Several days this month, storms have threatened and impacted other communities across the state, including Bridge Creek located in the Fourth District. In every instance, families have not only been shaken by the disaster but many are forced to pick up the pieces—sometimes from nothing—and rebuild. When this happens, it is critical that the replacement homes are ready to withstand future disasters, and I believe that construction of safe room shelters can help provide much-needed peace of mind to Oklahomans who have suffered losses from severe weather.”

Under guidelines from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the International Code Council (ICC), a safe room should withstand 250 mph winds and the impact of a 15-pound plank hitting a wall at 100 mph, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. Safe rooms designed to the FEMA and ICC standards are recommended for both tornadoes and hurricanes. For individual homes, a safe room could cost between $3,000 and $12,000. 


Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Cole welcomes Rep. Steve Russell (OK-05) to Cole on Congress show


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) recently filmed the latest episode of his television and web show,Cole on Congress. This month’s program featured an interview with Congressman Steve Russell (OK-05), who is the newest member of the state’s congressional delegation and a fifth generation Oklahoman. Currently in his first term in the U.S House of Representatives, Russell serves on three committees—Education and the Workforce, Government Oversight and Reform and Armed Services.

Russell is a proud veteran, whose service includes combat missions in Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. During the show, Russell spoke about his appointment to the House Armed Services Committee. Excerpts from that part of the conversation are below.

“It is an area where I feel some confidence that I can bring a background and a set of skills to help serve our nation again. So I’m very grateful to be on the House Armed Services Committee,” said Russell. 

“Military is very important in Oklahoma with our five military bases and with our aerospace industry—let alone our veteran community, which is proportionately higher than most states. Defense-related issues are important not only to what we do every day, but on deployments, Oklahomans feel it firsthand all the time. So it is vital that we make sure that we give them the best tools that they can possibly have.” 

To watch the full show, click here.


Contact:Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole)Daniel Susskind (202) 225-2132 (Russell)

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Chairman Roskam Unveils Bill to Create an Obamacare Special Inspector General


Washington, D.C. - Today, Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 2400, legislation to create a Special Inspector General for Monitoring the Affordable Care Act (SIGMA). The bill is supported by all Majority members of the Oversight Subcommittee and all key oversight subcommittee chairs, as well as a wide array of prominent conservative advocacy organizations. Companion legislation in the Senate has been introduced by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS).

“In the years since Democrats rammed Obamacare through Congress, our country has already seen the costly consequences of this law: billions of dollars wasted on a failed website and overpayments, millions of Americans kicked off their healthcare plans, and skyrocketing premiums for hardworking families and small businesses,” said Chairman Roskam. “Now, a pending Supreme Court decision threatens to upend the law—casting further uncertainty over the future of our entire healthcare system. We need assurance that—until Obamacare is repealed and replaced—there is rigorous oversight in place to prevent more taxpayer dollars from being squandered on this law. A SIGMA alone would have needed authority to oversee all federal agencies involved in implementing and administering Obamacare and protect the American people from its harmful effects. I want to thank my colleagues for their strong support of this measure to finally hold the Administration accountable for this broken law.”

“We need to do everything possible to repeal and replace Obamacare with real health reforms that lower costs and restore the all-important relationship between a patient and their doctor,” said Senator Roberts (R-KS). “However, as long as this law is on the books, we need a watchdog, namely a Special Inspector General, to investigate its implementation and ensure our taxpayer dollars are being spent within the letter of the law.”

“It’s clear Obamacare isn’t working, which is a predictable result of what happens when legislation is crafted behind closed doors and then forced through Congress with no bipartisan input or oversight,” said Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “Our bill will help to put in place an independent watchdog so that we can know how exactly this law is impacting Americans. Ultimately, Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with healthcare reform that is patient-centered and consumer-driven that decreases costs and increases access to quality care.”

“Since its inception, Obamacare has resulted in millions of Americans losing their health care plans, spiking premiums, and untold government waste through broken insurance exchanges run by unelected bureaucrats,” said Congressman Bill Flores (R-TX), Chairman of the Republican Study Committee. “The deeper we dig into Obamacare, the more problems we find. Establishing a Special Inspector General will increase transparency and hold the federal government accountable for its bureaucracy’s many failures. While the House works to repeal the president’s disastrous health care law, America’s families and taxpayers have a right to know the true cost of Obamacare’s waste and abuse.” 

“President Obama’s signature health care law was passed deceptively, under the cloak of secrecy and through backroom deals,” said Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules. “A Special Inspector General would be able to thoroughly review Obamacare and provide oversight of how it’s being implemented. Mandatory reports would ensure that Congress and more importantly the American people know exactly how their tax dollars are being spent through this unaffordable government takeover of the health insurance industry.”

“In both my legal career and service in congress, I have seen the effective use of Special Inspectors General to provide the necessary oversight and protection the American people demand and deserve of their government,” said Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. “Chairman Roskam’s SIGMA legislation is absolutely vital to gaining access to information about Obamacare’s performance, or lack thereof, while adding an independent set of eyes watching the law’s implementation until we can fully repeal it. I applaud the Chairman’s work and that of our colleagues who seek every avenue to protect the American people from Obamacare.”

“As expected when it was passed by Democrats and throughout implementation, the president’s healthcare law falls short of success for the majority of the American people,” said Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. “While I certainly support full repeal of Obamacare, I believe that Congressman Peter Roskam’s legislative efforts to improve oversight and accountability of the law through creation of an impartial inspector general makes sense. In the days ahead, I am hopeful that we can save taxpayer dollars and organize some of the chaos and confusion that has resulted from the president’s unworkable law.”

“Real health care reform delivers care patients need, at a price they can afford, from the doctor of their choosing,” said Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “Unfortunately, what has been forced on the American people accomplishes none of that and is laden with problems. The SIGMA Act is a critically needed oversight tool to bring fulltime accountability to the President’s failed law.”

“There is no question that Obamacare has already taken a toll on our economy—from forcing small businesses to cut employee hours to inflating healthcare costs for American families,” said Congressman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions. “Instituting a SIGMA would set up a robust oversight system to rein in the president’s health care law and I am proud to support this commonsense legislation.” 

“If there’s any government boondoggle that cries out for a special inspector general, it’s Obamacare. ATR is proud to support this bill,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).

“In order for Americans to fully understand the impacts of the ACA they should have a clear account of how this law that affects their lives, and we at AFP believe that this proposal goes above and beyond to achieve such oversight,” said Brent Garner, Vice President of Government Affairs for Americans for Prosperity (AFP). “When the government starts any new program oversight is expected, but when a government program takes over a fifth of the American economy, taxpayer dollars should have the highest level of protection.” 

“I applaud Chairman Roskam’s effort to create a Special Inspector General for Monitoring the Affordable Care Act (SIGMA),” said Tom Schatz, President of Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). “The Affordable Care Act has proven to be so complex and riddled with inefficiencies that a finely focused investigative operation should be created to uncover and expose waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.”

“Your legislation to create a Special Inspector General’s office for Obamacare is long overdue,” said David Williams, President of Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA). “TPA favors full repeal of Obamacare, but as long as it exists as law, it is important to have proper oversight for any government money being used to fund the program. TPA urges all members of the House to support your legislation creating an Obamacare Special Inspector General, so that taxpayers can have a full accounting of any expenditures related to this law in the past, present, and future.”

“Failed websites, legally questionable waivers, distribution of incorrect tax forms, overpayment of subsidies – these are just a few of the myriad reasons why we need greater oversight of Obamacare,” said Brandon Arnold, Executive Vice President of the National Taxpayers Union. “That’s why National Taxpayers Union is happy to endorse Congressman Peter Roskam’s SIGMA Act, which would help protect taxpayers from further waste, fraud and abuse by creating a Special Inspector General for Monitoring the Affordable Care Act.”

“It is extremely important for Congress to conduct oversight of the health overhaul law that mandates sweeping changes to one sixth of the U.S. economy, spends trillions of taxpayer dollars, and impacts the health care of virtually everyone in the United States,” said Grace-Marie Turner, President of The Galen Institute. “Congressman Roskam is to be commended for working to protect citizens by calling for a Special Inspector General to conduct audits about the ACA’s implementation and spending and to regularly report the findings to the Congress and the American people.  An independent special inspector general is needed because the Obama administration has demonstrated that it obscures and even hides information that Congress needs in order to make public policy decisions about the law and to make sure taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately."

“Your legislation is a critical step in helping end in the squandering of billions of taxpayer dollars due to waste, fraud and abuse through the creation of a Special Inspector General to provide financial oversight to Obamacare,” said Amy Noone Frederick, President of the 60 Plus Association. “Given the enormous complexity of the healthcare law, Congress has a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected and this legislation will help do just that.  The 60 Plus Association is proud to stand with you and whole-heartedly support the SIGMA Act of 2015.”

"Thank you for introducing legislation to provide increased oversight of the Affordable Care Act,” said Kevin Kuhlman, Director of Legislative Affairs for National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). “Small businesses have long been concerned about the law and its implementation, and requiring reports on all aspects of the law will help provide the transparency that small business owners and all taxpayers deserve from their government."

"ACA's disruptive impact on small businesses and all Americans must be investigated and measured,” said Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council). “Significant taxpayer resources have been expended on botched health insurance exchanges and's poor rollout, HHS missteps and bad decision-making in general.  An unbiased IG is needed to monitor how tax dollars have been spent, are being spent, and to further investigate the workings of this vast program. The SIGMA Act provides for the focused oversight and accountability that taxpayers deserve."


Link to original release Contact:  Michael Shapiro (202) 225-4561 (Roskam) Sarah Little (202) 224-4774 (Roberts)Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165 (Cole)

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All Eyes on Iran


Iran is a rogue state and very unlikely to be a dependable, reliable or honest negotiating partner. Over the last several months, all eyes have focused on the international negotiations to decide the nature of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. At the insistence of the Administration and despite warnings from our allies in the Middle East, these nuclear talks are expected to result in a deal that lifts sanctions and allows Iran to maintain much of its ability to enrich uranium. That means Iran would be only a few short steps away from creating a nuclear weapon whenever it chose to do so. 

Since 1984, Iran has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a sponsor of terrorism around the world. The president has always acknowledged that designation, but oddly enough, it hasn’t shaken his determination to reach a historic deal with this dangerous country. On occasion, President Obama has voiced agreement with lawmakers who are outspoken in their distrust of Iran. But he still seems to think that the deal currently being negotiated will keep Iran in check. That is a dangerous delusion. 

Allowing Iran to become a nuclear capable state sets a terrible precedent for other nations in the region. Not only will it alarm and endanger Iran’s neighbors, it could easily lead to a regional nuclear arms race as well. In fact, Saudi Arabia recently announced that if Iran is allowed to continue moving forward with its nuclear program, it intends to match Iran, move for move. This is not a recipe for stability or peace in the Middle East.

Thanks to their concern about the president’s Iranian policies, several top Sunni leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council declined to attend a summit hosted by President Obama at Camp David. While the countries sent representatives, the rulers from four of the six invited Persian Gulf Arab nations declined the invitation to meet personally with President Obama. This was clearly meant to convey their concern over the president’s pursuit of the Iranian nuclear negotiation. 

Rather than risk a bad Iranian deal and remove sanctions, it would be better to walk away now. As things currently stand, there are too many questions about the terms of the agreement. While the president has tried to reassure the American public that sanctions would be immediately re-imposed if Iran doesn’t abide by the agreement, Russia’s UN Ambassador recently said it wouldn’t be that simple or certain. Members of the UN Security Council would have to turn the sanctions back on together—meaning the president has to count on a consensus with many countries including Russia and China.

Congress continues to weigh in on the Iranian negotiations and demand the president seek its guidance and approval. Most recently, lawmakers voted in support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which requires that any deal come to Congress for review before sanctions are lifted. During the 30 day period of review, the legislation allows lawmakers to either approve or disapprove the deal and keeps congressional sanctions on Iran in place. 

America must heed obvious warnings and past precedents in our dealings with other countries. I hope that the president will remember that in the fight against terror, it’s always better to stand with our known friends than rely on the word of suspected and known enemies. If America is not strong in its leadership and faithful to its friends, it will find itself isolated and distrusted in a dangerous world. 

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Cole Supports National Defense Authorization Act for FY16


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2016. The bill authorizes funding for our nation’s military personnel, readiness and operations. In accordance with the FY16 joint budget resolution, the authorization for national defense is $611.8 billion with $89.3 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).

Each year, the passage of NDAA ensures that the military is trained and equipped with the best resources to defend the United States. In this year’s bill, that includes equipment and cyber technology updates to adequately monitor and respond to threats wherever they arise. In addition, the legislation rescinds executive authority for unilateral transfer of terrorists, provides aid to Ukraine for combating Russian aggression and offers assistance to Middle Eastern allies for stopping the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

As recommended by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, the bill includes modernization of benefits and retirement options available to military and their families. Starting in 2017, this version of NDAA sets up a retirement plan for more than 83 percent of service members through a Thrift Savings Plan. 

Cole sponsored, cosponsored or supported a number of amendments included in the final bill that benefit Oklahoma. In particular, he championed specific amendments to ensure current and future sustainment and maintenance work continues at Tinker Air Force Base. 

“I am pleased that the House has renewed our commitment to a strong national defense through passage of the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Cole. “As our military service members, veterans, military retirees and their families know all too well, the safety and sense of security felt by most Americans doesn’t come without a price. It requires a robust military, equipped with the best, most up-to-date resources to answer threats both at home and abroad.

“America’s military strength and ability to project power is critical to our nation’s safety and sense of security, especially in a day and age when threats continue to arise. Whether it’s a terrorist group in the Middle East threatening our allies in the region or Russia bullying our friends in Ukraine, there are very real problems around the world that require American resolve. At a moment’s notice, we must stand by our friends and strike our enemies, and we cannot do that without a strong military. 

“Just as our military service members answer the call to defend the United States, so too should Americans always prioritize the funding they need to be successful. Inadequate funding is out of the question.”

Along with members of the Oklahoma and Kansas delegation, Cole joined in support of an amendment led by Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) that ensures military readiness precedes the needs of an animal species like the Lesser Prairie Chicken and the American Burying Beetle. According to current law, when a military base is within range of these species, it must consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to ensure development or expansion projects or training exercises do not disrupt their habitat.   

“While it is important to take care of the world around us, the regulations currently imposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the Lesser Prairie Chicken and American Burying Beetle are unnecessary. It is outrageous to slow the important development and training of our troops in order to comply with outdated bureaucratic regulations,” concluded Cole. 


Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165

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Showing Appreciation for our Military


Tried and true devotion to the United States is never more evident than through the lives of our military service members, veterans and their families. Since our nation’s beginnings, countless men and women have selflessly answered the call of duty and in so doing pledged to relentlessly defend liberty and protect our homeland. These brave individuals truly understand the meaning of patriotism and know more of sacrifice than many of us will realize in a lifetime. 

Because of the bravery, courage and commitment of our military, we are privileged to wake up each and every day feeling safe. But too often, we forget that this sense of security doesn’t come without a price. That sacrifice extends beyond those serving in combat. 

When service members are deployed overseas or gone for long stints for training, that means time away from their spouses, children or other loved ones. During this absence, those left at home desperately need the support and love of their friends and neighbors. But that support system is especially critical when service members return home from war forever changed or don’t return at all. 

During Military Appreciation Month throughout May, we remember the sacrifices of our military and their families. We acknowledge those currently serving, honor all those who have served and we remain committed to providing them with the best resources.   

This week in the U.S. House of Representatives, lawmakers will consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding for our nation’s military personnel, readiness and operations. With the passage of NDAA each year, our military remains robust and equipped with the best resources. I am pleased that consideration will begin on the House floor this week.     

Certainly, it is because of those who are ready and willing to serve and sacrifice for the common good that we continue to be the greatest nation on earth. That status is maintained because of those who volunteered to protect our nation and the families who stand beside them. Their daily and lifelong sacrifice must not be in vain.

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American Prosperity Depends on Main Street


After three full weeks of legislative business in Washington, it’s refreshing to be back in Oklahoma just in time for Small Business Week. Throughout my service to the Fourth District, I’ve had the great privilege of meeting numerous individuals who either own or work for a small business. During every visit and after every story I hear, I am reminded that American prosperity rides on the success of Main Street. 

Whether as an owner, employee or consumer, Americans depend greatly on the success of small businesses. Owners work hard to make a profit in order to create more jobs. Families rely on income earned at a small business. All the while, customers get to shop the marketplace of products and services of seemingly unending possibilities.   

However, as many Oklahomans know far too well, those working on Main Street are often met with excessive regulatory and tax barriers that choke innovation and discourage job creation. Too often, these regulations create a barrier to entrepreneurs from entering the marketplace in the first place. That not only shatters the American Dream for a would-be entrepreneur and prevents the introduction of products and services, but it discourages the creation of jobs that would have lifted other hardworking Americans as well.

According to the United States Small Business Administration, an estimated seven out of 10 new jobs in the economy are created by small businesses. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce recorded 332,998 small businesses in Oklahoma that employed 673,373 people. Those statistics alone should motivate the government to step out of the way and help small businesses thrive. 

This year, the U.S. House of Representatives has already voted on legislation that would help Main Street. In the days ahead, I remain committed to supporting similar reforms that encourage small businesses to remain and help aspiring owners or entrepreneurs pursue an idea with fewer barriers. 

As we celebrate small businesses this week, I invite you to stop by your favorite and thank them for helping keep America great.

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Funding Bill Encourages Energy Independence


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2028, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2016. With $35.4 billion in total discretionary spending, the legislation provides funding for critical water infrastructure projects and maintenance. It also strengthens and protects America’s nuclear capability and recommends better usage and development of the nation’s resources to encourage energy independence. 

“Especially in light of mounting threats abroad, often in countries from which the United States depends on oil exports, I am pleased that the legislation passed today points us in the direction of energy independence,” said Cole. “In addition, the bill prioritizes the nation’s security by protecting and maintaining our nuclear capability. Further still, it funds important water infrastructure projects to facilitate commerce. Today’s vote is truly a win for the American people because it seeks to ensure the nation’s security and competitive strength.”


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

Committee Assignments




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

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

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

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

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

Tom Cole has a significant background of service to his home state of Oklahoma. He has served as the State Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, District Director to former Congressman Mickey Edwards, a member of the Oklahoma State Senate and as Oklahoma’s Secretary of State. In this capacity he served as former Governor Frank Keating’s chief legislative strategist and liaison to the state’s federal delegation. Keating tapped Cole to lead Oklahoma’s successful effort to secure federal funds to assist in the rebuilding of Oklahoma City in the wake of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19,1995.

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

Cole is a founding partner and past president of CHS & Associates, a nationally recognized political consulting and survey research firm based in Oklahoma City. The firm has been named one of the top 20 in its field and has literally dozens of past and current clients scattered across the country.

A former college instructor in history and politics, Cole holds a B.A. from Grinnell College, an M.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Cole has been a Thomas Watson Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow at the University of London. He serves on the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents, as well as the national board of the Fulbright Association. He is also a member of the Congressional Advisory Board to the Aspen Institute.

Tom Cole is a fifth generation Oklahoman and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. He is currently one of the only Native Americans serving in Congress. He was awarded the Congressional Leadership award by the National Congress of American Indians in 2007 and 2011 and was inducted in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame in 2004. Cole’s late mother, Helen, is also a member of the Chickasaw Hall of Fame and served as a state representative, state senator and the Mayor of Moore in her native state of Oklahoma. Cole’s late father, John, served 20 years in the United States Air Force and worked an additional two decades as a civilian federal employee at Tinker Air Force Base.

Tom and his wife, Ellen, have one son, Mason, and reside in Moore, Oklahoma.

Serving With

Jim Bridenstine


Markwayne Mullin


Frank Lucas


Steve Russell


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