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One of the greatest aspirations we have in this nation is the concept of the “American Dream.” The idea that any person, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or religion can achieve prosperity, happiness and success has always been a bedrock principle of our national experience. Achieving the American Dream generally relies upon individual initiative, so the best way the government can assist in the pursuit is to get out of the way.
Unfortunately, within the past decade our nation has been crippled by an administration that has created more barriers than opportunities when it comes to the American Dream. Conversely, Congressional Republicans are developing new strategies to support and encourage American prosperity and to bring the achievement of the American Dream closer to every citizen of the nation.
Just last week, the White House released its report on projected job and economic growth for the next year, and the results were dismal. The February report projected growth in the GDP to be 2.6 percent in both 2016 and 2017. The revised projections are 1.9 percent in 2016 and 2.5 percent in 2017. Investor’s Business Daily described these new projections as “a disaster” and stated that many middle class families will struggle to secure jobs and face the possibility of poverty.
Every American should have the opportunity to work and to reap the rewards of their labor. Unfortunately, more and more Americans are finding themselves unable to find gainful employment and are instead relying more and more on government assistance. This unfortunate cycle of poverty and dependence prevents families and individuals from even pursuing, let alone achieving, the American Dream.
Fortunately, Speaker Ryan and Congressional Republicans have developed a plan to help Americans who are struggling to get out of poverty and back on track in the work force. Known as the “Better Way” agenda, this plan makes sure that federal assistance programs will be a hand-up rather than a hand-out, and they should be evaluated by how much they help rather than how much they spend. By helping people move from welfare to work we restore dignity to individuals and families while simultaneously saving the taxpayers money. This is a worthy and honorable objective.
No citizen of this great nation is owed the American Dream — only the opportunity to pursue it. But the government should not put in place unnecessary barriers to the Dream, nor should it continue programs that are ostensibly intended to help people escape poverty, but instead ensnare them in a vicious cycle dependence. When we endeavor to help our fellow citizens, we should focus on creating opportunity which will, in turn, lead to prosperity.
U.S. REP. TOM COLE, R-Moore, represents Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District.
Read the full op-ed: http://www.edmondsun.com/opinion/cole-restoring-the-american-dream/article_abcf9cca-538c-11e6-aac5-031d73fec611.html
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Now we're going to hear from Representative Tom Cole, the Oklahoma Republican. Congressman Cole is a senior member of the House. He was long a member of the House GOP leadership. He is a political consultant by trade and a straight shooter by reputation. Thanks for joining us.
TOM COLE: Thank you. What a kind induction.
SIEGEL: I want to ask you about a tone that is in evidence at this convention. Last night Chris Christie was playing the role of the prosecutor and reading a rhetorical indictment of Hillary Clinton one charge after another, charges of lying or getting this or that wrong in office. And the crowd was chanting this.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Lock her up. Lock her up.
SIEGEL: They were chanting, lock her up. And I'm just curious. Does that strike you as perhaps a bit over the top for...
COLE: Well, I always expect political conventions to be over the top. I think we'll certainly see next week some pretty extreme rhetoric from the Democrats as well. So you know, I think it's just something somebody got started, wasn't orchestrated.
SIEGEL: But it's not clear how figurative this is, actually. Christie is mentioned as a possible attorney general. He was asked about it, and he said she should be convicted.
SIEGEL: Donald Trump has said she should be in jail. Are we hearing a political party saying the other party's candidate should be, you know, put on trial as soon as they can?
COLE: It sounds somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 percent of the American public thinks she should have been indicted, so I'm not surprised that people use that kind of rhetoric because most Republicans and many independents think she did break the law.
SIEGEL: Let me run past you something that a lot of people have said apropos of the Melania speech controversy which has now been explained. A ghostwriter has said it was her responsibility. She offered her resignation. Mr. Trump didn't accept it. A lot of people think that this suggests that a B team is running this campaign right now. This is not ready for primetime campaign stewardship - a little learning curve here that has to be negotiated.
COLE: No question - I think they're not a B team. I just think they're an overstretched team. I mean, he's run for president and for the nomination successfully with a much smaller staff than most presidential candidates has. And the fact that he succeeded, you know - some testament to their success.
But I do think at this level, you've got to work harder to make sure you get it right because you know you're being scrutinized by the other side very, very carefully. And if you make a mistake - and they did - then that's going to be exploited.
COLE: Are there serious conversations going on about how the presidential campaign had better beef up and get some more...
COLE: I think there are.
SIEGEL: ...More professional staff?
COLE: And to the credit of the Trump team, remember, they've made a lot of changes themselves, and some of them were probably pretty difficult. When they changed campaign managers, clearly Mr. Trump, you know, had a great deal of...
SIEGEL: When he dropped Corey Lewandowski.
COLE: Yeah - had a great deal of affection for Lewandowski and appreciation for his job, and he knew he needed to do something different. He did. And you know, I see this up and down the line. There's a much more robust staff than there was a matter of weeks ago. But it takes time to put all those things together.
Now, do I think that will cost him the election - no, I don't. But I do think, you know, any time you take the news cycle and move it away from where you wanted it to go - something else, yourself - by your own actions, you made a mistake.
SIEGEL: The big event tonight will be the speech by Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, candidate for vice president. What do you want to hear from Mr. Pence? How important is he to this campaign, and what's the mission when he addresses the nation tonight?
COLE: He's extremely important this campaign. For a lot of us, myself included, I've never met Mr. Trump, but I know Mike Pence. I served with him for 10 years in Congress. I think very highly of him. It was very reassuring pick to me. And I think in a sense, he brings a lot of unity to the Republican Party and reassurance. I'd say the same thing with Governor Christie and Newt Gingrich as well. The final three sort of reassured traditional Republicans, OK, we understand your concerns. I think he will be the happy warrior.
You know, one of his favorite expressions is, I'm conservative, but I'm not mad about it. And that's a different tone. That's a Reagan-esque tone. And he was always that way as a communicator - very principled conservative. And I'd like any oppo research operation in the world look at him because he's the straightest arrow on the planet.
SIEGEL: Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma, thanks for talking with today.
COLE: Thank you.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.
Listen to the full program: http://www.npr.org/2016/07/20/486785225/rep-tom-cole-describes-mike-pence-as-reassuring-pick-for-vp
As the Republican Party looks forward to Thursday’s formal nomination of businessman Donald Trump as its Presidential standard-bearer for the November election, many members of the party are still inching toward their own endorsements of their controversial presumptive nominee.
One leading Republican who is ready and willing to go is Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma’s fourth Congressional district. He is deputy Majority Whip and one of two Native Americans in Congress. He has called Donald Trump “a work in progress” and said that he would have preferred for the party’s nominee to “be somebody that he knew better.” He is now supporting Mr. Trump.
“The Vice Presidential pick made [supporting Trump] a lot easier,” Rep. Cole said in an interview with On Point’s Tom Ashbrook on Monday evening. “The final three were all figures Republicans knew pretty well.” For Cole, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana is a positive addition to the Republican ticket.
“One of Mike’s favorite sayings is, ‘I’m a conservative, but I’m not mad about it,'” Cole said. “I just love that line, cause it tells you who Mike is. He’s Reaganesque, he’s upbeat, he’s optimistic, he’s inclusive, he believes in dialogue with people that have a different point of view. Yet on the issues, he’s rock-solid conservative.”
Still, Rep. Cole conceded his party’s soon-to-be standard bearer could clean up a few elements of his fiery campaign rhetorical style.
“He’s very much a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy,” Cole said. “Let’s take the Muslim ban: I would disagree vehemently with that, it’s just not constitutional.”
Rep. Cole described Trump’s evolution as a candidate on the Muslim ban and other issues as befitting a first-time candidate — “You just don’t usually see first-time candidates running for President,” Cole said. “They make a lot of mistakes sometimes, sometimes they’re not aware of the nuances.”
Still, Rep. Cole said Trump’s success in the primary season shows the power of his unorthodox campaign style, and that victory in November depended on the support of the Republican Party’s grassroots activists nationwide.
“There is a remaking over of the Republican Party underway,” Cole said. “Whether it succeeds, we’ll have to watch this campaign.”
Listen to the full story: http://wnpr.org/post/rep-tom-cole-trump-lot-first-time-candidates#stream/0
By RANDY KREHBIEL
World Staff Writer
Week ahead: Congress is in recess until after Labor Day.
Zero for Zika: Fourth District Rep. Tom Cole was among six Republicans — three representatives and three senators — to ask President Barack Obama to “repurpose” previously appropriated funds to combat the Zika virus.
Their request came after Congress failed to agree on a $1.1 billion emergency appropriation to fight the disease.
Republicans want to fund the Zika fight from Affordable Care Act accounts and by cutting off payments to Planned Parenthood and other programs they don’t like.
Senate Democrats have filibustered the legislation, causing both parties to claim the other is trying to use the situation for political gain.
In their letter to Obama, Cole and the others say the president has been slow to utilize $589 million originally set aside for Ebola to research and combat Zika.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe was also upset about the situation, but for a different reason — the Zika funding was attached to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill.
The Senate easily passed an earlier version of the bill, but Senate Democrats have blocked the more recent version because of changes made by House Republicans.
“This will be the legacy of the past seven years,” Inhofe said. “Democrats using our military as their negotiating tool to get their way with federal spending.”
Dots and Dashes: Shepherded by Cole, the spending bill for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and other related agencies made it through the full House Appropriations Committee. The draft bill includes $161.6 billion in discretionary funding — a reduction of $569 million from the current enacted level and $2.8 billion less than requested by the Obama administration. ... U.S. Sen. James Lankford spoke twice on the Senate floor Thursday, once to encourage racial interaction and once to slam the Obama administration’s 1-year-old nuclear arms agreement with Iran .... Cole’s attempt to use the Interior appropriations bill to clarify ambiguities involving Indian trust land was shot down by Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.
Read the full article here: http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/d-c-report-rep-tom-cole-joins-group-backing-funding/article_25c4d50b-1a9e-5ce0-95bd-6844ea168871.html
BY U.S. REP. TOM COLE
As Americans, our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee us certain unalienable rights that are the foundation of a free society. Common sense dictates, however, that individuals who perpetrate acts of terror against their fellow citizens must necessarily forfeit some of those rights. But we as a society should be very hesitant to encroach on any American’s constitutional rights simply because their name shows up on some list of suspected wrongdoers.
The United States was permanently changed when the terrorist attacks happened on Sept. 11, 2001, and it altered how our government responded to threats against Americans at home or abroad. President Bush established the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that the U.S. is adequately prepared when safeguarding our borders and our citizens. In addition, the FBI and the Justice Department stepped up their security practices, and introduced new ways to screen potential terrorists and thwart potential acts of terror before they can be executed. These agencies are tasked with the responsibility to be our nation’s watchdog, and are expected to be thorough in their performance. With an ever-changing society, the standards of the watch lists they maintain are constantly shifting as well, leaving room for error.
The lists that the FBI, Justice Department, and Department of Homeland Security maintain are extremely vulnerable to changing tides in screening procedures. Post 9/11, the Terrorist Screening Database, also known as the Terrorist Watch List, was created to keep track of any individual suspected of terrorism or of having ties to terrorism. Currently, the Terror Watch List has over 400,000 names on it. But more than 97% of the names on that list are foreigners who cannot legally purchase a firearm in the United States. Furthermore, the list is divided into subsets that are the No-Fly List and the Selectee List.
It is a well-known fact that these lists are not accurate, and just about every American who flies knows of someone who has mistakenly been placed on the list. Some of the more high-profile names who have appeared on this list include the late Senator Ted Kennedy, civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, and Congressman Tom McClintock of California. In all their cases it took several months to get their names removed from the list. And these men were powerful members of Congress. How long do you think it takes for an average person to get his name off the list?
It is wrong to deny any American their constitutional rights based on their being wrongly listed on the No Fly List. The Democratic Members of Congress who staged their sit-in stunt to try and force a vote on gun control most likely simply believe that no American should own a gun. Trying to exploit the Orlando massacre to advance their anti-Second Amendment agenda is shameful. I would point out also that the terrorist who committed the crime in Orlando was not on the No Fly List, further evidence of its inadequacy as an effective tool for identifying terrorists.
We can and must be more diligent in keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists. And we can do so while protecting the Constitutional rights of law abiding Americans. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has introduced sensible legislation that will expand the scope of how our agencies prevent terrorists from gaining access to weapons, obtaining passports, and launching any sort of attack. It will give the government 72 hours to prove that an individual is indeed a terror threat and block that individual from purchasing a firearm. It ultimately ensures that no weapon of any kind can get in the hands of any terrorist, while protecting Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens.
A free society like the United States must constantly seek a balance between our freedom and our security. Those who wish to cavalierly deny people their Second Amendment rights in the name of security have a flawed sense of that balance as well as a mistaken belief that their proposals would significantly increase our security in the first place. The increasing wave of violence in this country requires thoughtful, complex solutions. Trampling the Constitution cannot be a part of it.
Tom Cole, a Republican, represents Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Read the full article here: http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/othervoices/u-s-rep-tom-cole-our-rights-must-not-depend/article_7c068c30-8975-5db6-97de-381a699bd4bf.html
The Tulsa Community College Foundation has named U.S. Rep. Tom Cole as the 2016 Vision in Education Leadership Award recipient.
The Oklahoma congressman will be honored during an award dinner at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 at the Cox Business Center in downtown Tulsa.
“Representative Cole has been part of the national dialogue about higher education, college accessibility and the achievement gap since he was elected in 2002,” TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson said in a statement. “Every student pursuing higher education in Oklahoma, as well as the across the country, has benefited from his advocacy and leadership to remove barriers to higher education.”
Cole, R-Okla., is being honored for his commitment to championing the value of education. As the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, he’s worked to make sure students have the financial and academic tools necessary to pursue a degree, according to a release from TCC.
Before serving in Congress, Cole was a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Baptist University.
Funds raised by the Vision in Education Leadership award dinner support studentscholarships, competitive academic conferences for students, presentations by noted scholars and enhancements in the classroom.
For information regarding sponsorships and tickets to the award dinner, call 918-595-7836 or go to tulsacc.edu/visiondinner.
See the full article at: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/tcc-names-oklahoma-congressman-tom-cole-as-vision-in-education/article_37b306c2-2945-5ffa-a483-080e0945a5be.html
While our nation continues to mourn the innocent lives that were lost in the horrific terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, our leaders are pushing to know more details as each day passes. And each day, another disturbing truth is revealed. Unfortunately, the conversation has strayed from the shooter’s clear, ISIS-inspired motive. The blame has shifted the from shooter’s mind, to the shooter’s gun. The root of this evil is terrorism, and we must do everything we can to stop it.
Almost immediately, the shooter was identified as Omar Mateen. Shortly after, it was revealed that he had been investigated by the FBI not once, but twice, and had been included on their terrorist watch list. Following an investigation, the FBI concluded that he did not pose a real threat, and he was removed from its watch list. This blind obliviousness cannot happen again. The threat lies with those who seek to reject American ideals, and any suspicion must be identified thoroughly, and investigated fully. Slipping through the cracks will only increase the risk of more loved ones taken from families too soon.
In addition to reviewing how and why the Orlando shootings happened, we must be diligent in holding the FBI accountable for its practices and actions. For anyone this suspicious to slide by without regard to their past is extremely detrimental to our efforts to keep our nation secure.
Our suspicions were confirmed once a harrowing 911 call was released by the FBI, where the shooter pledged allegiance to ISIS, and identified himself as an enemy of the United States. Initially, the details of the phone call were left out - significantly, the claims of radical Islam. It is frustrating to see that our government cannot acknowledge a real threat when they see it. Time and time again, this Administration has refused to recognize that acts of terrorism like these are committed in the name and service of radical Islam, and to ISIS. The evidence is clear. The Administration needs to stop cowering from this evil, and to start identifying those who want to cause harm, before it materializes.
Although we cannot bring back those 49 innocent victims, we can bring justice for them through our fight against terrorism at home and abroad. In order to do so, it is imperative that Congress step forward with solid legislation to begin defeating our enemies before they have a chance to strike. I’ve introduced legislation to authorize the use of force against ISIS, with faith that it will initiate the efforts to take this fight to the enemy. We must utilize our resources to prevent another act of terrorism. Our nation will not stand for enemies on our soil. The root of terrorism can be, and will be, defeated.
Read the full article: http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/othervoices/u-s-rep-tom-cole-combating-the-roots-of-terrorism/article_0f49b029-0b56-5ab3-b51a-580faffd0bd4.html
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Rep. Tom Cole has defeated 2 Republican challengers to win the GOP nomination in Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District.
Cole won Tuesday's three-way primary race and will face Democrat Christina Owen of Norman as well as Libertarian Sevier White of Norman in the Nov. 8 general election.
Cole is vying for an eighth term in southwestern Oklahoma's 4th District. A member of the House Appropriations, Rules and Budget committees, Cole touted his conservative record during the primary campaign and said he has never voted for a tax increase and has consistently voted to reduce spending.
But Cole's challengers said his lengthy service in Congress and his votes on spending and debt had fueled discontent among some of his fellow conservatives.
Read the full article here: http://okcfox.com/news/local/incumbent-4th-district-rep-tom-cole-wins-primary
For Immediate Release: April 7, 2016
Contact: Jeff Peters – 405.310.9736
Tom Cole Announces Re-election Bid
(Norman, OK) – After a week spent visiting with constituents from across Oklahoma’s Fourth District, Tom Cole today formally announced his intention to seek reelection to Congress.
“I have enjoyed traveling across the district the past several days to visit about the issues that our country faces, and about the common-sense solutions that we believe Oklahoma can offer for the nation,” said Cole. “While representing the people of the Fourth District, I have consistently fought for a smaller and less intrusive government, lower taxes, and less burdensome regulations. I have always supported our active duty and retired military and worked to preserve the jobs and mission of our military installations.”
“In 2014, voters sent a message to Barack Obama and his liberal allies by electing the largest Republican majority in the House of Representatives since 1928 and by giving Republicans control of the Senate. Rather than listen to the American people and work with Congress, President Obama has used his veto pen and bureaucratic sleight of hand to subvert the will of the American people.”
“In spite of no help from the president and his liberal allies, we have successfully fought to end the oil export ban and create more Oklahoma jobs, reduce the deficit, and save jobs and aircraft slated for elimination by President Obama at Tinker Air Force Base. We have eliminated funding for political conventions and redirected the money to pediatric disease research. In the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Committee – which I Chair – we have cut over $5.5 billion from the president’s request while delivering the largest increase in biomedical research to cure cancer and Alzheimer’s disease in a dozen years. My philosophy is that we can spend less and do more if we prioritize better.”
“This election, we have an opportunity to send more conservatives to Congress and elect a president who will work with us rather than against us. Together with a new president, we can reverse the cuts to our military, finally repeal Obamacare, reform our entitlement programs, and get our debt under control.”
“Over the coming months, I look forward to traveling across the district to visit with voters about the serious issues facing our nation. If I am fortunate enough to be reelected, I look forward to continuing to fight every day for the values and interests of the people of the Fourth District.”
By Joy Hampton - Congressman Tom Cole stopped by The Transcript offices last week. Cole has been enjoying being back in Oklahoma, especially his hometown of Moore, over the holidays. He saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at the Moore Warren Theatre on Christmas Day. Cole said he’s been pleased with the growth in his district and particularly in Moore as it has emerged stronger than ever in the years following the 2013 tornado.