The Edmond Sun


October 29, 2013

We must pick winning battles

MOORE — As described, established and intended in the United States Constitution, our nation’s government is broken into three separate branches. Like the people that make up our country, each branch provides a unique perspective and represents differing points of view. When one party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House, America tends to look more unified and productive. But even in divided government, we can find ways to function, achieve common ground and make all voices heard and considered.

Without question, Republicans strongly oppose Obamacare. No Republicans voted for it in 2010, and since that time, there have been numerous battles to modify, repeal, delay or defund it. Even though the president’s healthcare law is still the law of the land, we must not forget the victories won, including the passage of seven partial-repeal bills that were signed into law by the president. These bills have saved taxpayers at least $62 billion, lessening some of the harmful effects of the law.

Government shutdown was and still is a bad idea, and using it as a tactic to defund Obamacare was unproductive. That’s why I warned against it for months and months. It punishes federal employees through furloughs, costs the country millions and stalls access to important government services. I remain strongly opposed to Obamacare and will continue to vote for ways to lessen its blow on Americans. While full repeal is certainly the goal — as long as the president is in the White House and Democrats preside over the Senate — repeal of Obamacare is extremely unlikely.

That doesn’t mean that we lack fighting grounds on Obamacare or future proposals and initiatives coming from the administration. In the meantime, we must be realistic about our limits and know when the fight is possible to win. Success is defined not only by what you are able to accomplish, but also what you are able to prevent.

As long as Republicans hold the House, President Obama will never have Democrats to rubber stamp his ideas again. But until we preside over the Senate and White House, we should appreciate the “checks and balances” at work and claim success as the “blocking majority.”

Obamacare is doomed for failure on its own. While we cannot stop implementation of the law, we have the opportunity to highlight its problems, including the unfair individual mandate, unaffordable plans and website glitches. Upon launch of the website on Oct. 1, it has been nothing but a headache for potential applicants, resulting in few people actually signing up for coverage. In addition, despite being told by the president that “if they like their current insurance they could keep it,” many consumers are being forced to pay more for a product they don’t want and can’t afford.

Due to the Obamacare website’s inability to handle high traffic, save most user information or provide helpful customer service, it’s obvious that the site isn’t ready for primetime. Unfortunately, until the president recognizes that he’s selling a broken product, individuals will be forced to purchase insurance or pay a fine. This is still just the beginning — not the end — of the problems with Obamacare.

At the end of the day, we were all born into the greatest nation on earth and we are still capable of achieving great things — even in divided government. I will continue looking for ways to lessen the harm of the law, but we must find common ground on other issues. We must never lose sight of our tremendous potential or stop fighting for our convictions, but we must pick battles that are possible to win.

U.S. REP. TOM COLE, R-Moore, represents Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District.

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  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

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