Chairman Cole Hearing Remarks on Israel Supplemental Funding, H.R. 4821, and H.R. 4820

As prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon. I want to welcome you all back to the Rules Committee. It has been a long few weeks in the House of Representatives, but I am very happy to continue our work on behalf of the American people. There are many promises to be kept and challenges to be addressed.

I’d like to remind everyone what is at stake. As we are meeting today, it is likely families and people across the country will be sitting down to dinner or driving home. What will be on their minds? The high costs of groceries and gas, an unsecured border, the safety of their family or children, and the worries of surging crime are all probable. I also know there are many hearts and minds looking both at and past our shores.

Increasing aggression and hostilities against us and our allies have become a frightening and sobering reality. We watched in horror as the terrorist organization Hamas attacked our friend and ally Israel, murdering men, women, and children in cold blood. We shuddered at the news of the elderly, Holocaust survivors, and babies slaughtered in the name of evil. News of the atrocities committed by Hamas and other Iranian-backed proxies against bystanders across the region grows darker and more horrible by the day. Israel has rightly chosen to defend itself and is presently undertaking a military operation to eliminate Hamas. That is why the Rules Committee today is taking up the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which will provide $14.3 billion in needed security funding to support one of our strongest and closest allies. I stand firmly with the State of Israel and with the security funding before us today. The protection of innocent lives against depraved militants should not be controversial. 

A unified approach on this issue – and the other objectives before us – is needed now more than ever. With government funding running out on November 17th, we must continue to push forward. Shutting down the government is not an answer. I’m proud that House Republicans have continually worked, even when extremely difficult, to deliver single-subject appropriations bills.

We have stopped House Democrats’ tradition of taking up bills that were thousands of pages long, written behind closed doors, with little time to review before voting and no opportunity to amend, and— instead—are working to pass all twelve bills through regular order.

To date, the House has passed five appropriations bills, covering nearly three-quarters of overall discretionary spending. I’ll note our colleagues in the Senate have not passed a single appropriations bill in three years. However, that is not stopping us from our commitment to passing the remaining seven bills for the American people.

In fact, today’s hearing will cover two more of these measures. The first of these I’ll discuss is H.R. 4821, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. With a focus on fiscal restraint, this bill delivers essential resources for clean water, public safety, and domestic energy production while implementing multi-billion-dollar savings for taxpayers.

Importantly, it limits efforts by the Biden Administration to unduly burden hardworking farmers, ranchers, and landowners through their flawed Waters of the United States rule and abuse of the Endangered Species Act. It also ensures we are leveraging an all-of-the-above energy approach by unleashing significant oil and gas reserves, especially in my home state of Oklahoma, which will expand production of these valuable natural resources.

H.R. 4821 is a strong bill, and I look forward to supporting it on the floor.

Our final item for today is H.R. 4820, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. As the chair of the THUD subcommittee, I will be the witness on this bill and will save most of my comments for my testimony.

My bill proudly prioritizes funding to strengthen our infrastructure, support transportation systems, enhance aviation safety, and maintain affordable and safe housing for vulnerable populations, including the elderly, the disabled, and veterans. Investments in programs like Meals on Wheels, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and Indian Housing programs are also emphasized.

I’ll have much more to say shortly, but I am very proud of this measure. It took a lot of hard work to get to this point, and I’m very pleased that we are moving forward.


Nov 1, 2023