The Norman Transcript

August 16, 2013

Fiscal debate ahead

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The debate over reform of the nation’s immigration laws will likely take a back seat to fiscal issues when Congress comes back this fall.

A budget fight, health care reform battle and other fiscal issues are top of mind for most members of Congress.

However, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, told Noman Chamber of Commerce members that such substantive issues will take a back seat to fiscal matters at hand.

Some members have threatened a government shutdown if provisions of the health care reform bill are allowed to stand.

On immigration, the comprehensive bill being discussed includes new provisions for more fencing around the southwest border.

The Senate’s bill calls for at least 700 miles of fencing — half of which already exists. But in some areas, there are gaps where immigrants can just walk around the border. Additionally, farmers report seeing immigrants scale the 18-foot fence in a matter of seconds.

Mr. Cole also said much progress is being made on deficit reduction. More needs to be done, but the federal deficit is coming down, he said.

In response to a chamber board member’s question, Mr. Cole said Congress needs to fix the Postal Service’ onerous pension liability rules and keep post offices open in smaller towns where it is often the center of the community.