U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, whose Oklahoma district includes Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill, said Wednesday that he will oppose the national defense bill for the first time in his 17 years in Congress because it doesn’t include enough money and is being pushed through without enough Republican input.

“This is actually a very sad occasion I think for the House and certainly is for me personally,’’ Cole, R-Moore, said in a speech on the House floor.

“I have never voted against a national defense authorization in my 17 years in Congress. Most of our members have never done that for the last 58 years. So it’s pretty unusual for us to be here, and we personally regret that a great deal.”

Cole said later he was referring specifically to Republican members, but he noted that the same sentiment applies to the majority of the House in the past. Annual defense bills are typically bipartisan. Republicans controlled the House for most of Cole’s time in Congress; this is the fifth year of Democratic control in Cole’s tenure.



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