Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 5016, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2015. This annual funding bill totaling $21.3 billion covers the Treasury Department, Judiciary, Small Business Administration, Securities and Exchange Commission and other related agencies.

In addition to providing this annual funding package, this legislation limits the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through reductions to its overall funding and measures that encourage accountability and prevent abuse. More specifically, the bill upholds the First Amendment to the United States Constitution by prohibiting the targeting of individuals due to their religious or political beliefs.

“The Administration’s priority should be to lead the country according to the freedoms afforded to every American,” said Cole. “Regardless of the president or the partisan identity of the Administration, abuse of power cannot be tolerated within the IRS or any other federal agency. Due to the IRS scandal that involved the unconstitutional targeting of conservative groups, I am pleased that the House has taken action through this bill to prevent future abuse, encourage accountability and limit the overall funds available to the agency.”