Our veterans, who have served during war and peace, have made tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedoms. They are defenders of democracy and have ensured all Americans can continue to enjoy freedom and peace.
I remain committed to holding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accountable and ensuring promises made to our veterans are kept. Our service members must have access to safe housing, good jobs and the healthcare they need when they come home. There are still too many instances of our veterans not receiving the care and service they have earned and the VA system not meeting their needs. Veterans deserve to receive their benefits in a timely and consistent manner, and clearing the current backlog will help us reach this goal. I remain concerned as to how the VA healthcare system will reform the delivery of healthcare and do so with the deep fiscal obligations associated with the new healthcare reform.
As a member of both the House Budget Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I have been working with my colleagues to find a solution that will preserve pay, benefits and incentives for the military, retirees and veterans and at the same time address out-of-control spending. Ongoing proposals to raise TRICARE deductibles, premiums and co-pays for beneficiaries remain a principle concern for military service members, retirees and their families. I fully understand that TRICARE is an earned benefit, and I am opposed to a “tiered” enrollment fee structure or “means-testing” for service members, retirees and their families. I understand that the unique military retirement and healthcare package is the primary incentive for top-quality people to endure the extraordinary demands and sacrifices inherent in military career spanning 20 or 30 years.
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Throughout the history of the American military, millions of men and women have volunteered to serve a cause greater than themselves, and their families have offered a similar sacrifice to support them. Given their incredible and selfless contributions to preserving and defending the American way of life every single day, it is only right that we dedicate an entire month to honor them and express our sincerest gratitude.
Oklahoma is the proud home of numerous military and National Guard installations. We are consistently among the top states in terms of our number of active duty personnel. And our communities that are the home to these men and women in uniform are the envy of every branch of service. That fact was reflected last week when the House Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member, passed the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MILCON) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017.
Duncan Banner - Andrew Morphew
Two local Duncan High School seniors were nominated by Congressman Tom Cole for entry into military schools.
Senior Blake Graham and senior Jonathan McGill were selected as part of 14 students, who went through the nomination program per Cole.
Duncan High School Principal Justin Smith had nothing but praise for both students.
“Both of those students are great students and exemplary kids that represent Duncan High School and very proud of them,” Smith said.
Tried and true devotion to the United States is never more evident than through the lives of our military service members, veterans and their families. Since our nation’s beginnings, countless men and women have selflessly answered the call of duty and in so doing pledged to relentlessly defend liberty and protect our homeland. These brave individuals truly understand the meaning of patriotism and know more of sacrifice than many of us will realize in a lifetime.