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Veterans & Military Retirees

Our veterans, who have served during war and peace, have made tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedoms. They are defenders of democracy, who served to ensure 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; clearing ongoing backlogs will help us reach this goal.  I have supported reforms in Congress to modernize appeals processes, bring accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs and give student veterans the largest expansion of GI Bill benefits since the GI Bill was created.

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 a military career spanning 20 or 30 years.

I will continue to work with my colleagues to preserve pay, benefits and incentives for the military, retirees and veterans and at the same time address unsustainable government spending.


More on Veterans & Military Retirees

May 27, 2016 Weekly Columns

Our veterans, who have served during times of war and peace, have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation. They are defenders of liberty and have ensured all Americans can continue to enjoy freedom and security. Considering the wide extent of selfless service rendered by current and past service members and their families, it was shocking and inexcusable that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald recently chose to make light of excessive waiting periods experienced by veterans in need of care.  

May 9, 2016 Weekly Columns

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. 

April 18, 2016 Weekly Columns

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.

February 2, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, today released the following statements about Fort Sill’s announcement regarding the vital role Fort Sill will continue to play as the Army plans for its future force structure.
January 31, 2016 News Stories
For years, District Judge Lori Walkley has worked with others on a program helping veterans before their issues become legal problems. Cleveland County is running a kind of veterans court in the drug court with some help from grant money, but Walkley said it needs to be a stand-alone program.
January 21, 2016 News Stories

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.

January 21, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) announced today the names of 14 students who have been nominated from the Fourth District of Oklahoma for entry into one of America’s prestigious military academies. The schools that participate in the congressional nomination program are the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy.
October 23, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) mourned the loss of Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, who was killed during a U.S.-Iraqi joint mission to free 70 hostages held captive by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS) in Iraq. Wheeler was from Roland, Oklahoma.
July 7, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after President Obama announced intent to nominate former Congressman Brad Carson to the post of Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
May 15, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1735, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2016. The bill authorizes funding for our nation’s military personnel, readiness and operations. In accordance with the FY16 joint budget resolution, the authorization for national defense is $611.8 billion with $89.3 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).