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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 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; 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. For this reason, I have supported reforms through Congress that will modernize the appeals process, 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.

As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, 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

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).
May 11, 2015 Weekly Columns

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. 

April 30, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2029, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2016. With $76.6 billion in total discretionary spending, this legislation provides funding for current and ongoing infrastructure and support projects for active-duty military as well as programs, assistance and benefits for our nation’s veterans.
January 27, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Last week, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright re-introduced the bi-partisan Wage Grade Employee Parity Act with U.S. Representative Tom Cole (OK-4).
December 5, 2014 News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

The U.S. House easily passed a $585 billion defense bill on Thursday that protects Tinker Air Force Base from some of the Pentagon’s proposed cuts and promises more money for the huge maintenance depot there.

The bill passed 300-119, with all five of Oklahoma’s U.S. House members in favor. It now heads to the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, of Tulsa, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, negotiated the final version of the bill and strongly supports it.

November 10, 2014 Weekly Columns

Throughout the history of the American military, hundreds of thousands of men and women have volunteered to serve a cause greater than themselves. By taking an oath to defend our borders, preserve our values and ensure our freedom, these brave individuals understand the true price of freedom. Without question, they deserve our utmost appreciation both during and after their selfless service to our nation.