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
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the ceremony to name the Ardmore Post Office in honor of Specialist Micheal E. Phillips, who was killed in action on February 24, 2008, in Shulla, Iraq. Specialist Phillips was awarded a Bronze Star and recognized as "Distinguished Member of the 502nd Infantry Regiment."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation today reacted to news that Tinker Air Force Base’s (AFB) Air Logistics Center (ALC) will become the new single head for Air Force sustainment and logistics. The realignment, a move that is in line with the Defense Department’s requirement to make $450 billion in spending cuts over the next decade, will mean that Tinker will lose its current Two Star General slot, but will gain a Three Star General and a One Star General billet.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to President Obama's announcement that he would be recalling all American troops from Iraq by the end of the year.
"The clear winners in today's announcement are Iran and Al Qaeda. I find it very disappointing that Prime Minister Maliki and President Obama were unwilling to give the effort needed to come to an agreement that was clearly in the best interests of both of our nations.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the Oklahoma delegation, including U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and U.S. Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK-1), Dan Boren (D-OK-2), Frank Lucas (R-OK-3), Tom Cole (R-OK-4), and James Lankford (R-OK-5) along with members of their staff, today sent care packages to servicemembers of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) currently deployed in Afghanistan and Kuwait.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after voting against H.J.Res.68, a bill to authorize the use of U.S. armed forces in Libya. Cole also voted against H.R. 2278, which would maintain funding for the majority of U.S. operations in Libya while eliminating funding for only limited aspects of U.S. involvement:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the voting in favor of H.Res. 292, which requires President Obama to seek congressional authorization for military operations in Libya and to specify a process for withdrawal. Cole also voted in favor of H.Con.Res. 51, a resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Libya within 15 days.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, in separate legislative sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, respectively, approved legislation sponsored by the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation to honor the service members of Oklahoma’s Army and Air National Guard. The identical resolutions, H. Res. 1052 and S. Res. 624, express gratitude to the members of the Oklahoma Guard and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) traveled last week to Afghanistan to observe operations and meet with troops, including service members deployed from Oklahoma.
"It was a privilege to meet with our soldiers and military leaders serving in Afghanistan," Cole said. "I was honored by the opportunity to express gratitude on behalf of our state to Oklahoma's own service members and civilians serving in harm's way."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following statement in response to the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq:
"Iraq, the world and America are safer because America removed Saddam Hussein from power. Combat troops returning from Iraq have earned our utmost gratitude and respect for their courage and sacrifice.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) was honored recently with the Oklahoma Veterans Council Special Award for his support of veterans, military personnel and their families. Cole accepted the award at the Veterans Council meeting in Oklahoma City.
"I am honored to receive this award," Cole commented. "Our veterans and active duty military have earned our utmost support for their service and sacrifice. I will continue to work to ensure service members receive the care and resources they deserve."