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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

June 3, 2013 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Congressmen Frank Lucas (R-Okla.-3), Tom Cole (R-Okla.-4), James Lankford (R-Okla.-5), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.-1) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.-2) today praised the decision from the Air Force to invoke Alternate Safe Haven Authorities which would except Tinker Air Force Base civilian personnel from furloughs whose homes were destroyed or declared uninhabitable as a result of the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.

May 15, 2013 News Stories

McAlester News-Capital - James Beaty

Members of the McAlester Defense Support Association, along with other community representatives, are back in the McAlester following their trip to the nation’s Capitol last week.

 MDSA members who helped organize the trip said their purpose is to show community support for the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant and the rest of the defense industry in the McAlester area,

May 10, 2013 News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

Expressing dismay with a growing problem of sexual assault in the military, Rep. Tom Cole told the top two officials in the U.S. Air Force on Thursday that somebody might have to get “kicked out.”

“If there have to be some examples made, they just need to get made because it's just not tolerable to be in this situation,” Cole, R-Moore, said at a House subcommittee hearing on the Air Force budget.

May 8, 2013 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) mourned the loss of Lawton-native First Lieutenant Brandon J. Landrum who died last Saturday while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Landrum was one of five soldiers killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas. Landrum is survived by his parents, wife and children.

October 23, 2012 Press Release

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."

November 2, 2011 Press Release

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.

October 21, 2011 Press Release

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.

August 5, 2011 Press Release

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.

June 24, 2011 Press Release

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:

June 3, 2011 Press Release

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.