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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WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) issued the following statement today regarding President Obama's call for a new strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"The situation in Afghanistan is fluid, so I welcome the new strategic direction that the administration announced this morning," Congressman Cole said. "Many skilled military advisors have recommended a troop level increase to our President, and I am pleased that he is heeding their advice."