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. – 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."
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today issued the following statement after President Obama accepted the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal as commander of forces in Afghanistan:
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Rep. Tom Cole and his colleagues in Oklahoma’s House delegation introduced H.Res.1110, a resolution to honor the Oklahoma National Guard’s Agricultural Development Teams and commend members of the 45th Agri-Business Development Team for their efforts to modernize agriculture and sustainable farming practices in Afghanistan. The resolution also recognizes their dedication and their service to our nation.
WASHINGTON - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) gave the following statement regarding H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2010, a bill that sets annual defense policy and authorizes the Department of Defense budget. This bill also contains controversial language related to so-called hate crimes legislation.
WASHINGTON – Today Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) issued the following statement regarding the emergency War Supplemental. Despite the House and Senate previously passing clean versions of the bill, the final version - the conference report - has been unnecessarily loaded with $108 billion in aid for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).