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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

March 27, 2009 Press Release

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."

July 16, 2008 Weekly Columns
It's no secret that our nation's veterans are enthusiastically using their higher education benefits when they return from service. In fact, last year over 523,000 American veterans took advantage of government education assistance.
July 26, 2005 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole voted today for the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Enhancement Act of 2005, H.R. 3200, which increases the maximum coverage available under the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance and Veterans' Group Life Insurance programs from the current $250,000 ceiling to $400,000.
May 26, 2005 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole announced today the funds for military installations in Oklahoma's Fourth Congressional District that were included in the FY2006 Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2528).
March 15, 2005 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Cole made an amendment on the House floor today that would protect important Military Death Gratuity Benefits and Service Group Life Insurance benefits.
November 17, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole voted for three bills today that will help improve important programs for America's veterans.
June 23, 2004 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole voted for a bill today that will increase the maximum amount of home loan guarantee available to veterans.
October 17, 2003 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – House leaders announced a House-Senate agreement on a landmark strategy to provide concurrent receipt for more disabled veterans than have ever before been covered by law.
October 8, 2003 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole voted Wednesday in favor of legislation that will amend the U.S. code to exempt certain soldiers from all meal expenses while they are hospitalized due to injuries received while fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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