Fighting for those who fight for us

by Tom Cole

Since the founding of our great nation, patriotic men and women have selflessly chosen to serve our country as a part of the Armed Forces. These brave men and women are deserving of all our respect and appreciation, and we must make it a priority of ours in Congress to fight for the service members who fight for us.

As the son of an Air Force veteran, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees defense spending, and the representative for two military installations in Oklahoma’s Fourth District, Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill Army Installation, as well as several National Guard facilities, I know just how important it is to provide our service members with everything they need to ensure they are prepared and ready to serve when called to action – and this week, the House will consider legislation that will do just that.

The Fiscal Year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will equip our military with the tools and resources they need to deter Communist China, restore lethality in our military by abolishing DEI bureaucracy at DoD schools and requiring promotions be based on merit, fully fund the deployment of National Guard troops at the southwest border, save $30 billion by cutting inefficient programs, obsolete weapons, and Pentagon bureaucracy, restore American deterrence, and more. This legislation is critical to making sure our service members are armed with the most robust equipment and weaponry to provide them with the best chance of success when they are away fighting for us, and I look forward to voting in favor of it on the House Floor this week.

In addition to ensuring they are provided with the best resources, it is also important to prioritize quality-of-life for our brave service members, as well as their families – and I am proud to share that the NDAA will improve service member quality-of-life as well. This legislation will give junior enlisted service members a 19.5% pay raise, expand allowances for housing and food, and improve the cost-of-living calculation. Additionally, it ensures better access to medical care, increases access to childcare, enhances support for military spouses, and improves military housing.

However, it is not enough to only support our military heroes while they are in uniform. We must continue to aid and assist them as veterans, as they have already met their duty to us, and we must now uphold our obligation to them.

This is why, just last week, I voted in favor of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2025, which fully funds health care programs for our veterans, as well as veterans’ benefits and other VA programs.

At the end of the day, as a Congress and a country, we can truly never do enough to honor those who serve us, both past and present.

However, we must do all we can to support our troops, our veterans, and strengthen the defense of the United States of America. I am proud to have made this a priority of mine in Congress, as our brave men and women of the Armed Services are some of America’s finest and I will always fight for them.