Paul Cook

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Rep. Cook Votes for Major Regulatory Reform

2017/01/12

WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) voted for H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017. The bill passed the House by a 238-183 margin.

H.R. 5 takes aim at the problem of overreaching federal regulation by eliminating excessive red tape and regulations, lifting an unnecessary burden on hardworking Americans, and promoting jobs, innovation, and economic growth. The legislation brings together six separate reform bills that passed the House previously with bipartisan support.

Specifically this legislation promotes transparency by requiring publication of easy-to-understand online summaries of new proposed rules as well as proposed costs. It also requires agencies to choose the lowest-cost rulemaking alternative, permitting costlier rules only when justified. It also prohibits new billion-dollar rules from taking effect until the courts and Congress have a say.

The annual cost of federal regulations adds up to approximately $1.86 trillion, or $15,000 in regulatory costs per family each year. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 90% of small business owners support reforming the regulatory process.

Rep. Cook said, “Small businesses are being strangled by overregulation. We ought to be reducing regulations on them, so we can generate jobs for more Americans. The Obama administration has imposed a record number of major regulations, more than 600 during his time in office. This legislation begins to reverse some of the regulatory overreach and will help our businesses become more competitive."

 

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

 

Read More

Reps. Cook and Gabbard Reintroduce Bill Encouraging Employers to Hire More Veterans

2017/01/05

WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D- HI), introduced HR 244, the HIRE Vets Act OF 2017. This bipartisan bill, which was previously introduced last Congress, passed the House with unanimous support but was not able to pass the Senate before the end of the year.

This important legislation would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and effective program. Specifically, it would create an awards program recognizing the meaningful, verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. Cook and Gabbard designed the program to be self-funded.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor, the HIRE Vets Act would allow businesses to display “HIRE Vets Medallions” on products and marketing materials. These medallions would be awarded as part of a two-tiered system –Gold and Platinum – associated with specific hiring and retention goals each year.

The program also establishes similar tiered awards for small and mid-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. To ensure proper oversight, the Secretary of Labor would be required to provide Congress with annual reports on the success of the program with regard to veteran employment and retention results. 

Rep. Cook said, “The HIRE Vets Act is an opportunity for Americans to see which companies truly live up to the employment promises they make to veterans. Veterans who serve this country honorably shouldn’t struggle to find employment, and this bill creates an innovative system to encourage and recognize employers who make veterans a priority in their hiring practices.”

Rep. Gabbard said, “Roughly 500 veterans return to civilian life every single day, joining the more than 2.9 million veterans that have returned home since 9/11. While we’ve taken some important steps to encourage employers to hire more veterans, more than 400,000 veterans across the country are still unemployed today. Through their service, veterans develop unique skills, experiences, and leadership training that make them especially valuable to employers. The HIRE Vets Act incentivizes employers to hire veterans, and recognizes employers that provide a supportive work environment to retain veteran employees. I encourage our colleagues to join us in passing this bill unanimously again to move this support for our veterans and employers forward.”

 A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a twice-deployed combat veteran and member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. She continues to serve as a Major in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard.

Read More

Press Release: Reps. Cook and Takano Introduce Bill To Ensure Fair Housing Benefit for Student Veterans

2017/01/04

WASHINGTON- Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) and Rep. Mark Takano (D- California), introduced HR 245, the Veterans’ Education Equity Act. This bipartisan bill fixes a discrepancy in the way the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) currently determines Post-9/11 GI Bill housing payments for student veterans that prevents some veterans from receiving a fair housing payment.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a hard-earned benefit that pays for student veterans’ higher education tuition and fees, as well as a monthly basic allowance for housing (BAH) stipend. The BAH amount differs based on the cost of living in the zip code of the student’s school, with the goal of allowing the student veteran to live comfortably while undertaking his or her studies.

The VA determines the BAH amount based on the zip code where the school is certified, not necessarily where the school is located. This policy can result in monthly BAH payments that fall below or far exceed the actual cost of living. It also places schools that are both located and certified in the same zip code at a recruiting disadvantage, because local schools offer student veterans a much lower monthly BAH payment than satellite campuses of schools certified in more expensive areas.

Veterans who attend schools that offer classes located in the same zip code should receive an identical housing benefit. Current policy leaves some student veterans with housing stipends that do not cover their cost of living. In other cases, some schools take advantage of unfair recruiting practices by advertising higher BAH payments that give student veterans more than they need to live comfortably in that area. This policy results in higher than necessary taxpayer expenditures for the Post-9/11 GI Bill without resulting in better educational outcomes for student veterans.

The Veterans Education Equity Act fixes this by calculating the payment based on where students attends their classes, not where the institution of higher learning is certified. This bill ensures veterans receive an adequate and fair housing allowance while eliminating fraud and abuse of the program. 

Rep. Cook said, “One of my top priorities in Congress is protecting the benefits our veterans have earned while defending this nation. This important legislation ensures that our student veterans are getting a fair and reasonable housing benefit so they can afford to complete their education.”

Rep. Takano said, “The GI Bill’s housing allowance is critical to ensuring student veterans receive the education they have earned. This technical fix to the program will provide needed support to veterans while protecting the integrity of the GI Bill

 A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Read More

Rep. Paul Cook Votes To Provide Drought Relief for California

2016/12/08

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) today voted for S.612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The measure includes language from the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, which passed the House in September, in addition to provisions to improve drinking water infrastructure, improve water storage and delivery to drought-stricken communities, address federal dam maintenance backlogs, and approve longstanding water settlement agreements. The bill also addresses the needs of America’s harbors, dams, flood protection, and other water resource infrastructure.

Specifically the bill improves water storage and delivery for suffering, drought-stricken communities in California and other parts of the West. It expedites water storage and delivery and alternative water supply programs in the West to help many communities that are suffering from the drought. It also provides regulatory flexibility to capture more water in existing reservoirs during the wet months in California while not changing the Endangered Species Act.

Rep. Cook said, “Today’s much-needed legislation is the most significant drought relief legislation in decades. Over the past few years, Californians have continued to suffer from droughts without any real infrastructural changes to improve the situation. This bill brings relief to drought-stricken communities, and it increases our ability to maximize our current water supply. I’m hopeful this common-sense legislation will pass in the Senate and be signed into law.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Read More

Rep. Paul Cook Legislation to Ensure Effectiveness of Veterans Programs Passes in House

2016/12/06

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) announced that one of his bills, HR 832, the Veterans Employment and Training Service Longitudinal Study Act of 2015, passed the House of Representatives unanimously today as part of a larger bill. The larger bill, HR 6416, the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016, included language from Cook’s bill, HR 832, which will help ensure that veterans receive effective and successful employment training services. 

Cook’s HR 832 is a bipartisan bill authorizing an independent organization to collect and analyze data on the effectiveness of the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS). The study will focus on veterans who have received intensive services from two programs under VETS, the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) and the Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER).

DVOP specialists provide intensive services to meet the employment needs of disabled veterans and other eligible veterans. They focus primarily on veterans who are economically or educationally disadvantaged, including homeless veterans and veterans with barriers to employment. LVER conduct outreach to employers and focus on increasing and promoting the hiring of veterans.

HR 832 would track veterans’ employment status, determine if the program has contributed to their employment, monitor their employment retention rate, and determine if the services provided helped them increase their average earnings. Annual reports of the findings will be presented to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in the House and Senate for five years.

Rep. Cook said, “Congress owes it to our veterans to provide them with the best employment services possible. Simply authorizing these programs isn’t enough. We have to follow up to ensure that they’re working as intended. We saw at the VA what happens when the bureaucracy isn’t subject to vigorous oversight. If we’re going to authorize these programs to boost veteran employment, Congress has a duty to ensure that they’re working.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Read More

Rep. Cook Votes for Key National Security Legislation

2016/12/02

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for the annual national security bill, which maintains benefits for active duty service members and assures the readiness of our troops. The bill now moves to the Senate and will then be sent to the President.

Most importantly, the bill provides a 2.1% pay increase to our men and women in the US Armed Forces. This will reduce the widening pay gap created by the President, who unilaterally cut the pay raise in each of the previous three years. The bill also prevents further cuts to the Basic Allowance for Housing, which provides servicemembers with housing compensation based on housing costs when government quarters are not provided. It also protects military health care by making no changes to out-of-pocket costs for the current force or retirees.

This year’s bill also takes the necessary steps to restore military readiness: It stops the reduction of military forces at a time of new and greater threats to our nation. It addresses shortcomings in Marine Corps aviation readiness, allowing for more training hours for pilots and much needed maintenance to rapidly aging aircraft. It increases the number of training rotations that will come through the National Training Center at Fort Irwin and fully funds depot-level maintenance, such as the type provided by Marine Corps Logistics Base-Barstow.

Rep Cook said, “This year’s bill makes substantial enhancements to military readiness while also ensuring we’re taking care of our troops and our veterans. It gives our troops the pay raise they deserve, while ensuring we aren’t raising costs on retirees or those currently in the force.”

A member of the House Armed Services, Natural Resources, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Read More

Rep. Cook's Veteran Employment Bill Passes House of Representatives

2016/11/29

WASHINGTON- Today, Rep. Paul Cook’s (R- Apple Valley) bill HR 3286, the HIRE Vets Act of 2016, passed unanimously on the House floor. This bipartisan bill would promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through a voluntary and effective program. Specifically, it would create an awards program recognizing the meaningful, verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans.

Once established, the HIRE Vets Act would be a self-funded program within the U.S. Department of Labor that allows employers to proudly display one of two Presidential Awards on their products and marketing materials. These “HIRE Vets Medallions” would be awarded to deserving employers who make critical contributions to our veteran workforce. The medallions –Gold and Platinum –would be awarded to employers that achieve specific hiring and retention goals each year.

The program also establishes similar tiered awards for small and mid-sized businesses with less than 500 employees. To ensure proper oversight, the Secretary of Labor would be required to provide Congress with annual reports on the success of the program with regard to veteran employment and retention results.  

Veterans account for about 7% of the civilian labor force. Approximately one quarter of veterans in the labor force served after September 2001 ("Post-9/11 veterans"), and the remaining three quarters served in prior periods. Historically, Post-9/11 veterans have had higher unemployment rates than non-veterans.

Rep. Cook said, “Our veterans have displayed great courage in serving their country, and they’ve acquired distinctive skills that make them ideal candidates for employment. So as a combat veteran myself, I’m deeply concerned that the men and women of our Armed Forces continue to struggle to find jobs upon returning to civilian life.

“The HIRE Vets Act is an opportunity for Americans to see which companies truly live up to the employment promises they make to veterans. Veterans who serve this country honorably shouldn’t struggle to find employment, and this bill creates an innovative system to encourage and recognize employers who make veterans a priority in their hiring practices.”

This bill previously passed out of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously and will now move to the Senate.

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Read More

Rep. Cook Issues Response To Secretary Carter's Statement on Suspension of Collections of Reenlistment Bonuses

2016/10/26

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) issued the following statement today in response to Secretary Ashton Carter’s announcement that the Pentagon would suspend collections from California National Guard Members who received improper reenlistment bonuses:

“As I stated from the beginning of this controversy, Secretary Carter has long had the authority to suspend collection of these reenlistment bonuses, so I’m pleased he’s heeded my call to use that authority and stop taking money from our veterans. But there’s more work to be done, as this is only a suspension of collection, not a permanent solution. I agree with Secretary Carter that we must resolve this in a way that puts as little burden as possible on servicemembers. These men and women answered our country’s call and defended the nation in a time of war. They should be praised, not punished.”

A member of the House Armed Services, Natural Resources, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Read More

Rep. Cook Urges Pentagon to Stop Forced Repayment of Reenlistment Bonuses

2016/10/24

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) called on the Department of Defense to stop forcing the brave men and women who served in our nation’s military to repay their reenlistment bonuses.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Cook demanded that the Department of Defense halt the practice of garnishing wages from Guardsmen who were awarded bonuses for reenlisting at the height of the Iraq and Afghan Wars in the early 2000's. Though these men and women served their country and defended their nation, the Army was seeking repayment ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. This is putting significant financial strain on these men and women years after they fulfilled their commitment.

Rep. Cook was joined on the letter by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Florida), who chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and by the several other California members.

Cook said, “It makes no sense for the Army to come back a decade later and punish those who served and sacrificed for our country. This is no way to treat those who served honorably and fulfilled their commitment to our nation. This practice must stop immediately. These men and women should be praised for their service, not penalized for it.”

A member of the House Armed Services, Natural Resources, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Read More

Rep. Cook Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Sale of Purple Heart Medals

2016/09/29

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) introduced HR 6234, the Private Corrado Piccoli Purple Heart Preservation Act.

The bill prohibits the sale of any Purple Heart medal presented by the government to a wounded servicemember or their family. Military collectors often acquire these Purple Hearts, sometimes through underhanded means, and resell them as collectable items. These medals sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars on the collector market.

HR 6234 is named for Private Corrado Piccoli, a WWII infantryman killed in action in 1944. A Purple Heart medal accompanied the telegram informing Private Piccoli’s family of his death. Sadly, years later and after his parents’ passing, the medal was lost. Army Captain Zachariah Fike discovered the lost medal in 2011 and, after researching the name engraved on the medal, returned it to Private Piccoli’s surviving siblings. The experience inspired Captain Fike to found Purple Hearts Reunited, an organization that has, to date, returned over 300 Purple Hearts and rescued 700 more.

As Veterans or their survivors pass away, dozens of these Purple Hearts become lost every year and find their way into pawn shops, junk stores, and estate sales. Service organizations, like Purple Hearts Reunited, work tirelessly to rescue these medals and return them to families. The profiteering actions of military collectors make this task even more difficult as medals find their way onto the market and away from their rightful places of honor.

Rep. Cook, wounded twice in combat himself, said, “These military collectors cheapen the Purple Heart by buying and selling this symbol of sacrifice like a pack of baseball cards. I’m committed to defending our Veterans and that means preserving their symbols of honor like the Purple Heart. These medals belong with families or in museums, not on some collector’s auction block.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

Read More

Loading legislation ... one moment please
Loading votes ... one moment please

Contact Information

1222 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5861
Fax 202-225-6498
cook.house.gov

Col. Paul Cook (ret.) was elected to serve in the US House of Representatives in November 2012.  He represents California’s 8th Congressional District which includes the high desert communities of San Bernardino County as well as Mono and Inyo counties.  He currently serves on the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Veterans’ Affairs committees.

An infantry officer who served with distinction in the United States Marine Corps and a veteran of the Vietnam War, Col. Cook’s military career spanned twenty-six years. His actions in combat earned him a number of honors, including two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star Medal with a V for valor. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1992 as a colonel.

After retirement, Cook continued his service by seeking and winning a seat on the Yucca Valley Town Council, ultimately serving as Mayor. He became known for his commitment to conservative fiscal policies that protected working families from higher taxes.

In 2006, Cook’s neighbors elected him to represent them in the California State Assembly. Since then, he has distinguished himself by tackling some of the most important issues of the day, like fighting government corruption, reducing taxes, and increasing penalties on sex offenders who prey on children. As Chairman of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, he has been a tireless advocate for veterans and military families.

Holding a lifelong commitment to education, Cook has taught history and political science at Copper Mountain College, California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB), and University of California, Riverside (UCR). He holds a master’s in political science from UCR and a master’s in public administration from CSUSB.

Cook has held leadership posts with his local United Way and Red Cross chapters and served as past Executive Director of the Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion. He and his wife Jeanne reside in Yucca Valley.


Serving With

Doug LaMalfa

CALIFORNIA's 1st DISTRICT

Tom McClintock

CALIFORNIA's 4th DISTRICT

Jeff Denham

CALIFORNIA's 10th DISTRICT

David Valadao

CALIFORNIA's 21st DISTRICT

Devin Nunes

CALIFORNIA's 22nd DISTRICT

Kevin McCarthy

CALIFORNIA's 23rd DISTRICT

Steve Knight

CALIFORNIA's 25th DISTRICT

Ed Royce

CALIFORNIA's 39th DISTRICT

Ken Calvert

CALIFORNIA's 42nd DISTRICT

Mimi Walters

CALIFORNIA's 45th DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

Darrell Issa

CALIFORNIA's 49th DISTRICT

Duncan Hunter

CALIFORNIA's 50th DISTRICT

Recent Videos