Paul Cook

Paul Cook

CALIFORNIA's 8th DISTRICT

Rep. Cook's Jobs and Conservation Bill Passes House of Representatives

2017/06/27

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed HR 497, the Santa Ana River Wash Land Plan Exchange Act. This bill, which is authored by Rep. Cook (R-Apple Valley) and co-authored by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino), authorizes an exchange of land between the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District (SBVWCD) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

 This bill would authorize a land exchange of approximately 327 acres of BLM land for approximately 310 acres of land currently owned by the SBVWCD. The BLM land being exchanged was withdrawn from development under the Homestead Act for water conservation purposes in the early 1900s. This land is adjacent to existing CEMEX and Robertson’s Ready Mix mining operations. These companies currently have mining rights on land owned by SBVWCD but those sites are not adjacent to the existing aggregate sites and are located in the middle of undisturbed habitat.

The exchange allows the Conservation District to acquire the BLM land adjacent to the existing CEMEX and Robertson's Ready Mix aggregate mines, creating greater efficiency for these companies and also preserving quality habitat. The production of aggregate will support approximately $8.5 million in infrastructure projects and $36 million annually in payroll from this site alone. In exchange, BLM will acquire approximately 310 acres of Conservation District land that will consolidate checkerboard parcels to enhance water storage and conservation while protecting critical habitats for threatened and endangered species.

Rep. Cook said, “This important legislation will complete the land swap at the center of the Santa Ana River Wash Plan. The Wash Plan will allow for the expansion of existing aggregate mining operations to support infrastructure, protect water recharge in the wash and manage critical habitat for threatened and endangered plants and animals. I’m grateful to Rep. Aguilar for co-sponsoring this bipartisan bill and thank my colleagues for passing the bill today.”

Rep. Aguilar spoke on the House floor ahead of the vote, commending Rep. Cook for his action on this bill and to urge his colleagues to support the bill, stating, “The Santa Ana River Wash Plan Land Exchange Act moves this decades-long process forward, which will allow San Bernardino County to take advantage of critical economic and environmental benefits.” He concluded, “This bill is a smart, bipartisan plan that will help us support our local economy and protect the environment. It is a victory for all involved and I offer my complete support, and urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the Santa Ana River Wash Plan Land Exchange Act.”

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.

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Rep. Cook Votes for Welfare-to-Work Legislation

2017/06/23

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for H.R. 2842, The Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming bipartisan margin.

This bill connects low-income Americans looking for work with employers looking to fill job openings, including through apprenticeships and other forms of on-the-job training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 6 million job openings, the highest levels since the government started tracking this data in 2000.

This legislation provides funding for states to subsidize employment for a limited time for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients to provide work experience in exchange for benefits. The bill reserves $100 millionto test whether states subsidizing the wage of TANF recipients can be an effective means of helping them enter and remain in the workforce. While moving welfare recipients into employment is a central goal of TANF, some welfare recipients have a difficult time transitioning from welfare into a job. States may subsidize up to 50 percent of the recipients’ wages, with the remainder covered by the employer. The bill requires states to describe how wage subsidies will be provided and how they expect each individual to maintain employment when the subsidies end. States must also ensure that no one is laid off from the same or a substantially similar job to create positions for such participants.

Rep. Cook said, “We need to do more to move people into jobs. As the economy rebounds, we need to make sure we aren’t leaving people behind. This bill provides states and local communities with flexibility to determine what works and what doesn’t. It’s a good bill and a significant step in helping move people from welfare to work.”

A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources 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.

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Rep. Cook Votes To Modernize Career and Technical Education

2017/06/22

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin.

This bipartisan bill addresses many issues that face career and technical education (CTE) in America today.  The bill will help more Americans enter the workforce with the skills necessary to compete for and succeed in high-skilled, in-demand careers. Specifically, the legislation empowers state and local community leaders, increases transparency and accountability, and ensure the needs of both students and employers are being met. The bill also eases burdensome state requirements by simplifying the requirements states have to follow when applying for federal funds.

This bill also increases from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of federal funds that states can set aside to assist CTE programs in rural areas or areas with a significant number of CTE students and use federal funds to support CTE programs focused on a state’s unique education and economic needs or state-based innovation.

HR 2353 also addresses the need for more CTE instructors and outlines professional development programs geared towards under-represented students, including those with disabilities.

Rep. Cook said, “Support for career and technical education is vital for maintaining a diverse economy and a variety of job opportunities for students. No matter what zip code you live in, students should be able to access to high-quality education to prepare them for jobs. These programs are important for our modern economy, and ensure that a variety set of career options are available to all types of students. I’m very pleased to see this bill pass the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.”

A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources 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.

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Rep. Cook Votes to Overhaul Burdensome Financial Regulations

2017/06/08

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for HR 10, the Financial Choice Act of 2017. The bill passed the House by a margin of 233-186.

The Financial Choice Act of 2017 amends the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and other financial regulatory laws. Dodd-Frank, passed in 2010, was a massive 2,300-page rewrite of America’s financial laws that imposed significant costs on the economy, financial institutions, and American consumers, investors, and small businesses.

This new legislation will end taxpayer-funded bailouts once and for all and ensure no company remains “too big to fail.” It also holds Wall Street accountable with the toughest penalties in history for fraud and deception, by increasing the maximum criminal fines for individuals and firms that engage in insider trading and other corrupt practices

In addition, the legislation reins in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to empower all Americans to achieve financial independence. It will provide accountability by subjecting the agency to Congressional oversight and the normal Congressional appropriations process. The bill also redefines the agency’s vaguely defined ability to determine which financial products and services Americans can purchase and requires the CFPB to obtain permission before collecting consumers’ personally identifiable information.

Lastly, the bill increases opportunities for small businesses, innovators, and job creators by eliminating bureaucratic regulations that are stifling access to credit and capital. It relieves well-capitalized banks and credit unions from the most onerous regulations of the Dodd-Frank Act and abolishes the one size fits all regulatory approach that has harmed small banks by providing regulatory relief bills for community financial institutions.

Rep. Cook said, “The Financial Choice Act of 2017 holds Wall Street accountable while empowering Main Street. This bill is good for the economy, provides much-needed relief to small businesses, and empowers individuals to make decisions about their financial future. Congress has an obligation to get our economy moving and this bill is a big step forward.”

A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources 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.

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Rep. Cook Votes to Combat Child Abuse and Exploitation

2017/05/25

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for two important bills to combat child abuse and exploitation. The first was HR 1973, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act. The second was HR 1761, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act. Both bills passed the House overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.

HR 1973, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act. Over the past 20 years, there have been reports of many young athletes who were subjected to sexual abuse by coaches, doctors or other adults affiliated with USA Gymnastics. Although USA Gymnastics received reports of abuse, victims claimed that USA Gymnastics allowed the abuse allegations, including complaints made against coaches who trained and abused young athletes in multiple states, to remain dormant. This law corrects this practice by extending the mandatory reporting requirements of child abuse to national governing bodies, like USA gymnastics, to ensure that reports are immediately made to local or federal law enforcement authorities.

HR 1761, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act, remedies a federal court ruling that had allowed a defendant to walk free from production of child pornography charges, despite photographic evidence that he had engaged in in sexual abuse of a child. The Court found that that he lacked specific intent to produce child pornography prior to abusing the child. This bill corrects the federal statute against sexual exploitation of a minor to protect child pornography victims by closing the loophole that requires the defendant to have specific intent to produce child pornography prior to abusing a child.

Rep. Cook said, “Every child deserves to have a safe childhood. Too often, loopholes in the law allow child predators to slip through the cracks. These common-sense bills will help protect children from abuse and punish those who seek to harm them.”

A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources 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.

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Rep. Cook Votes for Enhancing Background Checks to Protect Children from Predators

2017/05/22

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for HR 695, the Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017. The bill passed the House unanimously.

The bill directs the Department of Justice to allow organizations that provide services to youth, the elderly, and the disabled to obtain information from criminal background checks in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint database. Specifically, the legislation ensures these organizations have access to the FBI’s fingerprint searches in a timely and effective manner and protects privacy rights by ensuring that specific information of a criminal record is not disclosed without the explicit consent of the volunteer or employee.

Under current law, organizations in certain states that provide services to youth, the elderly, and the disabled have limited access to information from national criminal background checks. Currently, many organizations only have access to request state-level background check systems.

This legislation builds on the success of the PROTECT Act’s Child Safety Pilot which ran from 2003 until 2011. The pilot provided access to FBI fingerprint background checks for a variety of child serving non-profits. The pilot conducted over 105,000 background checks and 6.2% of potential volunteers were found to have criminal records of concern – over 6,500 individuals. In addition, over 40% of individuals with criminal records of concern had crimes in states other than where they were applying to volunteer – meaning that only a nationwide check would have flagged these individuals’ criminal records. The criminal offenses among some of these applicants included convictions for criminal sexual conduct with a child, child endangerment, and manslaughter

Rep. Cook said, “Congress has an obligation to help protect our most vulnerable from potential criminals. This bill ensures that those who are working with children go through a thorough background check. We need to do all we can to weed out those who have a criminal record and make sure they aren’t in positions where they could endanger children.”

A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources 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.

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Rep Cook Votes to Increase Penalties for those who Murder First Responders

2017/05/18

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for HR 115, the Thin Blue Line Act. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.

This legislation adds the murder of a state or local police officer, a firefighter, or first responder as an aggravating factor for a jury to consider in deciding whether to impose the death penalty in federal capital cases. The murder of a federal law enforcement officer is already an aggravating factor under current law. The legislation sends a simple message that the stalking and killing of law enforcement officers must not and will not be tolerated.

Rep. Cook said, “It’s appropriate that this vital bill was passed during National Police Week when we recognize the sacrifices and heroism of our law enforcement officials that keep us safe. Every day, our first responders are risking their lives to protect our communities and when someone takes the life of a law enforcement officer or firefighter, they need to be appropriately punished. This bill will ensure justice is served.”

National Police Week began in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week. It is an opportunity for all Americans to express their appreciation for our law enforcement and honor those law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources 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.

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Rep. Cook's HIRE Vets Act Signed into Law

2017/05/05

WASHINGTON –Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) announced that President Trump has signed into law his bill, HR 244, the HIRE Vets Act of 2017. The bill passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly in February and passed the Senate on unanimous consent in March. Rep. Cook had reintroduced this bipartisan bill earlier this year.

The HIRE Vets Act will promote private sector recruiting, hiring, and retaining of men and women who served honorably in the U.S. military through the voluntary participation of employers. Specifically, the measure creates an awards program recognizing the meaningful and verifiable efforts undertaken by employers – both large and small – to hire and retain veterans. The program is designed 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, “I’m thrilled this bill has been signed into law. This is a big win for veterans and the companies who are truly making an effort to attract and hire more veterans. With passage of the HIRE Vets Act, we’ll be able 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. I’m grateful for the overwhelming support this bipartisan bill has received and look forward to its implementation.”

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Rep Cook Votes To Tighten North Korea Sanctions

2017/05/04

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) voted for HR 1644, the “Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act.” The bill passed the House overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. Rep. Cook was a cosponsor of this bill.

This bill amends the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 to modify and increase the President’s authority to impose sanctions against North Korea. Specifically, the bill expands sanctions to deter North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, targets those individuals overseas who employ North Korean slave labor, cracks down on North Korean shipping and its use of international ports, and requires the administration to determine whether North Korea is a state sponsor or terrorism.

Earlier, this year, North Korea vowed to test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea has also continually demonstrated its desire and ability to conduct nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests that threaten the security of the United States and its allies. Moreover, in 2016, North Korea violated multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions through its nuclear tests and over 20 missile tests. North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un has also recently threatened to attack America with nuclear weapons.

Rep. Cook said, “Kim Jong Un has grown increasingly brazen in his threats to world peace and continues to ignore U.N. security resolutions. He is a grave threat to our national security and our allies. This important bill gives the President additional tools to confront this gathering threat and curb the flow of money from those who are funding North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.”

A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources 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.

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Rep. Cook Votes to Make Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac More Transparent

2017/04/27

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) voted for HR 1694, the “Fannie and Freddie Open Records Act.” The bill passed the House unanimously.

Supervised by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac perform an important role in the nation’s housing finance system, providing liquidity, stability, and affordability to the mortgage market, and they provide access of capital to the thousands of banks, savings and loans, and mortgage companies that make loans to finance housing.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are United States government-sponsored enterprises and yet have not been subject to the accountability or transparency requirements taxpayers deserve. This legislation applies Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements to Fannie and Freddie, providing the American people the opportunity to see how their tax dollars are being spent.

Rep. Cook said, “It’s important that we provide stability in the mortgage industry, ensuring that there is capital available for home buyers. We also need to avoid another financial crisis, and we can do that by shedding light on their operations. Subjecting Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to the Freedom of Information Act is long overdue, and I support it wholeheartedly.” 

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.

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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

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