Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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Congressman Paul Cook's Newsletter: July 25, 2017

Jul 25, 2017
Newsletter
July 23, 2017

House Passes Rep. Cook’s Legislation to Ensure Fair Housing Benefit for Student Veterans

Congressman Paul Cook voted for HR 3218, Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017. The bill passed the House unanimously. Rep. Cook was a co-sponsor of the legislation, which includes language from his original bill.

Congressman Cook’s original bill, the Veterans Education Equity Act, was introduced in January 2017. It fixes a problem in the way the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determines Post-9/11 GI Bill housing payments for student veterans, which 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 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 housing. This bill will fix the problem 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 waste in the program.

HR 3218 also removes time restrictions to use the GI Bill, enabling future recipients to use their GI benefits for their entire life as opposed to the current 15-year timeline. The bill also includes significant increases in GI Bill funding for Reservists and Guardsmen, dependents, surviving spouses and surviving dependents. The bill is budget neutral and includes provisions that have been proposed and prioritized by Veterans Service Organizations.

Since, 1944, The GI Bill has provided veterans the opportunity to invest in themselves and their futures through access to education benefits. It has helped millions of veterans pay for college, graduate school, and other training programs.

Congressman Cook said, “This important legislation ensures that our student veterans are getting a fair and reasonable housing benefit so they can afford to complete their education. One of my top priorities in Congress is protecting the benefits our veterans have earned while defending this nation. This package of reforms makes significant improvements to the GI bill and I look forward to the bill being signed into law.”

Congressman Paul Cook Introduces Bill to Foster Robust Domestic Helium Market

 

Congressman Paul Cook announced that he has introduced H.R. 3279, the Helium Extraction Act of 2017. The bill amends the Mineral Leasing Act to allow helium extraction from gas on federal lands under the same terms as gas and oil.

Helium is an essential element used in MRIs, air-to-missile guidance systems, and semiconductors. As such, a steady supply of helium is critical for the medical, defense, and energy industries. The United States is currently the world’s largest supplier of helium. The next largest producers are Qatar, Algeria, and Russia.

Historically, much of the American demand for helium has been satisfied by the Federal Helium Reserve. However, there are major concerns about the future of our domestic helium production. According to the Bureau of Land Management, the reserve has enough helium to meet about 40 percent of the domestic demand for the gas. Additionally, the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 requires that by September 30, 2021, the reserve must be sold and the facility closed. Given the vast political, economic, and diplomatic uncertainty surrounding many the largest foreign suppliers of helium, it would be dangerous for America to become dependent on them.

Congressman Cook said, “The looming helium crisis must be dealt with now, or it could have deadly consequences. Without this bill, we could become dangerously dependent on unstable foreign countries for our supply of helium. This bill encourages the development of American sources of helium and will boost both our national security and economy.”

Congressman Rob Bishop, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said, “Facilitating a robust domestic helium market will spur job creation, promote massive revenues to the Treasury and provide stability for essential industries from medical technology to our defense sector. With the recent developments in Qatar, it’s important now more than ever to ensure a guaranteed source of this critical element. I thank Rep. Cook for his leadership on this issue and look forward to moving this bill through the House.”

City of Victorville National Night Out

 

The Victorville Police Department will be hosting the 34th Annual National Night Out on Aug. 1 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Victorville City Hall.  Learn about keeping your family and home safe while enjoying great food and fun.Victorville City Hall is located at 14343 Civic Drive in Victorville.

Ice Cream Social and Cake Walk

 

The Barstow Chapter of the Twilight Wish Foundation will be holding an Ice Cream Social and Cake Walk on Saturday, July 22, 2017 from 12 noon to 3 pm. They are asking the public for donations of store bought goodies (cakes, pies, cookies) for the cake walk. Please bring them for the event.

The Twilight Wish Foundation grants wishes to low income seniors age 65 and over. For more information, to make a donation, or to request a wish, call the Barstow Senior Center at 760-256-5023, visit them at 555 Melissa Ave. in Barstow, or visit the Barstow Senior Center website at www.barstowseniorcenter.org, or the Twilight Wish Foundation website at www.twilightwish.org.

Summer Movie Series at Victor Valley Museum

 

Join the Victor Valley Museum for their Summer Movies Series on Saturday, July 29th. Anyone interested has two chances to watch the screenings of Finding Dory at 11:00 am and 2:00 p.m.

For more information, Click Here

Shred Fest and Mulch Giveaway in Victorville

 

Shred Fest is free to all Victor Valley Residents. Bring up to four (4) 20-pound boxes of paper documents to shred for free. No business materials. Documents are shredded on site by All Purpose Document Destruction.

Compost/Mulch Giveaway -  There will be free mulch at the MRF during the Shred Fest events.  This is a "load your own" mulch giveaway, so be sure to bring your own shovels, as well as bags or other containers, to load mulch into. The giveaway is for Residents only - no businesses or commercial vehicles. Mulch and compost LIMIT is 50 gallons.

For more information, contact (760) 955-8615 the Victor Valley MRD Recycling Center is located at 17000 Abbey Lane (off of Stoddard Wells Road) in Victorville.

Volunteers Needed for Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce

 

The Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce is seeking volunteers for their upcoming events throughout the 2017/ 2018 year. They have a variety of roles for volunteers who wish to become involved in enriching their communities. 

For anyone interested, contact (760) 367-3445 or email 29chamber@29chamber.org for more information or to sign up as a volunteer. 

My office is here to help you. If you or someone you know needs help with the Veterans' Administration please call my Apple Valley District Office at (760) 247-1815.

9th Annual Veteran Operation Recognition-Veterans Diploma Project

 

The San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, in partnership with the County of San Bernardino Department of Veterans Affairs, is announcing their Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project. The Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project provides veterans and internees, who were unable to complete high school due to military service or internment, the opportunity to receive a high school diploma.

The deadline to submit an application to be eligible for the Veteran Diploma Project is August 25.

For more information, Click Here

Veterans Express Transit System( V.E.T.S.)

 

V.E.T.S.is a free transportation service starting January 9, 2017, provided by VA Loma Linda Health Care System, to assist Veterans with round-trip transportation to the VA Loma Linda for medical appointments.

The V.E.T.S. program has collaborated with local community partners, including the Victorville Valley Transit Authority (VVTA) to coordinate the pick-up point at the Victorville Transfer Point (VTP) in Victorville on Lorene Drive between Valley Center Drive and 7th Street. It is situated adjacent to Interstate 15 behind Costco.

Reservations Must be made 24 hours in advance. Please call V.E.T.S Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at (800) 741-8387 or (909) 825-7084, ext. 6475.

Inland Empire Veterans Mental Health Collaborative

 

The Inland Empire Veterans Mental Health Collaborative is hosting a Financial Wellbeing & Mental Health event on August 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Health Services Auditorium. This is located at 850 E. Foothill Blvd in Rialto. If you need assistance registering or require disability accommodations contact the Veterans Success Center at (909) 537-5195 or email dbuck@csusb.edu