Cole offers bipartisan, bicameral bill to fund construction of nursing homes on tribal lands

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) on Sept. 26 cosponsored bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would authorize certain U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) grants to build new nursing homes on tribal lands for America’s military veterans.

“I am proud to join my fellow members of Congress to introduce legislation ensuring that Native [American] veterans receive the benefits they have earned through their selfless service to our country,” Rep. Cole said last week.

The congressman introduced the Nursing Home Care for Native American Veterans Act, H.R. 4532, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), which would close a policy loophole that excludes tribal lands from receiving a 65 percent construction reimbursement and per diem for veteran nursing care homes built on land owned by states, territories, or land the United States possesses, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Cole’s office.

As a result, there are currently no veteran nursing homes located on tribal lands, according to the summary.

“In the long history of American arms, no racial or ethnic group has fought against, with and for the United States as much as Native Americans. That is still true today,” said Rep. Cole. “A higher percentage of Native Americans enlist in the United States military than those from any other racial or ethnic group.”

The same-named companion legislation, S. 2558, was introduced on Sept. 26 by U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).