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Public Statements

Traumatic Brain Injury Health Enhancement And Long-Term Support Act Of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. Speaker, I rise in favor of H.R. 2199, the Traumatic Brain Injury Health Enhancement and Long-Term Support Act.

As cochair of the 8-year-old Congressional Brain Injury Task Force of over 110 members, I commend the committee under Chairman Filner's leadership. You've never, ever acted, through the Speaker, to do favors for veterans. You've always handled it in terms of your own responsibility. I salute you for that.

For his ongoing endeavors to explore and thoughtfully legislate for the benefit of our Nation's many veterans suffering from TBI, I want to thank Jack Murtha, Congressman Murtha, for all his work over the last 5 years on this issue when it wasn't popular to talk about.

The Veterans Administration has shown tremendous effort in addressing the needs of our returning vets, our returning troops on its own; however, I believe the large volume of returning TBI victims, the need for timely treatment and the immediate need for rehab, expertise and capacity require additional resources. Flexibility for the VA to form partnerships to ensure top-notch care for our service personnel is essential. 2199 is an excellent first step to ensuring our Nation's veterans the care they need and deserve.

The bill establishes five new Veterans Administration research centers for TBI, which, without a doubt, produce new and exciting prevention and treatment techniques. A comprehensive TBI treatment program within the VA is long overdue.

I want to commend the TBI screening program for veterans. We recommended it. Football teams throughout the United States screen students before they put on football equipment. I think that's important that we do that with our vets. I worked to establish it in the civilian realm. We should have it in the military.

On behalf of the task force, I look forward to working with the Veterans Committee on this and other TBI issues in the future.

I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of H.R. 2199.


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