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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to thank the chair and the ranking member for the good work they're doing on this bill.

I rise in strong support of this amendment.

The Department of Defense estimates that more than 230,000 servicemembers have sustained a traumatic brain injury between 2000 and 2011. During that time, as the gentleman from Texas, my good friend, Mr. Sessions, pointed out, Congress has dedicated an unprecedented level of funding for TBI treatment and research, which has allowed DOD to make great strides in identifying and treating brain injuries. But despite the increased funding, servicemembers and veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress and TBI are still limited as to where and when they can be treated. Sometimes the very best treatment for their injuries can be found outside of the traditional DOD/VA networks. There are some outstanding programs providing first-class, effective treatment to our returning soldiers, yet those programs are not eligible for payment.

I had a chance to visit one of these facilities, the Pathway Home program, run out of the California Veterans Home. It's just an outstanding program providing great service to some very deserving heroes, and they should be reimbursed.

Our troops and veterans have earned--they've earned the very best treatment and care that we can provide. But sometimes, as I said, the best treatments aren't available at military and veteran medical facilities.

The Sessions-Thompson amendment will make sure that our heroes who return from combat with TBI or PTS have access to the highest quality care our Nation has to offer. We have a responsibility to help those who have sacrificed so much in defense of our great Nation.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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