Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined a bipartisan majority of her colleagues in voting to approve the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. The final legislation, which passed the House by a margin of 315-108, included important measures to address the growing epidemic of sexual assault in the military, as well as an amendment offered by Kuster that would push the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DoD) to better coordinate efforts to treat PTSD, mental health conditions, traumatic brain injury, and other ailments affecting service members and veterans.
"I am grateful that members of both parties came together to pass this important bill, which will help ensure that the men and women of our Armed Forces have the resources they need to do their jobs and keep our county safe," Kuster said. "I am especially pleased that this legislation includes important reforms to help prevent military sexual assaults by better protecting whistleblowers and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions."
The final legislation included an amendment offered by Kuster that would require a report on the role of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Department of Defense centers of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions, and military eye injuries. Kuster filed this amendment in response to concerns from veteran advocates that the VA is not allocating adequate resources to collaborative DoD centers of excellence dedicated to improving health care for veterans and our Armed Forces. The amendment is supported by the Blind Veterans Americans (BVA).