Monday, September 28, 2009

VCS Letter: Support Gulf War Illness Treatments Funding

Written by VCS.

Veterans for Common Sense began contacting Senators today asking for them to support $12 million in funding for urgently needed medical research for treatments for the estimated 175,000 ill Gulf War veterans.  Our VCS letter to Senators is shown below.

VCS Letter:

September 28, 2009   

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, Chairman
The Honorable Thad Cochran, Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Inouye and Ranking Member Cochran:

Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) urges Senators to support Senator Sanders’ amendment to include $12 million in funding for Gulf War illness treatment research in the 2010 Defense Appropriations Act.  Full funding for treatment research at the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) remains our top priority for our 175,000 Gulf War veterans who remain ill from the 1991 conflict.

The CDMRP research remains vital for our military because it also serves to protect our current and future service members at risk of toxic exposures.  The 2010 National Defense Authorization Act authorized $12 million for Gulf War illness research at CDMRP.  The current funding bill is silent on targeted funds for Gulf War illness.

The 2008 Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee (RAC) report concluded Gulf War illness is real, was caused by wartime toxic exposures, and adversely impacts one-in-four veterans.  A major Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) study published in 2009 confirmed the number of ill veterans.  However, there are currently no effective treatments for our ill veterans.  The RAC unanimously recommended $40 million in CDMRP funding.

The RAC endorses the CDMRP and identified treatment research as the highest priority for our Gulf War veterans.  Spending $15 million during its first two years of existence, CDMRP funded nine treatment studies, now underway, compared to three studies during the previous 15 years.  The CDMRP focuses on small pilot studies of promising treatments already approved for other diseases and is open to all researchers on a competitive basis.

Again, we respectfully request the Senate to include $12 million for Gulf War treatment research funding in the 2010 Defense Appropriations Act, and we appreciate your commitment to all our service members, veterans, and their families.


Thomas Bandzul
Associate Counsel
Veterans for Common Sense

cc: Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee

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