Friday, October 9, 2009

Gulf War Illness Treatment Funding Clears Senate

Written by Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes

( - October 9, 2009) - The FY10 Department of Defense Appropriations Act has passed the U.S. Senate with the $12 million Sanders-Feingold-Byrd Gulf War Illness research funding--focused on treatments--intact.  

While there has not yet been an official statement from his office, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) has been the powerhouse behind the effort in each of the last several years to fund the peer-reviewed Gulf War Illness research program under the Pentagon's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP).  

By all accounts, DoD has done an exceptional job with the program, including funding numerous trials of promising treatments and helping develop a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of the disease -- all focused on improving the health and lives of the roughly 200,000 Gulf War veterans who remain ill following their 1991 Persian Gulf service.

Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) and his staff were likewise extremely busy helping to pass the bill and similarly did not issue a statement about his leading support for the funding.  However, Feingold has been one of a handful of Senators Gulf War veterans have been able to count among their most staunch supporters, including initiating numerous Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigations into Gulf War veterans' exposures, illnesses, and treatments.

The success of Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia), another of the small handful of reliable Gulf War veteran supporters and the third in the trio sponsoring in the amendment, was touted this week in a Keyser, West Virginia Mineral Daily News-Tribune article, noting $113 million in defense projects that include the CDMRP funding.

According to the article:
 “Recent research has demonstrated that an alarming number of Gulf War veterans continue to suffer serious ailments as a result of exposure to toxic materials during the Persian Gulf War,” said Byrd, who has supported this effort for more than a decade.

“It is our moral responsibility to help those who are suffering as a result of illnesses contracted while serving our nation.  We can and must do more to find treatments and cures for these serious ailments.  This funding will continue the efforts being made to address these illnesses.”
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