Friday, May 2, 2014

Dramatic Increase in Senators Calling for Expanded Gulf War Illness Treatment Research Funding

( - The number of U.S. Senators calling for funding for the treatment-focused Gulf War Illness Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) dramatically increased, nearly doubling last year's Senate effort.

U.S Senator John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) were joined by a substantially increased number of their colleagues in calling for a 25 percent increase funding for  the acclaimed treatment-focused Gulf War Illness research program program, which would increase funding to $25 million per year, up from the $20 million that has been appropriated by Congress for the program in each of the last two years.    In addition to the eleven cosigners (up from six last year), other U.S. Senators are sending individual letters of support for the critically important national research program aimed at helping ill Gulf War veterans.

The Congressionally-chartered federal Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses in its 2014 report released this week called on the VA to broadly follow up with larger trials or other systematic assessments of treatment's potential benefits when CDMRP or other funded pilot treatment studies show promising results and have scientific merit.

This week, ten Gulf War veterans from around the country travelled to Washington, DC to help lobby for this measure to help all ill Gulf War veterans and people suffering from toxin-induced Gulf War illness.  In just two days, they and other advocates succeeded in influencing this broad Senate effort that appears likely to succeed in providing continuation funding -- and perhaps even expanded funding -- for the next year for this critically important program aimed squarely at improving Gulf War veterans' health and lives.   The implications of this program for helping others is also clear.  

Funding for the Gulf War Illness CDMRP was supported this year by the American Legion, VFW, DAV, AMVETS, VVA, Veterans for Common Sense, Sergeant Sullivan Center, Independent Budget VSO’s (IBVSO’s), National Vietnam & Gulf War Coalition.  The Independent Budget Veterans Service Organizations (IBVSOs, composed of AMVETS, DAV, PVA, VFW, and 53 other organizations that serve veterans) report that the GWI CDMRP, “has made great strides in the short time it has been operating.” 

The full Senate letter is below.


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