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Friday, March 27, 2015

Roe, Walz, Baldwin Lead Efforts to Support Funding for Gulf War Illness Treatment Research


(91outcomes.com) - A large, bipartisan group of members of both houses of Congress in letters this week called for the funding needed to continue the treatment research efforts of the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP).

The program, aimed at improving the health and lives of Gulf War veterans affected by Gulf War Illness, is part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), which in turn is part of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Led by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in the U.S. Senate, eighty Members and Senators this week called on the leadership of both chambers' Defense Appropriations Subcommittees to continue funding for the program in this year's Congressional appropriations.


The House cosigners includes House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller and Ranking Member Rep. Corrine Brown, nearly two-third of the committee's members, and five of eight Subcommittee leaders.  Also included are 12 House Armed Services Committee members, including three important Subcommittee leaders.  


The Senate cosigners include several members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC), including immediate past SVAC chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  


Gulf War Illness, which affects between one-fourth and one-third of veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, resulted from toxic wartime exposures and resulted in lifelong disabling symptoms that typically include debilitating fatigue, chronic widespread pain, and cognitive impairment including memory loss, and generally also include one or several additional symptoms from an array of other neurologic, respiratory, skin, and other symptom sets.


The letters noted the research program's progress:


"GWIRP-funded studies have found treatments—like CoQ10, acupuncture, and carnosine—that help alleviate some GWI symptoms, and ongoing evaluations of treatments include off-the-shelf medications and alternative therapies for which there is a rationale for GWI symptom relief.  Other studies by multisite, multidisciplinary teams are focused on identifying treatments to attack the underlying disease and are showing great promise, finding that even low-dose chemical warfare agent and/or pesticide exposure leads to the following findings, among others: persistent brain changes associated with GWI; evidence of a GWI chronic central nervous system inflammatory state; a potential explanation of GWI immunological dysfunction; inflammation and immune dysfunction in GWI after exercise challenge; evidence suggesting small fiber peripheral neuropathy in a subset of GWI veterans; and lipid dysfunction following GWI exposures.   
"In addition to improving the health of Gulf War veterans, these important discoveries also will help protect current and future American servicemembers who could be at risk of toxic exposures."
Sen. Baldwin, member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the following in the cosigned letter she led:
"We are writing to share with you the progress being made by the GWIRP and to request that you include the funding necessary to continue this successful program’s work on behalf of Gulf War veterans.  While we have made progress in the fight against Gulf War Illness, many challenges remain."  "It is critical to the program’s success and accountability that it remains a stand-alone program within CDMRP."   
Rep. Roe, M.D., member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the letter:
“As a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and a veteran myself, I believe we have a huge responsibility to ensure that these efforts continue, for these veterans and for current and future U.S. forces at risk of similar exposures and outcomes. As combat continues to evolve, we must have the capability to provide quality care to our returning servicemembers. This letter encourages appropriators to continue supporting this important research and I am proud to lead this effort.” 
Rep. Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, released the following statement:
“Our obligations to the men and women who have worn the uniform don’t stop when wars end. In order to keep faith with those who have served, we must always strive to provide them with the care and benefits they have earned. Maintaining robust veteran-related medical research efforts, such as DoD’s Gulf War Illness Research Program, is an important part of this equation. That’s why ensuring this program has adequate resources is of vital importance.”
Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and a combat veteran of the Gulf War, released the following statement:
“As a Gulf War veteran, I have always held a deep distrust for the Department of Defense because they refused, for years, to acknowledge that our troops had been exposed to chemical weapons. I will always stand by my fellow Gulf War veterans to make sure that their sacrifices are never forgotten and that they receive the necessary health care and benefits that they have earned through their service to our country.”
Rep. Walz, member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and the highest ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress, released the following statement on the letter:
“When our warriors return from battle, it’s our duty as a grateful nation to provide them with the best care possible, based in sound medical research. In order to achieve this goal, we must continue to invest in research that helps us better understand the risks and exposures they faced in combat. That is why I am proud to join my friend and colleague, Rep. Roe, to lead this letter in support of the successful Gulf War Illness Research Program.”
Anthony Hardie, director of Veterans for Common Sense, released the following statement:
"As an ill and affected Gulf War veteran myself, I'm deeply grateful for the leadership of Dr. Roe and Rep. Walz in helping ensure this treatment research program is allowed to continue its critically important work."  
Jim Binns, former chairman of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses (RAC), released the following statement:
"Gulf War veterans and the researchers working to improve their health are exceedingly grateful for Congressman Roe and Congressman Walz's leadership. No members of Congress command higher respect among their colleagues on veterans' health issues than Dr. Roe as an M.D. and Mr. Walz as the highest-ranking enlisted veteran in Congress." 
The letters noted the support of numerous national veterans service organizations, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, Sergeant Sullivan Center, National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Veterans for Common Sense. 

The signed Senate letter is available here:  https://www.scribd.com/doc/260152211/Senate-Baldwin-Letter-to-Sac-d-Fy16-Gwirp-Final-2

The signed House letter is available here:  https://www.scribd.com/doc/260152215/House-Roe-walz-Letter-to-HAC-D-GWIRP-Final-Fy16

The full press release issued by the office of Rep. Roe is below, followed by the final lists of the House and Senate cosigners.


###



http://roeforms.house.gov/uploadedfiles/seal.jpgNews from Congressman Phil Roe
REPRESENTING TENNESSEE'S 1st CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Friday, March 27, 2015
For Immediate Release


Roe Leads Nearly 70 Members in Effort to Support Funding for Gulf War Illness Treatment Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) led nearly 70 members of the House in a letter to appropriators encouraging funding for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Gulf War Illness Research Program within the DoD Congressional Directed Medical Research Programs.

The letter, found here, is supported by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, Sergeant Sullivan Center, National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Veterans for Common Sense.

Rep. Roe, M.D., member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the letter:

“As a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and a veteran myself, I believe we have a huge responsibility to ensure that these efforts continue, for these veterans and for current and future U.S. forces at risk of similar exposures and outcomes. As combat continues to evolve, we must have the capability to provide quality care to our returning servicemembers. This letter encourages appropriators to continue supporting this important research and I am proud to lead this effort.” 

Rep. Miller, Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, released the following statement:

“Our obligations to the men and women who have worn the uniform don’t stop when wars end. In order to keep faith with those who have served, we must always strive to provide them with the care and benefits they have earned. Maintaining robust veteran-related medical research efforts, such as DoD’s Gulf War Illness Research Program, is an important part of this equation. That’s why ensuring this program has adequate resources is of vital importance.”

Rep. Coffman, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and a combat veteran of the Gulf War, released the following statement:

“As a Gulf War veteran, I have always held a deep distrust for the Department of Defense because they refused, for years, to acknowledge that our troops had been exposed to chemical weapons. I will always stand by my fellow Gulf War veterans to make sure that their sacrifices are never forgotten and that they receive the necessary health care and benefits that they have earned through their service to our country.”

Rep. Walz, member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the highest ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress, released the following statement on the letter:

“When our warriors return from battle, it’s our duty as a grateful nation to provide them with the best care possible, based in sound medical research. In order to achieve this goal, we must continue to invest in research that helps us better understand the risks and exposures they faced in combat. That is why I am proud to join my friend and colleague, Rep. Roe, to lead this letter in support of the successful Gulf War Illness Research Program.”

Anthony Hardie, director of Veterans for Common Sense, released the following statement:

"As an ill and affected Gulf War veteran myself, I'm deeply grateful for the leadership of Dr. Roe and Rep. Walz in helping ensure this treatment research program is allowed to continue its critically important work."  

Jim Binns, former chairman of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses, released the following statement:

"Gulf War veterans and the researchers working to improve their health are exceedingly grateful for Congressman Roe and Congressman Walz's leadership. No members of Congress command higher respect among their colleagues on veterans' health issues than Dr. Roe as an M.D. and Mr. Walz as the highest-ranking enlisted veteran in Congress." 
###

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HOUSE COSIGNERS - FY16 GWIRP

Title FIRST LAST Party State District
Rep. Dan Benishek R MI 1
Rep. Gus Bilirakis R FL 12
Rep. Vern Buchanan R FL 16
Rep. Mike Coffman R CO 6
Rep. Bill Johnson R OH 6
Rep. Walter Jones R NC 3
Rep. Jeff Miller R FL 1
Rep. Phil Roe R TN 1
Rep. Bob Brady D PA 1
Rep. Corrine Brown D FL 5
Rep. Julia Brownley D CA 26
Rep. Tony Cardenas D CA 29
Rep. Andre Carson D IN 7
Rep. Matthew Cartwright D PA 17
Rep. Judy Chu D CA 27
Rep. David Cicilline D RI 1
Rep. Katherine Clark D MA 5
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver D MO 5
Rep. John Conyers D MI 13
Rep. Joe Crowley D NY 14
Rep. Elijah Cummings D MD 7
Rep. Susan Davis D CA 53
Rep. Peter DeFazio D OR 4
Rep. Dian DeGette D CO 1
Rep. John Delaney D MD 6
Rep. Lloyd Doggett D TX 35
Rep. Keith Ellison D MN 5
Rep. Elizabeth Esty D CT 5
Rep. Lois Frankel D FL 22
Rep. Raul Grijalva D AZ 3
Rep. Alcee Hastings D FL 20
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee D TX 18
Rep. William Keating D MA 9
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick D AZ 1
Rep. Ann McLane Kuster D NH 2
Rep. Jim Langevin D RI 2
Rep. Rick Larsen D WA 2
Rep. Barbara Lee D CA 13
Rep. Dan Lipinski D IL 3
Rep. Dave Loebsack D IA 2
Rep. Alan Lowenthal D CA 47
Rep. Stephen Lynch D MA 8
Rep. Jim McDermott D WA 7
Rep. James P. McGovern D MA 2
Rep. Beto O'Rourke D TX 16
Rep. Donald Payne D NJ 10
Rep. Ed Perlmutter D CO 7
Rep. Scott Peters D CA 52
Rep. Collin Peterson D MN 7
Rep. Chellie Pingree D ME 1
Rep. Stacey Plaskett D VI At-Large
Rep. Mark Pocan D WI 2
Rep. Chuck Rangel D NY 13
Rep. Kathleen Rice D NY 4
Rep. Raul Ruiz D CA 36
Rep. Gregorio Sablan D NMI At-Large
Rep. Linda Sanchez D CA 38
Rep. Jan Schakowsky D IL 9
Rep. Adam Schiff D CA 28
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema D AZ 9
Rep. Louis Slaughter D NY 25
Rep. Jackie Speier D CA 14
Rep. Mark Takano D CA 41
Rep. Chris Van Hollen D MD 8
Rep. Marc Veasey D TX 33
Rep. Filemon Vela D TX 34
Rep. Tim Walz D MN 1
Rep. Peter Welch D VT At-Large



SENATE COSIGNERS - FY16 GWIRP

Title FIRST LAST Party State
Sen. Tammy Baldwin D WI
Sen. Sharrod Brown D OH
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D NY
Sen. Mazie Hirono D HI
Sen. Edward Markey D MA
Sen. Jeff Merkley D OR
Sen. Gary Peters D MI
Sen. Bernard Sanders I VT
Sen. Brian Schatz D HI
Sen. Charles Schumer D NY
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen D NH
Sen. Ron Wyden D OR

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