(Washington – Mar. 16, 2017) – Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), a national veterans advocacy organization and national leader on military toxic exposures and Toxic Wounds, yesterday sent the following letter of support for the treatment-focused Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) to the bipartisan House co-authors of the House “Dear Colleague” letter seeking support for adequate continued funding of the program next year (federal fiscal year 2018).
Last year, 74 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed onto the Roe-Walz Dear Colleague letter in support of FY17 Gulf War Illness treatment research funding. Thirteen (13) members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee were among those cosigners, led by Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) and Rep. Tim Walz, CSM, ARNG (Ret.) (D-MN), including then-Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (HVAC) Jeff Miller (R-FL), then-Ranking Member Corrine Brown (D-FL) , Vice-Chairman Gus Bilirakis (D-FL), and five Subcommittee Chairs or Ranking Members.
This year’s effort is being led in the House by Rep. Jack Bergman, LTG, USMC (Ret.) (R-MI) and Rep. Gregorio Sablan (I-NMI), and supported by Rep.’s Roe and Walz.
Last year’s veterans service organization supporters included: The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America, (PVA) AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN), Burn Pits 360, National Gulf War Resource Center, National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, Sergeant Sullivan Circle, Toxic Wounds Task Force, and Veterans for Common Sense.
The continuation of the program for the current year (FY17) is included in the FY17 Defense Appropriations Act passed by the U.S. House on March 8.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
March 15, 2017
The Honorable Jack Bergman The Honorable Gregorio Sablan
414 Cannon House Office Building 2411 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S House of Representatives U.S House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
SUBJECT: Support for FY18 Gulf War Illness Treatment Research
Dear Representatives Bergman and Sablan,
Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) stands in strong support of continued Fiscal Year 2018 funding for the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP), part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) health program.
As you know, between one-fourth and one-third of veterans of the 1991 Gulf War are affected by Gulf War Illness, the signature adverse health outcome of that war. The GWIRP is making great strides forward in its efforts to better understand and develop effective, evidence-based treatments for GWI.
We are sincerely grateful for the continued bipartisan, bicameral Congressional support for our Gulf War veterans and for this treatment research program aimed at improving the health and lives of those afflicted by GWI.
We deeply appreciate your leadership in working to ensure continued FY18 funding for this unique, critically important treatment research program that serves as a model for caring for veterans affected by toxic exposures incurred during their military service.
Again, thank you. We look forward to working closely with you and your staff to help ensure the continuation appropriations support for this important program.
Veterans for Common Sense
Cc: Rep. Phil Roe, M.D., HVAC Chair
Rep. Tim Walz, HVAC Ranking