WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, received strong support for two of his major veterans' health initiatives at a Committee hearing today.
Senator Akaka's bills gained significant support from witnesses representing VA, veterans organizations, and others:
"S. 383 will contribute to the seamless transition of military personnel from active duty to veteran status," stated Akaka. "While the Administration has opposed this legislation in the past, I am delighted that they have finally reconsidered their previous position as two years is often insufficient time for symptoms related to PTSD and other mental illnesses to manifest."
With regard to S. 1233, Senator Akaka said, "Ranking Member Craig and I heard the testimony of witnesses at our March 27th hearing on care for veterans with traumatic brain injuries, and we worked from there to develop bi-partisan legislation, which takes a comprehensive approach to providing the best possible care for veterans with this devastating injury."
Today's hearing focused on veterans' health legislation now pending before the Committee. The docket for pending health legislation included over 20 bills. The Committee's markup on these measures will take place next month.
Witnesses at today's hearing included: Gerald M. Cross, MD, Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs; Carl Blake, Senior Associate Legislative Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America; Dennis Cullinan, Director, National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars; Joy Ilem, Assistant National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans; Shannon Middleton, Deputy Director, Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission, The American Legion; Bernard Edelman, Deputy Director for Policy and Government Affairs, Vietnam Veterans of America; Meredith Beck, National Policy Director, Wounded Warrior Project; John Booss, MD, Professor Emeritus of Neurology and Laboratory Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, representing the American Academy of Neurology; and Jerry Reed, Executive Director, Suicide Prevention Action Network USA.
Chairman Akaka's full opening statement can be found at:
An mp3 audio file of Akaka's opening statement and Q & A of witnesses can be found at: