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Policy Corner: August 5, 2022

Categories: Policy Corner Archives

Senate Passes TBI and PTSD Law Enforcement Training Bill

On Monday, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 2992, the “Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Law Enforcement Training Act”, and the bill will now be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. The bipartisan bill passed the House of Representatives May 18, 2022, and the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill by unanimous consent before the Senate passed the bill. The bill authorizes funding to train first responders; crisis intervention teams; mental health courts; and other programs that help law enforcement to assist individuals experiencing TBI, PTSD or acquired brain injury (ABI). The bill also requires a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study for law enforcement and first responders who may have suffered a TBI in the line of duty.

H.R. 2992 was introduced by Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), John Rutherford (R-Fla) and nine other members. Reps. Pascrell and Bacon co-chair the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force (CBITF). Senators Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced similar legislation, S.4286. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA), police and mental health organizations supported this bill.

Senate Passes PACT Act

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 3967, Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, that will provide health care benefits to millions of veterans exposed to toxic substances while deployed overseas. The PACT Act add 20 burn pit and other toxic exposure presumptive conditions based on the PACT Act, including brain cancer, head cancer and Glioblastoma, an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. Currently, veterans have to try to prove to the federal government that their illnesses are linked to their military service.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.). Similar legislation was sponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kans.). The bipartisan legislation is named for the late Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson of the Ohio National Guard and will be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature.

Lawmaker and Staff Are Killed in Car Crash

On Wednesday, Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and two aides were killed in a car crash when the vehicle crossed the center line and collided with the car. The driver of the other car was also killed. Rep. Walorski had served in Congress since 2012. She served as Ranking Member of the House Ethics Committee and was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Congress Adjourns for August Recess

The Senate is adjourning for the August recess at the conclusion of business this week. The House of Representatives is on recess from July 30 to September 13. Lawmakers will be in their home districts, most of whom will be campaigning for their re-election or on behalf of others with regard to the November elections. This is always a good time to discuss brain injury while members are out and about. As a reminder, BIAA has policy materials on its website.

BIAA gratefully acknowledges the Centre for Neuro Skills and Avanir Pharmaceuticals for their support for legislative action.