Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Defense Authorization Passes with Rooney TBI Amendment

Jul 14, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-17) fought to include language which will ensure that service members with TBI and PTSD are given a fair consideration during military and misconduct separations in the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Rooney’s amendment, offered in conjunction with his co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), requires the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress within 180 days on the implementation of recommendations from a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the military services’ consideration of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in misconduct separations.

“With tens of thousands of our nation’s troops and veterans suffering from invisible wounds like TBI and PTSD we need to do our due diligence to ensure all service branch policies are consistent with the Department of Defense,” Rooney said. “These men and women put their lives on the line to defend our country and it is our responsibility to care for them and take all factors into consideration in military separations.”

Rooney’s amendment was included in the greater NDAA, which passed the House today with a bipartisan vote of 344-81. The NDAA authorizes spending for military personnel, weapons systems, national security programs and foreign military operations. Additionally the NDAA combats global terrorism by fully resourcing and authorizing counter terrorism efforts and U.S. special forces programs. As the world grows more dangerous, our military has grown smaller. The FY 2018 NDAA is a necessary step to repair the damage that has been done to military readiness over the past decade. Additionally, this year’s bill includes a 2.4% pay raise for our troops, the largest increase since 2010. The legislation reflects our commitment to military members’ quality of life by investing in on-base housing and funding relocation costs for base transfer.

“The most important job of Congress is to provide for a common defense,” Rooney concluded, “this bill is an important step in repairing the damage that has been done after nearly half a decade of cuts which have driven military readiness to abysmal levels.”

Rooney, co-chair of the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) caucus, also was pleased to see $10.5 billion in funding for the F-35 caucus, which will provide our armed forces with 87 new aircraft. Ensuring our men and women in uniform have the latest and greatest technology is imperative to increasing our readiness levels.

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