Michael Waltz Continues the Fight to Have the U.S. Work With Israel on PTSD

A congressman from the Sunshine State is continuing his effort to team up with Israel to help research post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

At the start of last year, U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., the first Green Beret to serve in Congress, introduced the “United States-Israel PTSD Collaborative Research Act” which his office explained when he unveiled it.

“The United States-Israel PTSD Collaborative Research Act, would leverage research assets and experiences of the U.S. and Israel to develop best practices in the research, diagnosis and treatment of PTSD. The legislation also establishes a grant program for American universities and private non-profits teaming up with Israeli counterparts to research PTSD,” Waltz’s office noted.

U.S. Reps. Elaine Luria, D-Va., Chrissy Houlahan, D-Penn., and Lee Zeldin, R-NY, quickly backed the bill which garnered almost 100 cosponsors including U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Lois Frankel, D-Fla., Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Brian Mast, R-Fla., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., and Greg Steube, R-Fla., and then U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., Donna Shalala, D-Fla., Ross Spano, R-Fla., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla.

While Waltz tried to get the bill included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), he was not able to get it over the finish line. Waltz brought the proposal back last week.

“If passed, the United States-Israel PTSD Collaborative Research Act would leverage research assets and experiences of the U.S. and Israel to develop best practices in the research, diagnosis and treatment of PTSD. The legislation establishes a grant program for American universities and private non-profits teaming up with Israeli counterparts to research PTSD,” the congressman’s office noted.

“Thousands of warfighters often struggle to find normalcy after returning home from combat deployments,” said Waltz. “Through no fault of their own, PTSD does not discriminate and can inflict many of these service members as a natural response. Congress has a responsibility to these brave men and women to find solutions to alleviate the trauma caused by PTSD.”

Luria, Houlahan and Zeldin are backing the proposal again. So is Frankel who just moved over to the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee.

“Too many of our bravest men and women come home with invisible wounds from the trauma they experienced while fighting for our country,” said Luria last week. “Congress can uphold its end of the promise by facilitating groundbreaking research to find treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder. The United States-Israel PTSD Collaborative Research Act will help achieve this important goal by promoting cooperation between American and Israeli institutions to develop innovative cures for this condition.”

“Too many of our veterans come home to experience PTSD,” said Houlahan. “This, of course, is in no way their fault and we must do everything we can to support those who struggle and fight for them as they have for us. This legislation is another way to enhance our critical partnership with our democratic ally, Israel, as we work towards a common goal of combating PTSD. To all our veterans – we will never forget the sacrifices you have made and we will use every tool at our disposal to help you as you transition to civilian life.”

“Israel has long been our greatest ally and it’s no surprise that in the battle against PTSD, we are well-positioned to tackle this effort side by side,” said Zeldin. “It’s estimated that 20 US veterans per day take their own life, oftentimes due to the invisible wounds of war and we cannot afford to waste any time. Inspiring further research collaboration between our two nations will establish an international brain trust invaluable to the servicemembers of both our great countries.”

Over in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and Bob Menendez, D-NJ, are championing the proposal.

“Through research and science, the global medical community is starting to better understand and treat PTSD which often affects everyday people who we consider our friends and neighbors, such as veterans, law enforcement officers and victims of violence,” said Moran. “This legislation creates a grant program to support collaborations between American and Israeli research institutions to grow our understanding of this mental health condition and to provide treatment and hope for those who suffer from this disorder.”

“PTSD is a serious condition afflicting many of our friends and loved ones, service members, veterans, first responders, victims of violence and others who have faced severe traumas,” said Menendez. “Our bill will help bring the best and brightest minds and researchers together from the United States and Israel to develop greater understanding of the disorder and new treatments to improve people’s lives.”

Waltz’s bill was sent to the House Veterans Affairs Committee last week.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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