Includes funding for medical assistance, research, therapy and more

Texas Border Business

WASHINGTON — Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) included funding and language to improve the health and welfare for our troops through medical assistance, wound care innovation, cancer research, and therapy to help facilitate recover after military service in a fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill. The legislation, which was signed into law by the President at the end of September, included the defense and labor, health, and education spending bills.

The Congressman’s language consists of a few parts:

Helping Wounded Troops

First, he helped secure $45 million in funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) to invest in advanced wound healing technology. These funds will help the DoD develop a rapidly deployable wound care therapy to address infection and complex trauma, which will lead to a higher survivability rate during combat. Specifically, this money will fund the Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program (JWMRP), which funds medical research and technology with the goal of providing wounded service members with lifesaving care within the first hour after an injury occurs, reducing the number of battlefield casualties.

Curing Infectious Diseases

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The bill contains language recognizing how important DoD research and development is to protecting service members from infectious diseases they may encounter on international missions. The language also emphasizes the importance of funding the Military Infectious Diseases Research Program, which manages research for the DoD on naturally occurring infectious diseases with a focus on protecting troops through the development of vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. This language also encourages the Department to explore solutions for life-threatening battlefield complications, such as sepsis and other infections through the use of telemedicine and other technologies. These funds will increase disease surveillance, rapid detection, outbreak response and epidemiology which will provide an early warning of emerging infectious disease threats to service members.

Fighting Rare Cancers

Congressman Cuellar included language that directs the DoD to conduct more extensive research of rare cancers affecting our service members and veterans. Military personnel are uniquely exposed to carcinogens that may increase the risk of certain cancers. As a result, those who serve in the military face unusually high incidence rates of more than two dozen cancers, over half of which are considered rare. This language will directly assist peer-reviewed cancer research programs at a variety of medical centers, including the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the National Institute of Cancer, to help deliver enhanced cancer treatment for all service members and their families.

Therapy Dogs for the Wounded

In the bill, the Congressman helped secure $10 million, a $5 million increase from FY18, to fund therapeutic service dog training for wounded veterans. These service dogs have proven to be effective aides for military services members wounded in combat who require assistance after returning home. With so many veterans returning from war, bearing both physical and emotional scars, therapy dogs are a vital resource and a treatment that works. The service animal training program is a world-class program and furthers Congressman Cuellar’s commitment to caring for the men and women who courageously fight for our country.

“I want to ensure that the men and women of our Armed Forces have the resources they need to properly recover after they proudly serve our country,” Congressman Cuellar said. “The language that I helped include will increase funding in this year’s Defense Appropriations bill, supporting critical medical research programs that protect our troops from infectious diseases and deliver enhanced cancer treatment for all service members and their families.”

Congressman Cuellar added, “I would like to thank my fellow Appropriators, Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Visclosky, for helping me secure these funds. This money will aid our military in recovery, ensuring that they return to leading healthy lives.”