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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2015-01-12

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    JACKSON LEE asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.) Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, this is an appropriate and wonderful statement of two distinguished Members of Congress, the chairman and ranking member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, and I associate myself with their words on how crucial this legislation is, and what an important statement the Veterans' Affairs Committee is making: that there is no party affiliation when it comes to saving the lives of our men and women who put on the uniform.

    To the author of this bill, Mr. Walz, as I chatted with him on the floor, I indicated to him that just this weekend I met for hours with two wounded warriors, both of them having experience with PTSD, both of them being challenged about the transition into civilian life, both of them knowing of this legislation, feeling left out and deprived that it did not, despite the valiant effort of this House, pass in the last Congress.

    So let me congratulate all of you for recognizing that this is a crucial, lifesaving element of the men and women that we stand and admire and love. Every day, 22 veterans take their lives, but it is 8,000 a year.

    And if I might say, Texas walks alongside of Florida and other States in having the highest number of returning vets. Two million served in Iraq and Afghanistan across the Nation. Now, one-third, 600,000, have experienced traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

    From the early years of working with then-Chairman and Ranking Member Murtha, I was privileged to bring $1 million to my district for PTSD, but that is not the heart of it.

    The bleeding and the sorrow of these men and women is not befitting of the service and the uniform that they put on. Not one moment should they wait at a veterans hospital for treatment for PTSD that should keep them grounded. Not one moment should they be alone contemplating suicide, without treatment and friends and family having assistance.

    This bill makes that statement, H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt SAV Act. It says that you are not alone and that we have put our actions where our words are. We have walked the walk.

    So I want to say to those wounded warriors who shared their heart with me, proudly come back and say: This bill is moving, and as it moves to the United States Senate, this bill is moving. And as we look to the President's desk, a signature will allow this bill to be in place.

    To those who missed the deadline, this law will allow you to still be able to receive that treatment because it allows an extended time for those who have missed the deadline.

    I know as I go back home to Texas and meet families that they are looking for action when it comes to our beloved veterans and those who have put on the uniform to serve this Nation as they watched their comrades die. This is a bill that says, God bless America.

    {time} 1730 The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.

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