Pascrell Lauds Final Passage of Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act
Bipartisan legislation growing TBI research heads to White House
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, celebrated the passage in the House of Representatives of H.R. 6615, the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program Reauthorization Act of 2018. The legislation extends federal TBI programs through 2024 and authorizes resources to boost the CDC’s efforts to launch a National Concussion Surveillance System as a means to fill longstanding data gaps and provide a better estimate of the TBI burden. With the House concurring to the Senate’s amendments to the bill, it now goes to the White House for the President’s signature.
“Brain injuries are some of the most calamitous and debilitating one can endure. And to make matters worse, they are not taken as seriously as they deserve to be treated because it is not a visible injury. They can take years to heal and can require a lifetime of rehabilitation. I am pleased this bill had powerful support from both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress,” said Rep. Pascrell, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. “This critical funding will help federal agencies, states, and local providers continue to conduct breakthrough research while providing support to service members on and off the battlefield, athletes on the ballfield, and patients across the country who are living with brain injuries. Once this legislation is signed by the President, those living with brain injury and their families can rest assured that better treatments and potential cures are in the not-too-distant future.”
The TBI Reauthorization Act provides funding to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement a study on the extent of brain injury for the first time. Additionally, this legislation will modernize how the federal government oversees TBI research, treatment options, and prevention measures. H.R. 6616 also provides an adjustment to account for the increase in funding for TBI that Rep. Pascrell fought to pass in the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill earlier this year. The TBI Reauthorization Act increases the federal investment in these critical TBI programs by nearly $40 million, totaling over $115 million, a long overdue increase that will dramatically improve the way this country understands, responds to, and prevents brain injury.
Earlier today, Rep. Pascrell spoke on the House floor in support of the TBI Reauthorization Act, which can be viewed here.
The Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization of 2018 is supported by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA), the American Academy of Neurology, and the Association of Academic Physiatrists.
For two decades, Rep. Pascrell has been a leader in advancing brain injury policy on Capitol Hill. He co-founded the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force in 2001 and has served as task force co-chair since its inception. The Task Force works to increase awareness of brain injury in the United States, supports research initiatives for rehabilitation and potential cures, and strives to address the effects these injuries have on all Americans, including children, members of the Armed Forces, and athletes.
Rep. Pascrell also champions funding for programs at the Department of Defense that go towards TBI research and treatment, such as the Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence.