Legislative alert from the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)
2014 Advocacy Message
As the second session of the 113th Congress begins, BIAA looks forward to the next year with enthusiasm for our legislative priorities. Even though Congress will face midterm elections this year, BIAA is hopeful for TBI Act reauthorization in 2014!
With the budget accord reached before the winter holiday recess by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, appropriators can now finish work on a fiscal 2014 omnibus spending bill before funding runs out on January 15. The budget accord established overall discretionary spending levels for both fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015 that will make it easier for lawmakers to move some of the 12 fiscal 2015 appropriations bills that it has been handled by Continuing Resolution in recent years. BIAA will continue to monitor appropriations and advocate for funding of TBI programs in the President's Fiscal Year 2015 budget. Appropriations increases in 2014 are unlikely with the current political environment, but BIAA still has opportunity to elevate our cause in Congress.
As in 2013, BIAA looks forward to collaborating on our policy agenda in 2014. Our champions on Capitol Hill, Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and Tom Rooney (R-FL) will lead our efforts to reauthorize the TBI Act and will host Brain Injury Awareness Day with the members of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force on March 12, 2014. The TBI Act, H.R. 1098, was voted out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce at the end of 2013 and BIAA looks forward to floor debate in the full House of Representatives early this year. The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force will assist BIAA in promoting our other policy goals that include increasing access to high quality care and maintaining vital brain injury research.
BIAA will also be monitoring the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to ensure individuals are not denied brain injury services which would be a violation of the ACA. BIAA will collect quantitative and qualitative data throughout 2014 and report the information to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
BIAA will also continue to monitor and comment on the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs' research and treatment for active duty military, their dependents, and Veterans in 2014.
BIAA will collaborate with our federal agency partners in 2014, including Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Administration for Community Living, and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education, and continue to participate in the many health and disability coalitions whose members share our goals.
BIAA appreciates all the efforts and involvement of our grassroots in the legislative process. Thank you! In 2013 you witnessed your hard work in action as the TBI Act, H.R. 1098 moved successfully out of committee in the House of Representatives. BIAA will continue to count on its grassroots advocates to show members of Congress how important brain injury is to their constituents in 2014. You have all truly made a difference and we hope to continue that excitement and dedication in 2014!
Brain Injury Awareness Day 2014
Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill will be on Wednesday March 12, 2014. As in years past the day will begin with the Brain Injury Awareness Fair in the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer followed by a Congressional Briefing which will be held in the Capitol Visitor's Center, meeting room south. The day will end with a reception in the Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room to celebrate Brain Injury Awareness Month. All are welcome to attend the day's events! Additional details regarding the awareness day will be posted in Policy Corner. If you plan to attend please make appointments with your Representatives and Senator's to advocate for funding for TBI programs and research. BIAA thanks Reps. Pascrell (D-NJ) and Rooney (R-FL), co chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, for leading Brain Injury Awareness Day. BIAA is committed to assisting the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force plan a successful event. I hope to see you in Washington, D.C. this March!