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Brain Injury Association of America: Legislative Update

The Brain Injury Association of America has requested that I post the following summary of this week's legislative activity. 

This week marked a major legislative victory for the brain injury community, as President Bush officially signed into law legislation reauthorizing the TBI Act (S. 793) on Monday, April 28!  Congratulations to all BIAA state affiliates, advocates, and national stakeholders who helped make TBI Act reauthorization a reality.  To view a copy of BIAA’s official press release applauding this major accomplishment, please visit the brain injury association of america web site.

In other exciting news, BIAA proudly endorsed The Caring for Wounded Warriors Act of 2008 (S. 2921), legislation introduced on Monday, April 28 by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton which would increase support for family caregivers of servicemembers with TBI.  Several recommendations made by BIAA during the legislative drafting process were incorporated into the bill.  A copy of BIAA’s Letter of Endorsement for S. 2921 will be available shortly on the brain injury association web site.

Also this week, a report was released by the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General which found that the VA is not providing the necessary standard of support and long-term follow-up assistance needed by veterans with TBI and their families.

In addition, after the House of Representatives passed by a veto-proof margin last week important legislation which would place a moratorium until March 2009 on several harmful Medicaid regulations (H.R. 5613), the fate of the bill was left up to the Senate.  Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) attempted to bring the bill up on the Unanimous Consent Calendar, but this attempt was blocked by Senator Coburn (R-OK).  Now there is an effort to get the bill included in the FY 2008 Supplemental Appropriations bill.  BIAA continues to strongly endorse H.R. 5613 and supports efforts to include the bill in the FY 2008 Supplemental Appropriations bill.

As a final note, BIAA is waiting to see if Congress will be able to establish a budget this year before sending out its Legislative Action Alert on FY 2009 TBI Appropriations.  There is speculation that Congress may indeed be able to achieve a budget agreement in the upcoming next few weeks, and BIAA’s Appropriations Action Alert will be sent out shortly thereafter.

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