FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: James Arnold or Mary Collins Atkinson (202) 224-2353
May 28, 2021 

Cotton, Collins, Gillibrand, Shaheen Introduce Bill to Improve Officers’ Access to Care at Walter Reed

Washington, D.C. — Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) today introduced legislation to ensure wounded officers and their families have immediate access to specialized facilities at Walter Reed.

“Brave Americans wounded in the service of our country deserve every measure of our support. I’m proud to join my colleagues on this important part of a long campaign to care for our men and women in uniform and hold their attackers responsible,” said Cotton.

“It is unacceptable that some victims of probable directed energy attacks did not receive the medical support they should have expected from our government when they were injured,” said Collins. “American personnel who have undergone these attacks while serving our country should be treated the same way we would treat a soldier who suffered a traumatic injury on the battlefield. Walter Reed Medical Center has a world-renowned treatment center for TBIs, and our bipartisan legislation would ensure non-DOD personnel have prompt access to this top-notch care.”

“Over the past several years, U.S. government employees and their families have experienced attacks that have left them suffering from symptoms of ‘Havana Syndrome,’ which include headaches, memory problems and brain damage. Congress not only has a duty to protect these men, women and families, but we must provide them with high-quality health care. The bipartisan Walter Reed Injury Recovery (WIRE) Act will ensure that individuals suffering from Havana Syndrome can receive care at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed, the nation’s top facility for treating such injuries. I am proud to work with my colleagues on this important legislation, which upholds our commitment to the men and women who bravely serve our nation,” said Gillibrand.

“For American public servants suffering from brain injuries due to reported directed-energy attacks, living with the symptoms of their ailments and having to fight for medical treatment has been an absolute nightmare. That is completely unacceptable – our personnel deserve better,” said Shaheen. “This has been a top priority of mine for years, and I’m glad to continue bipartisan efforts in the Senate with Senator Cotton and this group of lawmakers on new legislation that would require timely access to Walter Reed facilities for medical treatment. I’ll continue working across the aisle to care for public servants who’ve been targeted by these attacks and will keep up efforts to uncover the source of these incidents to protect American personnel.”

Walter Reed Army National Military Medical Center and its National Intrepid Center of Excellence has been the nation’s premier institution for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries for more than a decade. The WIRe Act will ensure that all U.S. Government personnel who may have suffered a brain injury as the result of an attack during the course of their duties receives immediate treatment at this facility. It also directs elements of the departments and agencies of the federal government to remove any bureaucratic impediments to the immediate delivery of needed services.

Background:

  • In February, Senator Cotton questioned Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director nominee Ambassador William Burns about medical care for paramilitary officers.

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