Kucinich Garners $10 Million For Gulf War Veterans Illness Research

Dandelion Salad

by Dennis Kucinich

Amendment Will Expand On Studies For Treatment, Bringing Us Closer To Identifying A Cure

Washington, Dec 12 – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) declared victory for veterans of the first Gulf War by garnering $10 million for Gulf War Illness (GWI) research in the Department of Defense Authorization bill that passed the House today.

This is the second victory for Gulf War veterans this year. Kucinich won the same amount of money in the Defense Appropriations bill on August 5, 2007. Together, the two victories lock in the research funds.

“This research will build on previous studies on Gulf War Illness, which have recently yielded promising results,” Kucinich said. “This funding will take giant steps forward in identifying a treatment or a cure for Gulf War Veteran’s illness.”

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ most recent study, 175,000 Gulf War veterans continue to suffer from serious and persistent health problems – typically multiple symptoms that include severe headaches, memory problems, muscle and joint pain, severe gastrointestinal problems, respiratory problems, skin disorders and other problems. These conditions are often called “Gulf War illnesses” or Gulf War syndrome. Gulf War veterans suffer from ALS – or Lou Gehrig’s disease – at double the rate of their non-deployed peers.

“There are currently no effective treatments for these conditions. While the research possibilities are opening up, the funding for research has been on a steady downward spiral. Without these victories, there would be no dedicated funding to this essential research,” Kucinich said.

The Kucinich authorization victory comes on the heels of a letter sent by Kucinich and the bipartisan leadership of both the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Health Subcommittee of the Veterans Affairs Committee. The appropriations victory was also bipartisan, resulting from a request by Kucinich and Congressman Chris Shays (R-CT). Both efforts had the support of major veterans’ organizations.

“As we consider the sacrifices of young men and women in uniform today, we must not abandon those who have served previously. This amendment will have a wide-reaching impact on veterans who rely on the government to take care of them after they have taken care of us.”

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