Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), Ranking Member Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Vic Snyder (D-AR), Subcommittee Ranking Member John McHugh (R-NY), and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) today introduced H.R. 1538, the Wounded Warrior Assistance Act of 2007.   


            “Americans were rightly outraged by reports of substandard facilities and bureaucratic roadblocks affecting service members at our military medical facilities.  Today I am pleased to join my colleagues as a sponsor of this bipartisan legislation, which forms our initial legislative response to address the most compelling of the issues that have emerged surrounding the treatment of wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  As we move beyond this initial effort, we will remain focused on developing legislative solutions that will ensure our wounded warriors continue to receive the quality care that is expected by all Americans,” said Chairman Skelton


“The Wounded Warriors bill is a solid step in ensuring that our brave warfighters injured in combat receive the finest care.  We enhance the medical holdover system so our military personnel and their families can complete the process in a more expeditious and effortless manner.  Once we hear the recommendations of the Dole-Shalala Commission, we’ll be in a better position to take additional steps,” said Ranking Member Hunter.  “However, make no mistake about this point.  The circumstances at Walter Reed are not a reflection on the hard work and dedication exhibited day in and day out by the incredible military medical professionals who are responsible for saving countless lives.  They should be celebrated as the heroes they are.”


            Subcommittee Chairman Snyder said, "The recent revelations at Walter Reed clearly show the need for changes.  We owe those wounded warriors sent there our gratitude and better treatment than they have received so far.  This bill won't fix every problem we've heard about, but it is intended to be a bipartisan first step in cutting through the bureaucracy and making sure that our service men and women are treated right. "


“This legislation provides an important first step in addressing the major issues that have arisen recently about the treatment of our wounded service members,” Subcommittee Ranking Member McHugh said.  “With it, we would put in place mechanisms to better ensure quality care – and a continuum of care for the brave men and women who risk their lives in defense of America’s freedoms.  We certainly owe them nothing less than the reassurance that they will receive the best care and treatment available throughout the DOD and VA systems.  I have been and continue to be committed to delivering on this promise for each and every member of our Armed Services.”


“Our troops deserve a seamless transition from active duty to the VA system,” said Chairman Filner.  “The Wounded Warrior Assistance Act would provide for a pilot program to streamline the records transmission process between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The majority of returning wounded will enter the VA system for their medical care and it is our test as a nation to provide the finest and most timely medical attention for our troops and veterans.” 


H.R. 1538, the Wounded Warrior Assistance Act of 2007, provides the people, training, and oversight mechanisms needed to ensure that our wounded warriors feel secure that they will always receive committed quality care and that the system will not fail them.  The legislation also sets the stage for much needed reform of administrative processes that will restore member confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the disability evaluation system and begin the process of achieving a truly seamless transition of service members to the Department of Veterans Affairs programs.


A copy and a summary of the legislation are attached.  The House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to mark up H.R. 1538 at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, in Room 2118 Rayburn.