This week, the 116th Congress was sworn in on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, that means that the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force lost one of its Chairs, Congressman Thomas Rooney (FL), who did not seek reelection.
Having served in the Army for 4 years in combat and 4 years in the reserve, Rooney accorded special attention to brain injury in the military on the Task Force. This summer, it was reported, “House Approves Rooney-Requested Funding for Traumatic Brain Injuries.” (Seen now on the website VoteSmart, this article is a repost first seen on the official Congressional website for Rooney, which is now defunct.) The requested funding given was $125 million.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rooney dealt with the financing of government bills and other such actions. (The House Ways and Means Committee is also focused on financial needs, a Committee that counts co-chair of the Brain Injury Task Force Congressman Pascrell as a member.) Of this victory, Rooney stated, “The reality is our service members take great risks when they enlist to fight for our country. One of the biggest risks is TBIs, which can lead to severe mental health issues like depression and even suicide. These problems are serious and real and each dollar we spend towards research and treatment puts us one step closer to helping our military.” (It is important to note that the VA conducts research that benefits all Americans, not simply those in the armed forces.)
Rooney is succeeded in Florida’s 17th District by former State Legislator Greg Steube. Like his predecessor, Steube is a veteran with 4 years in combat. Hopefully, Steube will have as much consideration for brain injury as his predecessor, too.