Jul 23 2012
This week in Washington, I was delighted to welcome the National Down Syndrome Congress "Hike the Hill" Day participants to the U.S. Capitol. On Thursday morning, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and I took the participants on the House floor and had the opportunity to meet with them to discuss the issues facing the Down syndrome community and how we can continue to advocate on behalf of them in Congress.
Also this week, Delaware Governor Jack Markell announced his initiative for the National Governors Association: “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People With Disabilities.” Earlier this year, I was delighted to join Governor Markell, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and executives from more than a dozen major U.S. companies in launching a public-private initiative to remove obstacles to employing people with disabilities. In Newsweek’s online publication, The Daily Beast, there is an article detailing my work with Governor Markell and others that you can view here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/18/democratic-gov-jack-markell-gop-rep-pete-sessions-unite-to-help-disabled-find-jobs.html.
Due to the inaction of Senate leaders and President Obama, the House passed, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner, the Sequestration Transparency Act which requires President Obama to submit a report to Congress detailing how the Administration plans to implement these devastating cuts. I believe the American people, small businesses and our nation’s servicemen and women deserve full transparency on the impacts of these arbitrary spending cuts, and I applaud my colleagues for bring this important legislation to the House floor this week.
Our amendment secures funding for a five-year pilot program that allows military patients to receive health care from private physicians who are utilizing an array of leading-edge, successful therapies to treat TBI and PTSD. Physicians may qualify for payment from the Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs through a “pay-for-performance” plan, meaning they must prove that a patient has experienced demonstrable improvement. Treatment and reimbursement safeguards in the amendment ensure access to innovative private treatments while reserving payment only for treatments that work.
Thousands of our nation’s soldiers and veterans return from combat suffering from TBI and PTSD, and I strongly believe we as a nation have a solemn duty to ensure that they have access to the most effective treatments available. I am pleased that the House approved this initiative to prioritize treatment results over treatment location, and I urge the Senate to adopt this amendment to assist our brave servicemen and women, as well.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in 2008, Captain Malcolm received his promotion to Captain earlier this month. I am pleased to congratulate Captain Malcolm on this remarkable achievement and promise him—and the rest of the members of our armed services—my continued, steadfast support in Congress.