CONGRESSWOMAN SHEILA JACKSON MAKES HISTORY IN HELPING RAISE AWARENESS ON IMPACTS OF SPEECH DISFLUENCY ON NAVAL MIDSHIPMEN AND SECURES SUBSTANTIAL FUNDING INCREASES FOR PTSD SERVICES AND TRIPLE NEGATIVE BREAST CANCER RESEARCH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Robin K. Chand
July 12, 2019 202-225-3816
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Makes History in Helping Raise Awareness On Impacts of Speech Disfluency on Naval Midshipmen And Secures Substantial Funding Increases For PTSD Services And Triple Negative Breast Cancer Research In House Passage of Bipartisan FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act
Jackson Lee: “Building on efforts from previous years, the NDAA passed by the House contains a number of initiatives designed to provide the resources and support needed for the men and women who keep our nation safe. I am pleased that more of my amendments were adopted during House consideration of the NDAA than any other member of Congress.”
Washington, DC - Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior Member of the House Committees on Homeland Security and the Judiciary, released the following statement after the House passed the National Defense Authorization for Fiscal Year 2020:
“The National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) is designed to meet the threats we face today as well as into the future. The NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020 reflects the strong commitment of Congress to ensure that the men and women of our Armed Services receive the benefits and support that they deserve for their faithful service. The men and women who wear the uniform of our country deserve all the assistance they need to fulfill their critical mission. I am proud that the Congress, in a bipartisan manner, was able to support these heroes with the training, equipment and resources they need, and that they are worthy of the finest fighting force ever to walk the Earth.
“Building on efforts from previous years, the NDAA passed today by the House contains a number of initiatives designed to provide the resources and support needed for the men and women who keep our nation safe. I am pleased that many of my amendments were adopted during House consideration of the NDAA and as a result, had the most legislative proposals affixed to the NDAA than any other member of Congress. The legislation recognizes the reality that we live in a dangerous world, where threats are not always easily identifiable, and our enemies are not bound by borders. Confronting unique types of enemy requires unique capabilities. As we have seen time and time again, our military has the ability to track down violent extremists who wish to do our country harm, regardless of where they reside.
“The efficaciousness and utility of the provisions embodied in all the Jackson Lee Amendments is evident, but five Jackson Lee Amendment merit special attention.
“The first concerns speech therapy. This Jackson Lee Amendment Directs the Secretary of Defense to promulgate regulations to ensure that candidates granted admission to attend a military academy undergo screening for speech disorders and be provided the results of the screening test and a list of warfare unrestricted line (URL) Officer positions and occupation specialists that require successful performance on the speech test. Academy students shall have the option of undergoing speech therapy to reduce speech disorders or impediments. I offered this amendment to help entrance into military academies find the right career fit for their military service post-graduation. I learned about the issue of stuttering and its implications for a successful military career through the experiences of a Legislative Fellow currently serving in my Washington DC office. Knowing the contribution he has made to my office, I can only imagine how much good he could have done in the Navy, had his speech disorder not affected his promotion.
“It was gratifying that the Jackson Lee Amendment was strongly endorsed by the National Stuttering Association, which supports the effort to ensure that military academy candidates have access to, and options for, undergoing speech therapy to successfully manage speech disorders or impediments so that entry into Officer or Occupational Specialists positions in the military is possible. The National Stuttering Association is absolutely correct when it wrote: ‘Military personnel who stutter can be, and are, effective communicators and stuttering does not have to limit military career aspiration.’
“Two other Jackson Lee Amendments secured authorization for substantial increases in funding for Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ($10 million) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) services ($2.5 million).
“A fourth Jackson Lee Amendment concerns maternity mortality rates and seeks a report 180 days following enactment from the Secretary of the Department of Defense, which will include the Coast Guard, on maternity mortality rates among members of the Armed Forces and the dependents of such members. For every 100,000 births in the US in 2013 the Centers for Disease Control estimated that 17.3 mothers died, the highest maternal mortality rate of all industrialized countries—by several times over. Between 1990 and 2015 it is reported that maternal mortality rates around the world fell by 30%, while at the same time in the U.S., the ratio went up nearly 60%. A 2012 Pentagon report states that mothers delivering at military hospitals are more likely to hemorrhage after childbirth than mothers at civilian hospitals. More than 50,000 babies are born at military hospitals each year, and they are twice as likely to be injured during delivery as newborns nationwide. This Jackson Lee Amendment would provide a clearer understanding of the mortality rates of mothers: who were pregnant, undergoing delivery, or had delivered a child less than 1 year before their deaths.
“The fifth Jackson Lee Amendment concerns cyber security and requires a report from the Secretary of Defense 240 days after the date of the enactment to the congressional defense committees that accounts for all of the efforts, programs, initiatives, and investments of the Department of Defense to train elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students in fields related to cybersecurity, cyber defense, and cyber operations. This Jackson Lee amendment creates an audit requirement for the Department of Defense regarding its investments in cybersecurity training and education for our nation’s children K-12, post-secondary education, and apprenticeship programs. Currently there is no way to know what programs exists, whether there is duplication, which ones are effective, and which ones fail to measure up. This Jackson Lee Amendment will provide much needed oversight on cybersecurity education that is funded by DoD components. Given the high demand for cybersecurity professionals in the economy, it is imperative that the DoD, and other federal agencies figure out how to fill positions within agencies using talent already employed in the government. This Jackson Lee Amendment will provide much needed feedback on the programs already underway so that we can support the ones that are doing a good job and reprogram funds away from programs that are not doing the job.
“Together with these three, I am pleased that many more Jackson Lee Amendments were also adopted during House consideration of the NDAA. With the acceptance of these amendments, no other member of Congress had more amendments to the NDAA accepted and made in order.
“Specifically, the NDAA passed by the House incorporates the following Jackson Lee Amendments, addressing:
- Physical health concerns, by providing authorization for a $10 million increase in funding for increased collaboration with NIH to combat Triple Negative Breast Cancer;
- Mental health concerns, by providing authorization for $2.5 million increase in funding to combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- Speech therapy, by Directing the Secretary of Defense to promulgate regulations to ensure that candidates granted admission to attend a military academy undergo screening for speech disorders and be provided the results of the screening test and a list of warfare unrestricted line (URL) Officer positions and occupation specialists that require successful performance on the speech test. Academy students shall have the option of undergoing speech therapy to reduce speech disorders or impediments;
- Short term housing concerns, by adding a report to be submitted within 220 days following enactment on Capacity to Provide Disaster Survivors with Emergency Short Term Housing;
- Terrorist organizations, by condemning the actions of Boko Haram and directs that the Secretary of Defense submit a report on efforts to combat Boko Haram;
- Mitigating terrorist recruitment, by requiring Secretary of Defense to report to Congress programs and procedures employed to ensure students studying abroad through Department of Defense National Security Education Programs are trained to recognize, resist, and report against recruitment efforts by agents of foreign governments;
- Maternity Mortality Rates, by requiring a report on Maternity Mortality Rates for military members and their dependents;
- Space debris, by requiring that a report be submitted to Congress within 240 days following enactment on the risks posed by debris in low earth orbit and to make recommendations on remediation of risks and outline plans to reduce the incident of space debris;
- Cyber security, by requiring that a report from the Secretary of Defense 240 days after the date of the enactment to the congressional defense committees that accounts for all of the efforts, programs, initiatives, and investments of the Department of Defense to train elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students in fields related to cybersecurity, cyber defense, and cyber operations;
- Artificial intelligence, by adding to the objectives of the Artificial Intelligence Education Strategy to include instruction on the "opportunities and risks" posed by advancements in AI.
“Despite disagreements on key issues, Members of Congress in both chambers are capable of working across the aisle and with the White House to reach consensus on behalf of our fighting men and women. I am proud of the work we have accomplished on behalf of those who have dedicated their lives to keeping our nation free.”
Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and is Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.