(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee, reacted to the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illness report released today that concludes that Gulf War Illness is real and that it still affects many of the 700,000 service members who served in the first Gulf War. The report also called on Congress to increase VA spending to find a cure for the multi-symptom illness. Senator Murray has consistently called on the VA to recognize Gulf War illness as real, has pushed for more research funding, and held hearings on this issue in Washington state in 1997 and in Washington, D.C. in 2007.
“This report leaves no doubt that Gulf War illness is real and impacting hundreds of thousands of Gulf War veterans. Gulf War veterans have been waiting over 17 years for the vindication this report provides. It’s our job to ensure they don’t have to wait any longer for the VA to begin working on a cure and compensating veterans for their service-connected injuries.
“I stand ready to work with the incoming Obama Administration to make sure the VA has the resources it needs to increase research, outreach, and treatment efforts for ill Gulf War veterans. We cannot lose sight of the importance of treating and tracking these men and women, especially at a time when the physical and mental injuries facing veterans of current wars demands so much of our resources and attention. Today’s report should also serve as a reminder to the VA and Department of Defense that we must learn from our past by screening today's service members before and after deployment to the Gulf."