Bipartisan bill, backed by Jewish vets in Congress, would join US and Israel in PTSD research

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A slate of Democrats and Republicans, including two Jewish military veterans, introduced a bill that would join U.S. and Israeli researchers seeking to treat PTSD.

The bill introduced Thursday would establish a grant program for American universities and nonprofits to team up with Israeli counterparts to research post-traumatic stress disorder.

Its sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives are Democrats Elaine Luria of Virginia and Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania and Republicans Michael Waltz of Florida and Lee Zeldin of New York. Luria and Zeldin are Jewish and Houlahan’s father is Jewish; all three are military veterans.

In the Senate, the sponsors are Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, and Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican.

“Too many of our bravest men and women come home with invisible wounds from the trauma they experienced while fighting for our country,” Luria said in a release. “Congress can uphold its end of the promise by facilitating groundbreaking research to find treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Zeldin, the lead spokesman on Israel issues for Republicans, said in the same release, “It’s estimated that 20 US veterans per day take their own life, oftentimes due to the invisible wounds of war and we cannot afford to waste any time. Inspiring further research collaboration between our two nations will establish an international brain trust invaluable to the servicemembers of both our great countries.”

Waltz and Luria advanced a similar bill last year, but it went nowhere. Now the measure has Senate backing and is getting off the ground early, suggesting it has a better chance of becoming law.