Congress has decided to expand the meaning of what entails being in “combat” as well as what constitutes being engaged in a combat operation. This means a cook who witnessed the aftermath of a roadside bombing or a medic who was trapped inside a hosptial during a rocket attac, can also qualify for benefits of medical attention. Congressman Hall noted:
“There are cases of people coming home from Iraq with all the classic symptoms(of PTSD) and being denied care.” Rep. Ciro Rodriguez pointed out the first US soldier captured in the Iraq conflict was a mechanic.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, the only Republican member of the subcommitee of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, contested a provision of the proposed Democratic bill which requires the VA to immediately award disability benefits to a seriously wounded service member with obvious injuries such as loss of limb. The VA would begin immediate payment while the veteran waits the official 183 days for the determination of disablity.
The Congress of the United States of American authorized the Iraq war and now must bear the consequences of that decision. War is not pretty. Congressman Lamborn worries about “overcompensating and undercompensating people all over the place,” which is the type of comment one can expect from someone who did not serve in the front lines of Iraq.