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Pascrell Traumatic Brain Injury Bill Passes Full Energy and Commerce Committee

Legislation offering critical support to combat TBI heads to House floor next

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the co-founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Trask Force, celebrated the unanimous passage in the full House Energy and Commerce Committee of his bill, the Dennis John Benigno Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 7208). By a vote of 44-0 the Committee approved the bill named `for Benigno, a Pascrell constituent and North Jersey resident who suffered a TBI when he was struck by a car as a pedestrian.

“A traumatic brain injury is a terrible burden for millions of Americans who suffer one, but also their family members and loved ones, too,” said Congressman Pascrell. “The TBI Act remains the top federal program to support the needs of 5.3 million Americans living with lifelong disabilities due to traumatic brain injury. From vehicle accidents to youth sports to servicemembers wounded in combat, the causes of brain injuries are diverse and those suffering with the aftereffects need our attention and federal resources to combat this silent epidemic. My bill will help raise awareness for TBI and building support to treat it. I am hopeful it will pass the full House soon.”

“I also want to thank my colleague from New Jersey, Mr. Pascrell, for his tireless advocacy in support of people with brain injuries. More than two decades ago, Congressman Pascrell founded the bipartisan Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and since then they’ve enacted laws and secured hundreds of millions of dollars in support of accident victims, veterans, athletes, and others experiencing traumatic brain injury,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06). “The bipartisan work today of our committee is our chance to honor [Dennis John Benigno’s] and so many others’ legacies affected from TBI.”

In February 2024, Congressman Pascrell offered detailed testimony to the Health Subcommittee, recommending passage of his legislation.

H.R. 7208, as amended and reported by the committee, does the following:

  • Designates the reauthorization in honor of Congressman Pascrell’s constituent, Dennis John Benigno, who was the Congressman’s inspiration to champion Traumatic Brain Injury in the Congress to the, ‘Dennis John Benigno Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization Act of 2024’;
  • Increases the authorization level for the TBI State Partnership Program for fiscal years 2025 to 2029;
  • Directs the Secretary of Health & Human Services to conduct a study about federally designating brain injury as a chronic condition;
  • Prioritizes clarifying service eligibility for the TBI Act to make distinctions between external force injuries versus those that are internal force injuries;
  • Continues to Authorize the CDC TBI Programs and National Concussion Surveillance System for data collection of the disease prevalence of brain injuries; and
  • Reduces the state match requirement for the State Partnership Program Grant from 50% to 25% to ensure that more states are eligible for program participation.

“The issue of Traumatic Brain Injury became a personal matter to me early in my first term when I met with one of my constituents, Mr. Dennis John Benigno. Before then, I had no intimate knowledge about TBI nor its terrible impact on families. This became the impetus behind my passion for championing the cause in the Congress … Dennis’s courage, dedication, and love became my primary inspiration to try and make a difference in the fight for Americans living with TBI.” Pascrell told the Health panel in February about his Clifton, New Jersey, constituents. Dennis John Benigno sadly passed away in late January.

Founded by Congressman Pascrell in 2001, the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force’s mission is to further provide education and awareness of brain injury (incidence, prevalence, prevention and treatment) and support funding for basic and applied research on brain injury rehabilitation and development of a cure. The partisan bill was cosponsored by task force co-chair, U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE).

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