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Bilirakis Selected to Serve as Conferee, Continues to Champion Changes to Help Active Duty Military and Veterans

November 19, 2020
Press Release

Contact:  Summer Blevins, 727-232-2921


Bilirakis Selected to Serve as Conferee, Continues to Champion Changes to Help Active Duty Military and Veterans


Washington, D.C.:  Earlier today, Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Lead Republican on the House VA Economic Development Subcommittee, was honored to be named to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Committee. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and across the Capitol to finalize a strong, robust NDAA. The defense of our nation is a top priority, as is ensuring active duty military preparedness and caring for our Veterans. The NDAA is a vital piece of legislation, and I will make sure we get it done right,” said Congressman Bilirakis.

I’ve known Gus for years now, and I can say with absolute certainty is that he never stops working to protect our country, support our men and women in uniform, and honor our veterans. Throughout his time in Congress, he has worked directly with issues related to our homeland security, including on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology where he currently serves. With his previous NDAA conferee experience, I know that Gus will bring a wealth of institutional knowledge, a keen eye for detail, and an ardent desire to ensure that our military’s priorities are supported in this year’s defense bill,” said Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. 


Congressman Gus Bilirakis coauthored five NDAA provisions that passed the House earlier this year.  Each provision seeks to remedy an injustice Veterans are facing, enhances care and services available to members of the military, their families or Veterans, or enhances U.S. national security.   “Each year, through the NDAA, we have an opportunity to work on bipartisan measures that will improve the lives of those who proudly serve or have served our nation,” said Congressman Bilirakis.  “Among other priorities, the amendments I’ve co-sponsored will help protect heroes who have been exposed to dangerous toxins during their service.  These steps are long overdue, and during the Conference Committee, I will urge my colleagues in the Senate to support these initiatives.”


Read below to learn more about each of the five amendments.


  1. The Ruiz/Bilirakis Burn Pit Studies amendment would require the DoD to submit a report to Congress on the status, methodology, & timeline of current research and studies being conducted to assess burn pit health effects.  American heroes are already getting sick and some are dying from complications related to exposure.   They can’t afford for federal agencies to continue to waste time on endless studies regarding widely-recognized scientific facts.  Additional oversight is certainly warranted.  


  1. The Ruiz/Bilirakis Burn Pit Training amendment would provide mandatory training for all DoD medical providers with respect to potential effects of burn pits.  It is important that the doctors treating our heroes know the most current research available and are able to look for possible signs or symptoms, as early detection could save lives. 


  1. The Welch/Bilirakis Burn Pit exposure and COVID-19 amendment would require the Tricare COVID-19 Registry to include any prior respiratory illnesses and information from the burn pit registry for the beneficiary.


  1. The Chiropractic services amendment would require the Defense Health Agency to produce a report on the feasibility, efficacy, and cost of expanding coverage for chiropractic care to military families and retirees under the Tricare program.  Chiropractic services can be a cost-effective and preventive tool for treating chronic pain.


  1. The Greek Diplomatic Engagement amendment would provide a feasibility study on increased rotational deployments to Greece and enhanced United States-Greece diplomatic engagement.  Such an enhancement of the United States’ Strategic Partnership with Greece would be a benefit to both nations.