A bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Reps. Elise Stefanik and Eric Swalwell would expand the notification requirements and ensure members of Congress have important information regarding U.S. troops who are wounded while serving abroad.
The Expanding Wounded in Action Notification Act would require members of Congress to be informed when a constituent who is serving in the U.S. military is seriously wounded and hospitalized.
The existing requirement allows members of Congress to receive notifications when a seriously wounded service member, who is also a constituent, is transferred to a military hospital in the U.S. But it doesn't apply when a wounded service member is hospitalized abroad.
The Stefanik-Swalwell bill would change that and allow members of Congress to receive updates whenever a seriously wounded military service member is hospitalized, even if it's in an overseas military hospital.
Stefanik's district is home to Fort Drum and the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, one of the most deployed units during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Under current law, members of Congress are only notified about a combat injury to one of our constituents serving in the military if the individual is transferred to a hospital in the United States," said Stefanik, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. "This legislation gives us a better chance to support their families in their time of need."
Swalwell noted the importance of representatives receiving notification on wounded service members from their districts. He said the information is needed so that their offices can contact families and assist them.
"Every member of Congress needs to know when a constituent who has put his or her life on the line for our nation is seriously wounded in action," he said.