Shaheen, Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce Bill to Support Victims of ‘Havana Syndrome’

December 08, 2020

**The legislation would support U.S. Diplomatic staff and others who have suffered head injuries from probable directed energy attacks like in Cuba and China**

**Shaheen has stood by these government employees and their families, spearheading legislative efforts to provide them benefits**

**On Monday’s TODAY Show, Shaheen responded to the findings of the National Academy of Sciences and underscored the urgent need to take action to address these attacks that have targeted American public servants and their families**

(Washington, DC) —In a bipartisan effort to support American public servants who have incurred brain injuries from probable microwave attacks, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees – and U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mark Warner (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Ben Sasse (R-NE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Burr (R-NC), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Tom Cotton (R-AR). introduced a bill today that would authorize additional compensation for injured individuals. 

Last week, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report on the more than 40 U.S. diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, and China, who suffered symptoms “consistent with the effects of directed, pulsed, radiofrequency energy.”  Ailments have included dizziness, tinnitus, visual problems, vertigo, and cognitive difficulties.  Although the attacks first began in late 2016, many of the affected personnel continue to suffer from health problems.

Under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), a federal employee may currently receive a schedule award if the employee suffers the loss or loss of use of a part of the body, but not if the impairment is to the brain, back, or heart.  The proposed legislation would provide the CIA Director and the Secretary of State additional authority to compensate their personnel who incur brain injuries in connection with war or a hostile act.

“The mysterious injuries afflicting U.S. public servants and their loved ones are serious and for far too long, these Americans have suffered without the health care they need to manage their symptoms and recover. Providing them access to long-term, emergency health benefits has been a top concern for me, which is why I’m glad to partner with Senator Collins and this bipartisan group of lawmakers to build on that important work,” said Senator Shaheen. “This legislation will add an important new benefit that the employees with brain injuries can use toward their long-term care and recovery. It also includes my language to ensure that federal retirees continue to have the option of accessing these benefits even after they have left government service. Federal employees impacted by these incidents should be heard, believed and assisted on their path to recovery. I’m encouraged by the bipartisan progress in Congress to address their needs, but more must be done to determine the causation of these attacks and prevent them from affecting any other employees.”

The additional compensation for brain injuries would be provided to injured State Department or CIA employees at the discretion of the agency head.  This legislation would also require the CIA and State Department to report to Congress on how this authority is being used and if additional legislative or administrative action is required. 

Click HERE to read the text of the bill.

Senator Shaheen has stood by government employees and their families who’ve suffered from these mysterious injuries, and leads efforts in Congress to provide them critical health benefits. In the final fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act released last week, Shaheen successfully included language to expand a provision in law that she wrote last year to provide long-term, emergency care benefits to all U.S. Government employees and their dependents who were mysteriously injured while working in China and Cuba. Shaheen’s measure to amend the law follows her letter with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in May, calling on the administration to interpret the law as intended by Congress. Senator Rubio partnered with her on this effort. The New York Times and GQ recently detailed reports of these mysterious injuries and described them as the result of an attack. The Washington Post Editorial Board also voiced its support for Shaheen’s efforts. On Monday’s TODAY Show, Shaheen responded to the findings of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and underscored the urgent need to take action to address these attacks that have targeted American public servants and their families. Last Saturday, she called for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to address what is being done to uncover the source of the attacks and to protect American public servants.