Ladies and gents, there’s so much the Congress of the United States needs to pay attention to — kinda like an appropriations process that doesn’t get bastardized into a 2,000-page Omnibus spending bill.
But leave it to Congress to get engaged in something which truly is not the business of our elected officials.
As reported by Roll Call, “Concussion,” the eagerly awaited feature film about a doctor who takes on the NFL to warn about the neurological dangers of America’s most popular sport, will be released on Christmas Day. The Oscar-bait movie, starring Will Smith as Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who diagnosed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is being released just three days after the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced it would initiate a wide-ranging investigation into concussions when Congress returns in January.
“We often hear about concussions in the context of service members and athletes, but this problem goes well beyond the battlefield and the gridiron. It’s a matter of public health as these injuries are prevalent in all ages and across the population. Unfortunately, there’s a lot we don’t know about head trauma — how it effects different subsets of the population, the short and long term effects, and other details critical to developing effective diagnostics and treatments,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a statement Tuesday announcing his panel’s intentions.
Congress frequently flexes its investigative arm into the realm of sports when scandal strikes or the issue becomes big enough it can’t be ignored any longer. Eight years ago this month, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine, delivered a scathing report on steroid use in Major League Baseball to the sport’s commissioner.”Why does the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee believe a wide-ranging investigation into concussions in the NFL is necessary? If Chairman Fred Upton wants to know about head trauma, have a doggone hearing about TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and why we’re not doing more for our men and women in uniform to cope. It’s even being used by ISIS in a recruiting video — the same one with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — that our veterans are committing suicide at a rate of 18 to 22 a day (which is why I wear the #22Kill ring on my right hand trigger finger).
Congress wasted how much in time and resources in hearings about grown men sticking needles into their butts – steroids? It’s not a matter for congressional inquiry. What next, shall Congress look into binge drinking on college campuses? Or how about excessive work hours leading to heavy doses of caffeine on Wall Street?
Could it be Chairman Upton is helping to promote the release of the film? Maybe he’ll bring in Will Smith to testify. After all, Smith did play a forensic pathologist.
Ok, before the liberal progressives go apoplectic, I do love football, and of course my heart goes out to families such as Junior Seau’s. However, I do not subscribe to the belief that this is a matter of Congressional inquiry. What does Congress believe its role to be? I say fix the broken veteran’s healthcare system and find ways to treat our men and women in uniform.
How about a hearing on new combat headgear for our troops? What about better measures to defeat IEDs — LTG Barbero did a great job with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. How about a hearing with some of the cutting-edge medical practitioners who’ve been treating our troops suffering from TBI?
Sadly, there are times when Hollywood drives our federal legislative body. I recall having to sit in a House Armed Services Committee hearing to listen to testimony from Ben Affleck about insurgencies in Africa. Of course the young ladies were giddy.
I want y’all to remember this hearing if we find ourselves once again at the end of the year “hearing” about another 2,000-page Omnibus spending bill because Congress didn’t get the twelve appropriations bills completed. And I just remembered something; Energy and Commerce has oversight of healthcare, with Obamacare premiums rising next year. Shouldn’t Chairman Upton be working on a replacement solution for this catastrophe? Then again, maybe if Will Smith were to do a movie about Obamacare we’d get Congressional attention.