Rep. Julia Brownley has won unanimous House approval of her first solo piece of legislation. It will come as no surprise to those who have followed her career in Washington that it is focused on veterans.
The Westlake Village Democrat introduced a House resolution about the growing problem of women veterans' suicides. It was passed by the House on Tuesday. If the Senate passes its version, then the two bills will be matched, re-approved by the two houses and sent to the president.
The legislation is far more about drawing attention to the issue than it is about attacking it.
But it is an issue that needs this kind of attention from Washington.
Rep. Brownley introduced the legislation after a report showed that the suicide rate among women veterans was increasing six times faster than the rate among women non-veterans. The suicide rate among women veterans age 18-to-29 is a shocking 12 times greater than non-veteran women of the same age group.
The legislation tweaks some language to make sure existing legislation clearly includes women. Its central point also calls on the Department of Veterans Affairs to identify the suicide and mental health prevention programs that are most effective and result in the best outcomes among these high-risk women.
While it may not seem like much to adopt legislation that calls on the VA to study what programs work, the point is to make sure that this issue was drawn to the floor of the House and Senate so Congress could express its will that it wants the VA to make sure it is paying attention.
Rep. Brownley has proudly made veterans' issues the linchpin of her congressional activity. We're glad that she has brought this issue to the forefront.