The behavior of the Senate on the issue of the Blue Water Navy’s exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam Conflict has been less than noble — nor has it done its job. Over the decades, it has conveniently allowed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to lead it by the nose and to provide an excuse for inaction.
On 1 August, after having sat on its own bill since February (S. 422), its Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss H.R. 299. Despite solid arguments against the VA’s position, it is distressing to learn the Senate may still be having serious reservations over the Blue Water Navy bill (H.R. 299), on which we have written previously.
Hopefully, the Senate will ultimately side with the veterans organizations because the VA in this instance has been consistently and willfully wrong. With the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it squandered funding to study the issue and has thrown any impediment it can against proper resolution of the matter at hand since then. One might say this worthy agency has been bull-headed and obtuse. But one might also say, our senators have allowed it to be.
Why the Congress insisted on a PAYGO provision on the backs of other veterans was bad enough, and may have been unnecessary in the first place because of the Agent Orange Act of 1991. It is now time for certain of our senators to cease scuttling the ship. And, as we have written before, it is time for you to contact your senators to let them know the time has come for resolve and fairness.
9 August 2018