As has been reported, the Blue Water Navy’s Agent Orange bill continues to be stalled in the Senate despite years of effort to correct a poor decision made by the the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2002 (a reversal of policy) and its obfuscating subsequently. This year, the House finally got the the gumption to act and unanimously passed H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018, in July to end the injustice of denying Vietnam, Korean DMZ, and Thailand veterans who suffer from life-threatening health conditions related to exposure to Agent Orange the care and benefits they deserve.
Our senators have yet to prove themselves equally concerned and courageous. They have used the VA’s controversial advice as cover for their inaction. The passive cosponsorsing of 52 senators for their stalled and unamended companion bill (S. 422) means nothing. A floor vote before the 2018 legislative session on ends on H.R. 299 would. The legislative session ends December 14 or shortly thereafter.
However, action on such an important matter in a lame duck period requires concerned men and women of good will to now stand up and re-educate our dallying senators; demanding they make a long-overdue decision now. Both the VFW and VVA, as other veterans service organizations have, are consequently asking at this late date for your help to ensure this bill is passed before the end of the year.
They ask you contact your senators to demand that the Senate passes H.R. 299. Contact your senators by email through the VFW, or call (202) 224-3121 and ask to be transferred to your senators’ offices. Alternatively, try the VVA route. Urge them to get Sen. Isackson, Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, to move the bill out of his committee and onto the Senate floor.
And who says you have to be a veteran to voice your support? Consider doing so. Click here to link to all the previous articles for more background information. This VVA Talking Points paper summarizes the situation and what is needed.
As of 1 December 2018