the House has amended and approved (382-0) the House version of the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” (H.R. 299). The bill now is in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee awaiting a vote.
The original proposal would clarify that service members serving off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict have a presumption for filing disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for ailments associated with exposure to the Agent Orange herbicide.
The bill has been amended to extend the presumption of herbicide exposure for veterans who served on or near the Korean DMZ between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971. As amended, the legislation will now also extend health care, vocational training & rehabilitation and monetary allowance to a child who was born with spina bifida if at least one of the child’s parents served in Thailand between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 and the VA determines that at least one of the parents had been exposed to a herbicide agent during that period. The bill also now includes improvements to VA’s home loan program.
FRA believes Congress should recognize these veterans were exposed to Agent Orange herbicide and authorize presumptive status for VA disability claims associated with this exposure. Now is the time to contact your Senators to ask them to support this bill, and push for a Senate committee vote.