By: Susan Paczak
Recently, the United Stated House of Representatives passed a bill that gives Blue Water veterans the same presumption of exposure to Agent Orange that those who were “boots on the ground” in Vietnam have had for years. The bill also gives the same presumption to veterans who served in the Korean DMZ from September 1967 until August 1971.
Now before the Senate Veterans Affair Committee, the bill is slated for a hearing on August 1st. The Chairman of the Committee says the bill is a top priority.
If the Senate passes the same bill the House passed, then it goes to the President for signature, and becomes law. If the bill is different from the House bill, then it has to go to a committee made up of members of the House and the Senate. They then have to come up with a bill that both houses will pass, and send to the President to sign.
If the bill is made law, then these Blue Water and Korean vets will be able to get compensation for the same diseases for which other Vietnam vets get benefits. However, it will still be many months until the VA comes up with procedures to process these claims, then more time for the claims to be processed.
Please call your Senators (go to whoismyrepresentative.com to find your Senator’s phone number) to tell them to vote YES on this bill, and to do it fast. Veterans have been waiting long enough! Justice delayed is justice denied.
Some more news on Blue Water vet legislation. The proposed law to expand the Agent Orange presumptive diseases to Blue Water vets came up for a vote in the Senate. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY asked for unanimous consent to pass the law. However, when this procedure is used one senator can object and the bill does not pass. One senator, Mike Enzi R-WY objected so the bill did not pass. It is unlikely it will brought up for another vote before the end of the year. This means that a new bill will have to be introduced in 2019.