Friday, May 15, 2015

More great news from the FRA and the VFW - Updated

Update:  The VFW added their voice in support of S.681 at the same meeting.  Here is their statement:
In addition, Morosky [VFW Deputy Legislative Director Aleks Morosky ]voiced the VFW’s strong support for S. 681, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2015. Introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), this critical bill would finally extend presumptive service connection for conditions related to Agent Orange exposure to Blue Water Navy Veterans. At the hearing, Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) indicated that the Committee will continue to move the bills through the legislative process, with a markup to be scheduled sometime in June. To view a video of the hearing and read the full transcript, visit:
Our good friends at the Fleet Reserve Association went to bat for us at the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee when it took up the Senate version of the bill, S.681, introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.  The Senator also made a plea to the committe to get the bill passed.

Here is the FRA's account of the meeting and its outcome.
Senate Panel Reviews Veterans’ Benefits Legislation
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) reviewed 12 pending legislative proposals pertaining to veterans’ benefits. Among the bills discussed at the hearing was the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” (S. 681), which provides presumption for the “Blue Water Navy Veterans” for VA disability claims associated with exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam.
The sponsor of the Senate legislation, Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (N.Y.) testified about the bill, giving an impassioned plea for the committee to approve the legislation. FRA submitted a statement on many of the legislative proposals discussed at the hearing, with special focus on S. 681. The statement emphasized that many of these veterans are senior citizens and the time to help them is now! SVAC Chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) indicated that the bill would be marked up, approved and sent to the Senate floor sometime in June. A copy of FRA’s statement is available on the FRA website (www.fra.org/testimony) and members are strongly urged to use the FRA Action Center (action.fra.org/action-center) to ask their legislators to support the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” (S. 681) and its House companion bill (H.R. 969).
This bill may be passed in June and sent to the House for action.  This is closer that we have ever been.  Turn up the pressure on your Senators and your Representative.  Use the link to the FRA's action center. 

Our thanks to the good Senator and of course to one of out most steadfast and allies and staunchest support - The Fleet Reserve Association.  If you aren't a member yet, you should be.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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