Friday, February 12, 2016

CALL TO ACTION! VA Defies Federal Court

Upsetting news from the weekly FRA NewsBytes newsletter:

Agent Orange
FRA is disappointed, but not surprised, that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued a “clarified” definition of inland waterways for purposes of determining presumption for coverage of ailments associated with the Agent Orange herbicide that still excludes the so-called “Blue Water” Vietnam veterans. A federal court had ordered the VA to reevaluate its policy of denying Agent Orange benefits to Navy sailors who served in the Vietnam War, on the ships off the coast of Vietnam. NED Thomas Snee said “To state with such confidence that the toxin, Agent Orange, could not cross from inland water ways or harbors into open seas is a rejection of the laws of nature: As if some imaginary line drawn across the mouth of a river or bay had the ability to stop ocean currents from flowing.” The Association will continue to seek a legislative remedy to reverse current policy that discriminates against Blue Water veterans who have health problems commonly associated with herbicide exposure and make them eligible for service-related VA medical and disability benefits. Many want to forget about the Vietnam War, but we should never forget those who served during the Vietnam War. Members are strongly urged to use the FRA Action Center (action.fra.org/action-center) to ask their legislators to support “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” (H.R. 969/S. 681).
This pretty much leaves the US Congress as the last resort, and there is a battle brewing there behind the scenes.  The current bills have languished in committee for a year.  Promises from the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman have been empty ones.   

What this all means is that the VA holds more power in Congress than you do.  Think about that.  You are powerless.  

unless...

...Unless you all band together on this one effort.  Go to your local Senators', and your local Representative's office and DEMAND that he or she push the VA committee to move the bill onto the floor.  Enlist the aid of your local Veterans posts to have their members do the same.  Have them all write letters to the editors about this situation.   Enlist the aid of your friends and relatives.  

Create a wave of letters of demand directed at Congress that they simply cannot ignore.  Let them know that you are angry, and if they can't get the job done, you'll work to replace them.  

Insist on no more half measures!  No more "territorial waters", just the receipt of the Vietnam Service Medal and service in the Combat Zone.  That plus an Agent Orange disease and a better than dishonorable discharge is all you need. 

It is to the eternal shame of the United State Congress since 2008 that they have failed to pass bill after bill that would have righted the wrong the VA committed in 2002 when they rolled back the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to exclude Blue Water Navy.  

Your first step is to click on the link in the passage from the FRA newsletter.  It will take you to the action page and once there, click on the Support Agent Orange/Blue Water Navy Legislation (H.R. 969/S. 681) line to get started writing to your Representative and both your Senators.  That is your first step.  Let them know in no uncertain terms how angry you are at their lack of action, and common sense.  

Then hit the phones and email: to your family, friends, and fellow Veterans and get them to do the same.  

Then hit the streets to pay  a call at your nearest local offices of your Representative and your Senators.   Be polite, but don't hide your anger.  LET THEM KNOW THAT CO-SPONSORSHIP IS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH!

YOUR ACTION ON THIS IS REQUIRED IF WE ARE EVER TO SEE THE PASSAGE OF A QUALITY BILL. 

Finally, our thanks to the Fleet Reserve Association.  They have been most steadfast in their support of Blue Water Navy Veterans.  If you aren't a member yet, you should be!  

Click here to Join the FRA today!
Turn To Brothers!

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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