Sunday, May 22, 2016

Finally! The House passes the BWN bill!

This information comes from the weekly newsletter by by the VFW:
House Passes Amendment for Blue Water Navy Benefits: An amendment to the House-passed version of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill would extend presumptive service connection for conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure to Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans. Currently, only those Vietnam veterans who were “boots on the ground” or served on the inland waterways are eligible for the presumption.  This would mean eligibility for health care and compensation for thousands of veterans. The inclusion of the amendment came on the heels of a Washington, D.C. press conference organized by its sponsor, Representative Chris Gibson (R-NY), and attended by the VFW. The passage of this amendment is a major victory, as the VFW has long advocated that Blue Water Navy veterans should be eligible for presumptive exposure to Agent Orange. Still, the amendment must pass the Senate. Be on the lookout for an Action Alert on this issue next week, and feel free to begin contacting your Senators today to let them know that this is a top priority!  To read the Military Times article about the amendment, click here:

http://www.militarytimes.com/story/veterans/2016/05/19/house-votes-expand-benefits-vietnam-blue-water-navy-vets/84602742/ 

A check with the Congressional website says House Amendment 1078 offered by Representative Christopher Gibson of New York, was approved for inclusion in the bill by a voice vote.

Here is the language of the Amendment [it was corrected from an earlier attempt so it would conform with Congressional procedural law]:
  "At the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the following: 
 Sec. __.  None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to enforce VA Adjudication Procedure Manual M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 1, Section H, Topic 28.h related to Developing Claims Based on Service Aboard Ships Offshore the RVN."
What this does is forces the VA to treat any BWN claim to have been exposed inside the territorial waters of the Republic of Vietnam the same as any claim from on land or Brown Water.  Now, in all likelihood, the VA will interpret the territorial waters to be the most restrictive, probably 10 miles off shore. 

A HUGE thank you to Representative Christopher Gibson from New York who circumvented the House Committee on Veterans Affairs where the BWN bill was locked away, and by a simple paragraph, reworded with the assistance of Representative Charlie Dent from Pennsylvania, and the result is the BWN benefit restoration is on the way to the Senate, funded, and with the full backing of the House.


Stay tuned this week.  And contact your Senators, both of them, and pressure them to advance the amendment intact. 

More to follow!

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

Copyright © 2005-2016: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Twelfth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.