Friday, May 27, 2016

FRA: AO Bill in Appropriations bill as amendment

From our good friends at the Fleet Reserve Association:
Agent Orange Reform in MilCon/VA Appropriations Bill
The House approved an amendment to its version of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon/VA) appropriations bill (H.R. 4974) that would extend presumptive service connection for conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure to Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) currently presumes any service member who had boots on the ground or served on Vietnam’s inland waterways was exposed to Agent Orange. If these veterans experience health problems related to that exposure, they are eligible for VA disability benefits. The policy, however, denies this presumption to veterans who served off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam, even though many of these so-called “Blue Water Navy” veterans are experiencing the same exposure-related health problems as those who served inland.

The passage of this amendment, sponsored by Rep. Chris Gibson (NY), is a major step forward for Blue Water Navy veterans, who should be eligible for presumptive exposure to Agent Orange. The Senate passed its version of the MilCon/VA spending bill, without this provision. There will be a conference committee appointed to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills. Members are strongly urged to use the FRA Action Center at action.fra.org/action-center/ to ask their senators to support this House provision in the final version of the bill, which will be voted on by both chambers and, if approved, sent to the President to be signed into law or vetoed.
As we have said repeatedly, if you are not a member of FRA, you should be.  Join this fine organization today!  Click here!

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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