Friday, June 24, 2016

One more push needed for Blue Water Navy Justice!

Important information from our good friends at the Fleet Reserve Association:
Oppose MilCon/VA Appropriations without Agent Orange Reform

The House approved an amendment to the House 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 exposure to Agent Orange herbicide by Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans. The House approved the bill, and the Senate passed its version of the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations (spending) bill, without this provision.  A conference committee was appointed to resolve the differences between the two bills, drafted a final bill that stripped out the Agent Orange provision, and the House has already approved it. Members are strongly urged to use the FRA Action Center to ask their Senators to oppose the final version of the bill that will be voted on by the Senate.
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 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.  
Please us the link at top right of this post to take action.  And remember, if you aren't a member of the FRA, you should be!  Join today!  Click here for info.

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.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

FRA: Pass Agent Orange Blue Water Navy Reform Now!

This just in from John R. Davis, the Director of Legislative Programs at the Fleet Reserve Association:
Support Agent Orange Reform in House Spending Bill
The House approved an amendment to the House version of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill (H.R. 4974) that would extend presumptive service connection for conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange herbicide by Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans. The House approved the bill.
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 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 has passed its version of the Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Appropriations (spending) bill, without this provision.  There will be a conference committee appointed to resolve the differences between the two bills. Members are strongly urged to use the FRA Action Center to ask their Senators to support this House provision in the final version of the bill that will be voted on by both chambers and if approved sent to the President to be signed into law or vetoed.
Click here to go to the FRA Action Page!

If you are not a member of this fine organization, you should be!   Join today!  Click here to join.  

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.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Update on H.R. 4974

You can see a copy of the text of this enormous bill at this website.  You need to scroll all the way down almost to the bottom to get to Section 522.  That is the amendment that was added to the bill just before passage in the House.  We now wait to see what the House-Senate Conference committee will do to the bill to reconcile it with the bill the Senate passed earlier, which does not contain our amendment. 

Given the fact that the BWN bill in the House is still gaining bipartisan cosponsors [323 at last count], there may be no great interest in stripping Section 522 from this appropriations bill.

Hang on, and get to both of your Senators to bring them on board to get this thing enacted! 

It's been 14 years since the VA unilaterally removed the BWN from presumptive exposure to tactical herbicides and 8 long years since the first attempt at a restoration bill was sent to Committee.  That is far to long to wait for justice, but wait we must until the Appropriations bill passes the Senate with the amendment intact. 

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.