Tuesday, October 31, 2017

URGENT!! Please call these legislators Today!!


From our friends in the FRA:
URGENT!!! House Agent Orange Bill Committee Vote
The House "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act" (H.R. 299) will be marked up and voted on in the House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing this Thursday. Please call the following Members of the Committee and tell them to vote to pass HR 299. Now is the time to call!!!! 
1. Tim Walz, Minnesota 202-225-2472
2 Mark Takano, California 202-225-7018
3 Julia Brownley, California 202-225-5811
4 Ann McLane Kuster, New Hampshire 202-225-5206
5 Beto O'Rourke, Texas 202-225-4831
6 Kathleen Rice, New York 202-225-5516
7 Lou Correa, California 202-225-2965
8 Gregorio Sablan, Northern Marianas Islands 202-225-2646
9 Elizabeth Esty, Connecticut 202-225-4476
10 Scott Peters , California 202-225-0508

   This proposal would clarify that service members serving off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict have a presumption for filing disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for ailments associated with exposure to the Agent Orange herbicide. FRA believes Congress should recognize that the so-called “Blue water” veterans were exposed to Agent Orange herbicide and authorize presumptive status for VA disability claims associated with this exposure. Please call immediately!


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 © 2005-2017: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Thirteenth 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, October 18, 2017

Time For You To Be Heard!


We have come to the conclusion that the two Blue Water Navy bills [H.R.299 in the House and S.422 in the Senate] will never see a vote in either house.  Frankly, this is a good thing.  The bill is so loaded down with administrative costs [proving your ship sailed inside the ten mile limit off the coast of South Vietnam, proving that you were on it at the time – both require time and expense for the VA to be satisfied since they really do not want you to receive this fully deserved benefit], and with time eaters [those administrative costs in processing claims will take forever to process and that suits the VA just fine].  These bills are essentially the very same bills that Congress has refused to pass over the past seven years.  Apparently those who get the Senator and Congressman to introduce these bills are stuck in a rut. 
Simply reverting to the original Agent Orange Act policy requiring three qualifiers: receipt of the Vietnam Service Medal, and Agent Orange related disease, and a better than dishonorable discharge, shortens the claim processing time to a few weeks, not years, and saves huge amounts of dollars spent on processing those claims.  It is a no-brainer…unless you are the VA, or Congress.  Then you have to spell it out.  
We have advocated this for a decade.   We spent years meeting with congressional staff members and advocating the simple approach.  It is clearly money saving, time saving [a humanitarian issue], and the right thing to do.  There is no argument over the Australian study that proved the intake of sea water containing dioxin-related runoff from the land, was enhanced, not removed, during the Evaporations processes to make boiler feed water into potable [suitable for drinking] water.  That is how the Blue Water Navy was exposed. 
The VA reaches the Congress and the Congressional Staffs and somehow these bills never move.  Why?  They are too expensive.  Congress will not support the cost of these bills.  The VA estimates the costs, not the Office of Management and Budget [OMB].  This is wrong.  The VA has lied terribly ever since the end of the Vietnam War [about Agent Orange], and continues to do so today by overstating the number of claims that will result from this effort.
Hence the effort to restore the original language in the VA’s policy [the law that Congress passed in 1991 has not changed, only the VA’s interpretation of has]. 
Here is the kicker: the VA has been receiving your benefit money in Congressional budget appropriations ever since 2002 and the VA has rerouted where that money goes.  For all we know, it goes to the hefty bonuses and expensive travel by the VA’s bigwigs.  
But the money is still there.   A new bill authorizing new Congressional Appropriations is totally unnecessary.  What is needed is a bill instructing the VA to adjust their policy back to the pre-2002 policy that allowed benefits for Blue Water Navy.  
The money is still there in the appropriations.  It is not enough to cover the cost of the current bills in Congress, but the restoration of the original policy will force the VA to put back all it has taken from that appropriation since 2002.  Restoring the policy back to pre-2002 will automatically reverse all those denials, all those court rejections that have been made over the past 16 years.  Many widows will finally get what they should have gotten after the death of their husbands.  
The VA will claim it does not have the money but Congress MUST tell the VA to find it.  And to be fair, Congress may do the right thing and appropriate more money as well.
This is justice, restoration of honor, and the righting of a horrible wrong.  
It is a debt owed to a group of Veterans who honorably served in the Vietnam War, and were poisoned by their own government while doing so.  
One thing you can and SHOULD DO is to go to the Fleet Reserve Association [FRA] Action page by clicking this link Ask VA Secretary to Help "Blue Water" Vietnam Veterans.  This will take you to a form letter to send to the Secretary of the VA, Mr. Shulkin, asking him to restore the benefits taken away in 2002.  This has nothing to do with the bills in Congress.
Please, click that link and send the letter today!
Turn to!  Turn out and turn the key to your correct benefits.
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 © 2005-2017: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Thirteenth 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.