Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Magic Number: 357 = Veto-Proof!

Haas case got you down? Depressed because the Federal Court won't review their own decision? Disappointed because HR 6562 failed to pass this session of Congress? You are not alone.

But you need to get out of your funk and get the blood flowing again!

What's wrong, you ask? Look at the numbers. The poll says you've only gotten support from slightly more than 10% of the members of the US House of Representatives. You've done better in the Senate with 29%, but that number is still far too low to guarantee the passage of the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009, and the Agent Orange Supplemental Act of 2009 after they get introduced in January.

There are 435 voting members of the House of Representatives. To guarantee passage of the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009 and its partner bill the Agent Orange Supplemental Act of 2009, we need a bare minimum of 218 Congressmen pledged to support the passage of the bills.

In the Senate, it is simpler. There are 100 Senators. To guarantee passage of the bills, we need the support of 51 Senators as a bare minimum.

To guaranted the bills are veto-proof, we need 290 members of Congress and 67 Senators to pledge support for the legislation.

Congress is going home to vote. They will likely be back sometime in November for a lame-duck session, so obviously, we need to concentrate on them while they are home. That is when you all have done your very best work. Now you have to turn up the heat.

Go see them. Many of them are running for office, so they will be available.

BUT! Lay off Bob Filner and John Hall. Going after them is preaching to the choir. They are already on our side.

What we need now is to concentrate on adding cosponsors in the House and the Senate and making sure they are aware that we are trying to get two bills introduced at the same time, one to restore benefits to BWN, BSAF, and TLC Vets, and the other to start benefits to those who were exposed outside of the Vietnam Theater of Operations.

Two things to be aware of that will affect our efforts. The first is the outcome of the election. What we mean is the shape of Congress, and who gets dumped in the election, and who comes in new. That changes the ball game a bit.

The other thing is the money. We have been told that "it is not about the money, we have the money" [Bob Filner, July 23, 2008]. We have also been told by his staff that while there is money, it is committed to funding other things, so if we want to fund the AO Equity Act and the AO Supplemental Act next year, something else, somewhere, has to become "defunded". You need to get this across to your Representative and your Senators that they need to fund these bills.

Finally, while writing to your Reps and Senators is a good thing, it takes far too long to be effective because your letter goes someplace else, first, where the Department of Homeland Security and the US Postal Service go over it for bad stuff [like AO, nuclear radiation...you know, the stuff they tested on us!]. So a letter will take 30-50 days to get to your Rep/Senator, and who knows how long to get a response after that, if you get one at all.

Better to write the letter, and FAX it to them. Put a nice cover sheet on, and fax it to them. That gets it to them immediately.

So, to summarize, the best strategy now is to write a letter and fax it to your Rep and your Senators. There will be a time to write a fax to Filner later on this year.

Be neat, type your letter, have someone else proof read it for you, correct the mistakes they find, then read it out loud to yourself to make sure it sounds right.

Urge them to urge Filner and the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to adopt the twin bill strategy.

Stay on this, folks, we are fighting an uphill battle but right now it is not only our best chance, it is likely our only chance.

The Magic Number is 357. That is 290 Representatives and 67 Senators. We are at 69 now. We need 288 more. Lets get them now, so they are waiting for the bills in January when the bills are hopefully introduced.

Now you know what you need to do. This is in your hands. You have the power to influence things enough to secure your legacy, your future and the future of your survivors and widows. With that much at stake, can you afford to sit back and let someone else do it? You will be amazed at all you can accomplish when you have a plan, and a target. You will be astounded at your own power when we are finally successful.

It is your future, now is the time to seize the moment. Remember, support for the bills, AND funding for them! It won't be easy. But then, neither was serving in a war. You've fought once, now you must fight again.

One of our longtime heroes is Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, who commanded all forces in the Pacific during World War II. He prayed, “God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless.” Look at what he accomplished with that attitude. Put that attitude on, and wear it.


”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 Bush 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 than 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 © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.


  1. Anonymous01:07

    Seems to me that the major problem we are going to face in 2009 is getting our bill out of committee which, like it or not, is where most of them die. With Filner being the chairman of said committee, it shouldn't be to big a problem......it will sure be a test of how serious he really is, won't it? I have spoken to many friends who live in his district, most are kind of neutral about him but, when I ask the tie-breaking question: "Do you vote for him?" the answer is almost 100% "Yes"
    Again, getting it out of committee is step one!!

  2. Absolutely correct. One of the things will be hearings, which will occur while the bill is in committee. As of ten days ago, no hearings were scheduled yet, and would not be until after the election.

    I think Filner is safe in his district, even though state Republicans redistricted him in an effort to unseat him some years back. It is an oddly shaped district, however, and he faces a serious issue with immigration as his district covers the entire California border with Mexico.

    Still, he should be ok on Tuesday.

    That bodes well for us in January.

  3. Anonymous11:03

    I see that our government is spending a lot of bucks to help the Vietnamese recover from the effects of Agent Orange....they should be so nice to their own veterans!!

  4. Yes, the Veterans that are called upon to pay the price of Freedom are relegated to less than their accomplishments deserve.