Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Filner Intros HR 812: Doomed to die in committee.

Bob Filner introduced HR 812 on Friday last, and it is the exact same bill he introduced in early May of 2009, the bloated, super expensive bill that he refused to move from committee last year even though there were over 255 co-sponsoring members of Congress -- far more than the 218 required to pass a bill in the US House of Representatives.

The language of the bill is identical to HR 2254 that he introduced in the last session of Congress, and then failed to support.

We are working to get the Agent Orange Restoration Act, and the Agent Orange Supplemental Act introduced sometime in the coming weeks. While the Supplemental Act covers Vietnam Era Veterans [not Vietnam Veterans] who were exposed to dioxin-containing herbicides, and it is very expensive -- VERY EXPENSIVE.

The Agent Orange Restoration Act seeks to restore benefits intended by Congress in the original Agent Orange Act of 1991, which have since been voided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It seeks to restore the Vietnam Service Medal [or the Armed Forces Service Medal for Service in Southeast Asia], and a documented illness from the current list of Agent Orange related-diseases as the sole qualifiers for presumptive exposure to dioxin containing herbicides. In short, if you got the medal, and an AO disease, you are service connected. No more "boots on the ground".

As Filner's bill did last year, HR 812 will seek to "leave no one behind," but its failure will result in ALL being left behind.

Please contact your Representative and your Senators and urge them to NOT support HR 812.

Meanwhile, you can help get the right Bill passed by joining us at VASVW. Click on the Orange VASVW logo in the left column of this page for more information, or visit:

Membership is and always will be free, and it is open to all.

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"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

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  1. Anonymous12:36

    I understand that this bill, in it's current state, will have little or no chance of passing and that we should not support it BUT, in all honesty, if by some miracle it should pass as written.....would it not do the trick for us?? What I mean is, other than the fact it appears 'written to fail' it DOES take care of us doesn't it?

  2. It will do the trick for a great many of us, but not all. Some TLC vets will be left out.

    But this will never see the President's pen.


  3. Anonymous10:03

    In a long letter to mm Rep who, by happy coincidence, now fills Filners old seat as chairman. I reminded him that he was a co-sponsor of the original bill and that he would just naturally be glad to continue his support for those affected by AO. I pointed out the fact that Filner didn't really care if his bill passed or not as evidenced by his lack of support for it despite the large support it received. I also told him the bill, as written, would leave many veterans out in the cold and that the committee should, during it's discussions, look to having it amended. I made it clear that his predessesor had dropped the ball and he could make a great name for himself with vets in general and VN Navy vets in particular. I have my VA AO pension....I still want to see everyone else get theirs.

  4. Anonymous18:04

    The following was posted by the FRA as one of their newsbytes:

    Bill Introduced to Benefit Blue Water Veterans
    Rep. Bob Filner (Calif.), ranking of the House Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee, introduced a measure (H.R. 812) that would authorize VA medical care to veterans and retirees exposed to toxins during the Vietnam era. If enacted, veterans who served in the surrounding waters off the coast of Vietnam and in the skies above will be allowed file claims for exposure to Agent Orange. (The VA currently only acknowledges service-connection for vets who served within the borders of Vietnam or on the inland waterways.) Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center ( to ask their representative to co-sponsor this important legislation.

    I sent them the following response:

    FRA needs to wake up and take a look around. Bob Filner's bill regarding agent orange is the same one he submitted during the last is intended to impress veterans in his district at home, not to actually pass and become law. Last year he had almost 300 co-sponsors for this bill; a huge bi-partisan backing, additionally, he was chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Will all this support, he did NOTHING to bring this bill to the floor for debate, let alone a died in committee, as intended! The man is a fraud and now he's a fraud that the FRA has validated.

  5. Anonymous18:08

    Filner's HR812 doesn't seem to be setting the world on fire when it comes to co-sponsors does it? Have to wonder if a lot of us writng our Reps and telling them this bill isn't for real has anything to do with it??

  6. Indeed it is not getting much positive attention.

    Look for a new bill to appear in the coming weeks, one that makes much more sense. And a companion for those that want to get benefits for the folks who served elsewhere besides Vietnam, and TLC.


  7. Anonymous10:43

    Thought I'd post this, apparently the FRA intends to support Filners 'new' bill. While I think the bill is a loser, the support for blue water Navy agent orange victims is encouraging:

    "FRA Seeks Faster VA Claims Processing, Equity for "Blue Water" Veterans
    FRA's Director of Legislative Programs (DLP) John Davis expressed the Association's top veterans' concerns this week before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs (VA) Committees, asking the committees' support to resolve chronic claims-processing backlog of pending disability claims, eliminate restrictions on disability claims filed by veterans who were exposed to herbicides while serving off the coast of Vietnam, and to continue effective oversight of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

    FRA called on both committees to take steps to eliminate the staggering backlog of unresolved claims for VA benefits and support the recommendations of the Independent Budget that seeks an eight-percent hike in VA funding for FY 2012 and restores cuts in various VA construction, information technology, and medical and prosthetic research programs proposed by the Administration. FRA also urged members of the House VA Committee to approve the "Agent Orange Equity Act" (H.R. 812), legislation that would amend the VA's definition of Vietnam service to include those veterans who served off-shore. Many of these "Blue Water" veterans are not eligible to receive VA benefits for health problems associated with Agent Orange exposure.

    The FRA written testimony is available at

  8. VASVW is working with FRA and VVA to get them to withdraw support for HR 812. Additionally VASVW is working with several Congresspersons to introduce the Restoration and Supplemental Acts.

  9. Anonymous15:36

    I expect you're correct; while, as you stated earlier, HR 812 would do the trick for many, perhaps most, it would leave the battle still to be won for many others. Better to only fight the battle once and kill all the birds with the same stone.