Representative Christopher Gibson [R-NY 19] has reintroduced his Blue Water Navy Agent Orange Bill as HR 969, and it comes with 131 cosponsors already.
Here is a link to the bill details, where you can see the list of cosponsors.
The bill was just introduced yesterday so it will be a few days before the text of the legislation is made available.
It is ominous that it was introduced on Friday the 13th.
This is the 5th version of the bill, and like the others before it, will languish in committee until the end of 2016 when this Congress ends…unless and until it is made different than all previous versions.
This comes on the heels of an article in the Washington Examiner that points out the massive waste and mismanagement, fraud and abuse the VA is foisting the American taxpayers, Veterans and Congress with their unused real estate holdings.
See the article here [click].
7400 buildings on 34,000 acres sit unused, or occupied by businesses that pay no rent, or have no lease.
There is no information as to how much the VA spends to maintain these holdings.
On many of our visits to Congressional offices advocating passage of the previous versions of the BWN AO bills, we were routinely told by Congressional staffers to “Find the money to pay for the bill.” Several years ago we did just that, offering two alternatives. One was to do away with making Veterans prove their ship was inside the territorial limits of the Republic of Vietnam [South Vietnam], and save administrative costs by shifting eligibility back to recipients of the Vietnam Service Medal.
The other option was to get the VA to pay the costs out of their Real Estate budget by divesting itself of several million square feet of space to the commercial market. Sale of those properties would have generated hundreds of millions of dollars, easily enough to pay for the bill, especially if they did away with the territorial limit qualifier.
If Congress had been serious about passing this bill, they would have adopted both ideas.
But Congress did not want to pass the bill. They could care less…except where they can claim they sponsored or cosponsored the bill in their election campaign literature, marking them as “Veteran Friendly.”
We don’t hold much hope that this bill will be any different. Even when offering Congress an opportunity to do the right thing and pass the bill, with little to no cost to the taxpayers, they flat out refused to take the action necessary. No BWN bill has ever made it out of sub-committee. Don't expect this one to be any different.
”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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