U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans' Affairs

01/03/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/03/2019 13:29

Ranking Member Roe Introduces the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019

Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs introduced the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.

'The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 would ensure that our Vietnam Veterans receive the benefits they deserve. This bill mirrors the language of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018, which passed the House 382 - 0 during the 115th Congress. One of my final acts as Chairman in 2018 was holding a bipartisan press conference to urge the Senate to pass H.R 299. Needless to say, despite the endless efforts of Senate Veterans Affairs' Committee Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Tester, the Senate never passed the legislation. This is why I have introduced this bill that mirrors the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018 and I encourage my colleagues in the House to once again swiftly pass this bipartisan piece of legislation.

'Currently, Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans are unable to receive the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange because VA's presumption policy extends only to those who served on land in Vietnam or in Vietnam's inland waterways. This legislation would extend the presumption of exposure of Agent Orange to our Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans. I hope that my colleagues in the House and Senate waste no time in passing this bill and sending it to President Trump so we can ensure that Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans receive the benefits they deserve.'

Background:

Agent Orange is a herbicide used during the Vietnam era that has been known to be associated with certain health issues in people who have been exposed to the chemical. The Agent Orange Act of 1991 said that if a veteran served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 and has a disease that has been associated with exposure to Agent Orange, they are automatically presumed to have a been exposed to it and therefore qualify for disability compensation. The Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2019 would extend the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to veterans who served in the Blue Water Navy.