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house Bill H.R. 299

Should Vietnam Era Vets Who Served in the ‘Blue Water Navy’ Be Eligible for Additional Disability Benefits Linked to Agent Orange Exposure?

Argument in favor

Vietnam veterans who served offshore in the Navy but were nonetheless exposed to Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides should receive the same disability compensation as veterans who fought in the jungles and rivers of Vietnam.

SneakyPete's Opinion
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05/14/2019
For the Second TIME, as a Vietnam Veteran I’m In FAVOR for them, receiving. Vietnam veterans who served offshore in the Navy but were nonetheless exposed to Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides should receive the same disability compensation as veterans who fought in the jungles and rivers of Vietnam. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 5.14.19.....
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Lori's Opinion
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05/14/2019
How can we even ask this question? All vets needs to be fully cared for. Period.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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05/14/2019
My cousin is dying from prostate cancer which is related to agent orange. He is a blue water navy vet. He has been unable to get any help from the VA while all the other services get care. It is extremely important that this pass so proper care can be provided to all Blue Water Vets though it is most likely too late for my cousin and many others.
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Argument opposed

The federal government and Dept. of Veterans Affairs should fight a court ruling that Blue Water Navy veterans a court ruling extending benefits to these veterans, and Congress shouldn’t extend benefits through legislation.

Clement's Opinion
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05/14/2019
All vets deserve the care they need. Only those who have never served their country could think otherwise. - USMC veteran.
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Tim's Opinion
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05/14/2019
Hell no. Presumption of exposure is not exposure.
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Mark's Opinion
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05/14/2019
This d oesnt even make sense. How were they exposed?
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bill Progress


  • EnactedJune 25th, 2019
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed May 14th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 410 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 8th, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 299?

This bill would extend the presumption of exposure to herbicide agents (such as Agent Orange) to Blue Water Navy (BWN) Vietnam veterans, and to veterans who served near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between September 1, 1967, and August 31, 1971. As a result, these veterans would be eligible for additional disability benefits through the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) if they develop a disease linked to herbicide exposure. The VA would be required to conduct outreach to inform these veterans and veterans service organizations of the ability to submit a claim for disability compensation if they develop certain diseases.

VA benefits would also be extended to certain children with spina bifida who were born to veterans who served in Thailand between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, and were determined to have been in contact with a herbicide agent. The VA secretary would be required to submit a report to congressional veterans affairs committees regarding the use of herbicide agents in Thailand during the Vietnam era.

Additionally, the VA would report to Congress about the number of BWN disability compensation claims and the number of claims granted and denied. The VA would also update Congress about the Follow-up Study of the National Cohort of Gulf War and Gulf Era Veterans, which examines the health of veterans who served in the Gulf War elsewhere.

The VA’s Home Loan Guaranty program would be reformed to ensure that veterans can use their home loan benefit in high-cost areas, and receive appraisals in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

Impact

Blue Water Navy veterans and other eligible veterans; the Dept. of Veterans Affairs; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 299

$135.00 Million
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would increase spending by $135 million over the 2019-2024 period, of which $70 million would be subject to the appropriations process.

More Information

In-Depth: House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA) introduced this bill to extend benefits to military veterans who were exposed to toxic herbicides in the coastal waters of Vietnam or in Thailand during the Vietnam War era:

“The fact that politics got in the way of our duty to care for veterans affected by toxic exposure is a disservice to the 90,000 Navy veterans who served in the coastal waters of Vietnam, and an insult to all veterans who served with the expectation that their country would care for them if they were wounded while serving. We must get to work and finally secure the benefits our Blue Water Navy veterans earned over 40 years ago.”

Ranking Member Phil Roe (R-TN) explained that he believes this bill’s passage is “necessary to ensure that those veterans who were potentially exposed to Agent Orange in the waters offshore of the Republic of Vietnam, are guaranteed entitlement to the presumption.”

This legislation passed the House Veterans Affairs on a voice vote and has the support of 333 bipartisan cosponsors, including 203 Democrats and 130 Republicans. The Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed this bill.


Of Note: A recent circuit court ruling held that Blue Water Navy veterans were eligible for disability benefits under the presumption of exposure to toxic herbicides, including Agent Orange. The VA announced it wouldn't appeal the ruling, which is significant because previously, only veterans who served on land or on Vietnam's inland waterways for eligible for toxic herbicide-connected disability benefits.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation / Public Domain)

AKA

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, and for other purposes.

    For the Second TIME, as a Vietnam Veteran I’m In FAVOR for them, receiving. Vietnam veterans who served offshore in the Navy but were nonetheless exposed to Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides should receive the same disability compensation as veterans who fought in the jungles and rivers of Vietnam. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 5.14.19.....
    Like (88)
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    All vets deserve the care they need. Only those who have never served their country could think otherwise. - USMC veteran.
    Like (21)
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    How can we even ask this question? All vets needs to be fully cared for. Period.
    Like (74)
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    My cousin is dying from prostate cancer which is related to agent orange. He is a blue water navy vet. He has been unable to get any help from the VA while all the other services get care. It is extremely important that this pass so proper care can be provided to all Blue Water Vets though it is most likely too late for my cousin and many others.
    Like (72)
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    This shouldn’t even be a question! Why aren’t they covered? They were in the service of this country, came into harms way and now deserve to be taken care of!
    Like (37)
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    Yes but all vets should be getting better benefits
    Like (26)
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    My friend who served in Vietnam as a Marine, is presently dying from cancer related to Agent Orange exposure. He needs those benefits to ensure he gets the best possible care and his family can continue after he goes without financial debt.
    Like (24)
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    Agent Orange involved, you bet!
    Like (21)
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    Our government lied to its people when they told vets agent orange would not hurt their health so yes any soldier exposed to it should receive benefits
    Like (18)
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    All our veterans need care.
    Like (17)
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    My father is dying of multiple types of cancer and suffers from dementia that does not run in our family from agent orange exposure. He was denied VA benefits for years. It was a gruelling process and added so much stress to my mom the caregiver. We need to take care of our veterans!!!!
    Like (17)
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    We should honor their service with all the amenities we can . They gave of themselves to fight a war that we shouldn’t have been involved in.
    Like (16)
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    Yes. Please protect and provide for those vets who went to Vietnam and had the risk of exposure to agent orange. Including Navy.
    Like (15)
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    Yes, of course. Those young men and women gave of themselves for our country. Most individuals in the military make a very meager salary to provide for their families. Military benefits have not been very good and veterans have gotten poor medical care. Yes, our military deserve great benefits and care and especially those who have been affected by Agent Orange. Step up and do the right thing!!
    Like (14)
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    Our Service People deserve to be taken care of NO MATTER WHAT. Only people who NEVER SERVED or LIVED WITH A PERSON WHO SERVED WOULD EVEN MAKE THIS A QUESTION.
    Like (14)
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    Why is this a question? Don't send military to war if you aren't going to take care of them.
    Like (14)
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    Yes, by all means!
    Like (11)
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    They don’t already? So The Government drafted those Young Boys Many of Which came home in boxes. The Country continued to Draft more young men (women couldn’t fight then) to SAVE FACE! See the Pentagon Papers. And you have the nerve to NOT have those men and their children not covered? There’s a Republican involved in here somewhere
    Like (11)
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    Hell yes!!! Take care of these guys!!! That there is even a question is a disgrace!!!
    Like (10)
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    Agent Orange was a nasty chemical defoliant. It is pretty much common knowledge that it has been linked to cancers as well as other health issues. These soldiers not only put themselves in harm’s way to fight for and defend their country, but at added risk with the use of this chemical, which has since been banned for almost 50 years. We need to take care of the men and women who sign the blank check payable to the United States, not toss them aside like an old useless toy.
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