H.R. 299, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017 , introduced by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) edged one step closer to passage on 25 June with a 382-0 House vote. If enacted, the Act would restore eligibility for VA healthcare and disability compensation for some 90,000 Blue Water Navy veterans (sailors and Marines) who did not put boots on the ground in Vietnam but served in its coastal waters and were exposed to Agent Orange nevertheless. According to www.govtrack.us it has a 77% chance of being enacted.
Now, it is important for the Senate to answer the question of where it will stand on the bill. The companion bill of HR 299 introduced by Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), S. 422, has rested in the Senate after its introduction since 16 February 2017. While it has fifty co-sponsors, Sen. Robert Casey Jr. among them, nothing seems to have occurred. Yet, in truth, no one knows the wiles of our senators looking from the outside in. Regardless, the passage of the House bill will force our senators out into the open to respond, and hopefully, favorably. [Editors Note: The bill is in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee as of 28 June.]
Consider using a capwiz site, such as the VVA’s, to urge senators Toomey and Casey to step forward and properly resolve this problem originally created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs a few decades ago but abetted by the Congress over time out of — what would appear to the average citizen — pettiness.
27 June 2018