Congress House Bill HR-969 and Senate Bill S.681, both Bills titled The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Act. These bills are held up in the Veterans Affairs Committee because no dollar amount has been assigned, the cost to provide proper VA benefits, without a dollar amount assigned to these bills nothing will happen to provide VA benefits to veterans who are sick from Agent Orange exposure.
At this writing there are 301 members of Congress in favor of passage and 37 members of Senate in favor. This is well over the numbers of both Houses needed to send the bills to the floor for a vote. This cannot happen without a dollar amount assigned. The VA is attempting to stop passage of these bills. The VA’s job and obligation is to help veterans in need, not hinder their obligation as set forth by law. The committees of both legislative Houses may have to appeal to the Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to stop the VA from blocking any action in getting these bills an acceptable dollar amount. Once this can happen, these bills will go for a vote.
America is a free and sovereign Nation. As such we take on none selfless obligations to help other countries in need. This is well and good, it is a part of what America is about. However, what about our veterans who fight the battles to keep America free? Many come home sick and broken in need of help. When it comes to special veteran groups like the Blue Water Navy, Vietnam, the VA does not recognize them. A legislative bill must be passed to force the VA to care for this group of war veterans.
John J. Bury, U.S. Navy retired, Vietnam War Veteran resides in Media, Pennsylvania.