ATTEMPTS TO KILL BLUE-WATER NAVY BILL
NOW BEFORE SENATE COMMITTEE on VETERANS’ AFFAIRS
FIGHT THIS INJUSTICE BY CALLING SEN. ISAKSON’S OFFICE (202) 224-3643
OR GO TO HIS HOME PAGE AND SEND AN E-MAIL
ALL THE BENEFITS THEY DESERVE!
Only six weeks after the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act, restoring benefits to sailors who served in the bays, harbors and territorial seas of South Vietnam, the fate of the bill is in the hands of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
On June 25, the House passed the bill 382-to-0, restoring benefits that had been authorized by Congress in 1991 but later stripped by administrative decision in the Department of Veterans Affairs. As a result, thousands of Navy personnel who served aboard ships during the Vietnam War lost coverage for conditions caused by exposure to Agent Orange.
Since that decision, the VA has denied claims to sailors on the basis that they never set foot on Vietnamese soil, although several significant studies have shown that runoff from Agent Orange-impacted areas flowed into the harbors where U.S. ships were stationed. It was subsequently ingested into shipboard distillation and purification systems where it was actually enriched and made more potent.
Countless U.S. Navy personnel were not only exposed to the toxin, but bathed in it, drank it, and ate food that was cooked in it, yet people in our government don’t thing they are eligible for any benefits – incredible!
Last week, a VA undersecretary testified that science did not support the claims of exposure, contradicting testimony of Veterans Service Organizations, hydrologists and Navy experts. The bill has now been tabled in committee, with limited days left for the Senate to act.
If the bill is not passed before the next Congress takes office in January, supporters of the bill, including the Louisiana-based Military Veterans Advocacy, will have to start allover again from scratch – outrageous, especially since PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING RIGHT NOW FROM THIS HIDEOUS POISON!
“We initiated this bill, we drafted the initial language, and we have advocated – even begged – for Congressional action for years,” said CDR John Wells (USN Ret.) executive director of the organization. “I have made countless trips to Capitol Hill in support of this legislation. Former Secretary Shulkin gave it his whole-hearted support.
The House finally passed it in June – with not a single “no” vote. Now the bill is in danger because of testimony from an undersecretary who is either uninformed or ill-informed. I have reached out to current VA Secretary Robert Wilke and asked for his renewed support of the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act.”
“While we have waited – and while we continue to wait – literally thousands of Navy veterans are suffering without needed care,” Wells said. “I am confident there are enough votes in the Senate to pass the Act decisively. We need only move it through the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and to the Senate floor.
I implore Sen. Isakson and other committee members (see list below), to act swiftly on this legislation, giving so many veterans the long-overdue benefits they deserve,” said former Navy Commander John Wells.
Johnny Isakson (R-GA) (Chairman) – (202) 224-3643
Jon Tester (D-MT) (Ranking Member) – (202) 224-2644
Jerry Moran (R-KS) – (202) 224-6521
John Boozman (R-AR) – (202) 224-4843
Dean Heller (R-NV) – (202) 224-6244
Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – (202) 224-5824
Mike Rounds (R-SD) – (202) 224-5842
Thom Tillis (R-NC) – (202) 224-6342
Dan Sullivan (R-AK) – (202) 224-3004
Joe Manchin (D-WV) – (202) 224-3954
Mazie Hirono (D-HI) – (202) 224-6361
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) – (202) 224-2823
Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – (202) 224-2315
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) – (202) 224-5141
Patty Murray (D-WA) – (202) 224-2621
If you believe that a government that does harm should pay for that harm… or, at least take steps to address the suffering of so many, then we ask you to call your federal elected representative and ask them to make a call, to one of the above committee members and tell them their constituents are asking they support the Blue-water Act.
If you do not live in a state that elected one of the above committee members, then call them anyway and ask them to not allow this needed legislation to die in committee.
It is absolutely incredible to think that a country that literally wastes billions of dollars on any given day, is considering not spending a sliver of money to help those who languish in hospitals across America.
It’s incredible to know that representatives of the Veterans Administration who allegedly “support” those who have served are doing every thing they can to quash this Bill, thereby perpetuating the suffering of those who have served our country.
In times of war, and not before,
God and sailors we adore.
But in times of peace and all things righted,
God is forgotten and sailors slighted.
A Navy Version of Rudyard Kipling’s “A Time for Prayer”
NOTE TO OUR READERS: If you were in Vietnam and especially if you were in the Navy and were exposed to Agent Orange, please contact us with your story and we will share your opinion and/or history with the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.