Some of our Vietnam Navy veterans may find this report on the subject of VA benefits for impacts of agent orange on sailors of the “Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club”.
H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017, as amended, passed the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on Tuesday. The VFW-supported bill, which must still be approved by the full House and Senate before going to the president, would restore benefits to thousands of Vietnam veterans, expand inclusive dates to those who served along the Korean DMZ, require VA to report on research related to a broad range of conditions possibly connected to service in Southwest Asia, and benefit children born with spina bifida due to a parent’s exposure to Agent Orange-related herbicides in Thailand. Further, VA will be required to conduct an outreach campaign to those Blue Water Navy sailors who were denied benefits in the past and make retroactive payment of benefits for those previously denied. The vote on this legislation comes 16 years after benefits were lost due to a regulatory change in the Agent Orange Act, and the VFW is proud to have worked with this committee to ensure passage without any cuts to other benefits.