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Brindisi: New Bill Would Expand Benefits To Offshore Vietnam Vets Exposed To Agent Orange

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Congressman Anthony Brindisi recently a joined a group of House Democrats and Republicans in support of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.

Four-ship formation on a defoliation spray run. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The new legislation would deliver access to earned benefits for previously disqualified veterans who served in the territorial waters off the shores of Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange.

“I’ve listened to the veterans in my district and they said it’s time for Washington to put politics aside and get the job done,” Brindisi said. “We did that today in the House, now it is up to the Senate to do right by our veterans. This is landmark legislation for the veterans in our district, who bravely served our country, but have fallen victim to political games in Washington.”

Brindisi is a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and was key to pulling this bill through committee and onto the House floor, with help from his Veterans Advisory Council.

According to Brindisi, the past 40 years of outdated provisions have prevented more than 90,000 veterans from access to medical care and compensation for illnesses, diseases, and in many cases death, from their exposure to Agent Orange.

Specifically, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 would extend the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to U.S. Navy veterans who served in the territorial waters of Vietnam or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

It would also extend eligibility for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits to certain children with spina bifida who were born to veterans who served in Thailand and were exposed to Agent Orange.

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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