WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) Monday night voted with a bipartisan majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act (H.R. 299). H.R. 299 expands benefits for Vietnam Blue Water Navy veterans who are currently suffering from diseases they developed as a result of their service. Specifically, the bill enables veterans who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam during the Vietnam War to receive expedited consideration for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits if they suffer from diseases the U.S. Government has linked to Agent Orange.
“This bill has been decades in the making,” said Bost. “We have almost 100,000 Navy veterans who served on ships during the Vietnam War and later became ill from their service due to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides. Unfortunately, they do not qualify for the same benefits as their fellow veterans who served on the ground. This critical legislation ensures they receive benefits for any condition they may have developed as a result of exposure to Agent Orange.”
Agent Orange is a herbicide used during the Vietnam era that has been known to be associated with certain health issues in people who have been exposed to the chemical. The Agent Orange Act of 1991 said that if a veteran served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 and has a disease that has been associated with exposure to Agent Orange, they are automatically presumed to have a been exposed to it and therefore qualify for disability compensation. The Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2018 would extend the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to veterans who served in the Blue Water Navy.
Bill text available HERE.