House Passes Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018, introduced by Representative David Valadao (CA-21) on May 18, 2018, and co-sponsored by Representative Scott Taylor. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) current guidelines do not acknowledge that Blue Water Navy (BWN) veterans may have been injured as a result of the military's use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam era. Instead, VA limits the presumption to veterans who actually set foot on land in the Republic of Vietnam or served in the country's inland waterways. H.R. 299, as amended, would expand the presumption of service connection for certain conditions linked to contact with herbicides to BWN veterans who served off the shore of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. It also authorizes the VA to notify BWN veterans of their ability to submit new claims for disability benefits, and offer retroactive benefits to certain veterans and survivors who previously filed benefit claims based on exposure to herbicides.
“This bill is long overdue, I applaud those who never gave up hope, and never stopped working to make this right. I am glad to have played a small part in the effort by co-sponsoring and helping to push this bill through the House. I urge my Senate colleagues to swiftly pass it and send the bill to the President’s desk,” said Congressman Scott Taylor.