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Legislation Passed Expanding Care for Troops Exposed to Agent Orange

May 14, 2019, 3:27 PM HST (Updated May 14, 2019, 3:27 PM)
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted to pass H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. She is an original cosponsor of the bill.

H.R. 299 was passed by the House by a vote of 410-0 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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“While the war was fought long ago, our responsibility towards our veterans is no less important or urgent,” said Rep Gabbard. “We must ensure that every service member exposed to Agent Orange is able to receive the care and benefits they deserve. I urge the Senate to quickly pass this legislation. Any delay will only compound the hardship veterans have faced in their decades-long fight to get the care they need from the VA.”

Background: Between Jan. 9, 1972 and May 7, 1975, service members who served on inland and coastal waterways of Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange and subsequently suffered medical complications due to exposure to the toxic chemical. H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, recognizes that other veterans may have had similar exposure and expands affected geographic regions to include the Korean DMZ between September 1967 and 1971 as well as instructing the Department of Veterans Affairs to identify bases in Thailand where Agent Orange was used.

Rep. Gabbard has been a steadfast advocate to recognize and secure treatment for veterans suffering the consequences of exposure to dangerous toxins, including Agent Orange, during the course of their military service. In the 116th Congress she re-introduced the Burn Pits Accountability Actto recognize the health consequences of troop exposure to burn pits used to dispose of waste at U.S. military bases in the Middle East. The bill has is supported by over 170 bipartisan Members of Congress as well as over 30 healthcare and veteran service organizations.

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