WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, announced that a bill he introduced, the Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act (S. 277), passed out of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs with bipartisan support.
This legislation, which Senator Burr also introduced in the 111th Congress, would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide health care to veterans and their family members who have experienced adverse health effects as a result of exposure to well-water contaminated by human carcinogens at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
“We now have another shot at doing the right thing for the thousands of Navy and Marine veterans and their families who were harmed during their service to our country,” Senator Burr said. “While we continue to seek more answers, we can minimize further suffering by allowing Lejeune veterans and their families to receive the care they need and deserve. I am pleased that this bill has cleared the committee, and I hope it will quickly move to the Senate floor for a vote.”
An estimated 750,000 people may have been exposed to probable and known human carcinogens in the base’s water supply between the 1950s and 1980s. To date, this is the largest recorded environmental incident on a domestic Department of Defense installation.
In addition to the Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act, Senator Burr had two other provisions he sponsored that were voted favorably out of committee today as well. One will help VA maximize the use of the limited funding available for construction projects by properly allocating them where they are most needed. The other will allow veterans who file fully-developed disability claims to be compensated for a period up to one year prior to the date the claim was filed, so the veteran will not lose out on any benefits while collecting evidence and can receive a quicker decision from VA.
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