On Senate Floor, Tester Hails Passage of Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act
Bipartisan bill now heads to President’s desk for signature
(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to hail the passage of his bipartisan Blue Water Navy Veterans Act.
As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Tester worked alongside Chairman Johnny Isakson of Georgia to ensure that Vietnam Veterans living with the effects of exposure to Agent Orange receive the VA benefits and care they have earned.
“This victory is for the folks that were exposed to Agent Orange— which has caused real problems amongst the men and women who were exposed to it,” Tester said on the Senate floor. “Today, I say thank you to the U.S. Senate and to the folks that were able to push this bill through, because it rights a wrong perpetrated by a government that ignored them for far too long… Under the leadership of Chairman Johnny Isakson, we are delivering on our commitment to justice for the Blue Water Navy veterans in Montana and across the country who sacrificed to keep us safe and free.”
For years, Tester has fought tirelessly in Congress to extend VA benefits to these Vietnam veterans. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act changes current law to guarantee that veterans who served off the shores of Vietnam and were exposed to toxins such as Agent Orange, can access treatment and receive benefits from the VA. Currently, only veterans who served within the borders of Vietnam can access health care and benefits related to their Agent Orange exposure.
The bill is supported by the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, Fleet Reserve Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Paralyzed Veterans of America, AMVETS, and Military Order of the Purple Heart.
The Blue Water Navy Veterans Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 14th and now heads to the president’s desk for signature.