WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) in helping to introduce the Fair Care for Vietnam Vets Act of 2020, legislation that would expand the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) list of medical conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange to include Parkinsonism, bladder cancer, hypertension, and hypothyroidism – health conditions that each meet the historical standard for being added to the VA’s presumptive list for service-connection as it relates to Agent Orange exposure. This bill follows a letter Senator Rosen and her colleagues sent to President Trump last month urging him and his Administration to take action on behalf of thousands of Vietnam veterans who have been denied the critical health care they need to treat medical conditions resulting from exposure to Agent Orange.
“Our veterans have put their lives on the line for our freedoms and safety and it is our responsibility to care for them when they return home,” said Senator Rosen. “More than fifty years after their service and sacrifice, these veterans continue to suffer the detrimental effects of their exposure each day. These heroes deserve more than inaction and indecision from their own government – they deserve justice. I will continue to support commonsense legislation that protects our veterans.”
BACKGROUND: Despite the overwhelming scientific research that has already been reviewed by the National Academies of Medicine, this Administration has defied precedent and effectively denied more than 190,000 veterans across the country – many of whom are aging and in urgent need of assistance – with the critical health care and benefits they deserve.
Former VA Secretary David Shulkin attempted to add these four conditions to the presumptive list in 2019, but records obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests indicate that Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director and former Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney intervened to prevent the addition of these conditions over cost concerns.
In May 2019, Senator Rosen co-sponsored legislation to allow Vietnam War-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Thailand to qualify for VA benefits, without the undue burden of proving toxic exposure that took place decades ago.
Last June, President Trump signed into law the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation Senator Rosen helped introduce that extends benefits associated with Agent Orange exposure to Blue Water Navy veterans who served on U.S. ships off the coast of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Last month, Senator Rosen joined a letter to the President urging him and his Administration to take action on behalf of thousands of Vietnam veterans who have been denied the critical health care and benefits they need to treat medical conditions resulting from exposure to Agent Orange.