Navy vets exposed to Agent Orange get new hope for benefits
WASHINGTON — For the second time in as many years, the House overwhelmingly approved a bill that could make tens of thousands of Navy vets and their survivors eligible for benefits stemming from exposure to Agent Orange while serving in waters off Vietnam.
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act has been championed in the House by Representative Joe Courtney, who saw a similar bill approved in the House unanimously last year only to wither away in the Senate without a vote.
The bill, which had 333 co-sponsors including the entire Connecticut delegation, was approved 410-0 on Tuesday. It would clarify that VA disability benefits provided to Vietnam Veterans based on a presumption they were exposed to Agent Orange include veterans who served on ships that patrolled the Vietnam waterways as well as those who served in the Korean demilitarized zone.