Congressman Tim Ryan Urges Quick Senate Passage of Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act
Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) today urged Republican Senate Leadership to stop playing politics and pass the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (H.R. 299). The bill would provide benefits to 90,000 Blue Water Navy veterans who were exposed to dioxin -- also known as Agent Orange -- during the Vietnam War. As the 115th Congress draws to a close, the legislation is stuck in the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, and is at risk of expiring with the end of the Congress which would put the effort back to square one.
“Our veterans have put their lives on the line in defense for our freedoms and security. As a nation, we can honor their service and sacrifice by holding up our end of the bargain and providing them the care they have earned. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act is a chance to show our thanks,” said Congressman Ryan. “I’m extremely disappointed that the Senate is poised to abandon their duty to these men and women by failing to pass this important legislation by the end of the 115th Congress. All too often members of this Congress are willing to pay lip service to the sacrifices our military and military veterans make, then fall into the trap of playing politics when there’s a chance to actually do something to help them. I’ve had enough of that. Pass this bill.”
In addition to being a cosponsor of the original House Bill, Congressman Ryan wrote a letter to VA Under Secretary of Benefits Paul Lawrence in August of this year urging department to extend benefits to Navy veterans exposed to dioxin. Congressman Ryan also joined a letter with his colleagues in October calling on Senator Johnny Isakson, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, to pass the bill out of committee so the full Senate could vote on it.
H.R. 299 passed the House on June 25 of this year by a unanimous vote of 382-0.