Congressman Tim Ryan Votes for Long-Overdue Benefit to Vietnam-Era Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange
Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today voted in favor of H.R. 6395, the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included a long-overdue benefit to Vietnam-Era veterans exposed to Agent Orange – adding Parkinsonism, bladder cancer, and hypothyroidism to the list of diseases associated with its exposure.
This bipartisan bill also included a pay raise for the troops and hazard pay for those who serve in harm’s way. It authorizes a 3.0 percent increase in basic pay and $275 hazardous duty pay per month for service members in harm’s way, including members of the National Guard and National Reserve.
“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 – and this bill provides long-overdue benefits to those brave Vietnam-Era veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange,” said Congressman Ryan. “This bill will also provide additional wages and protections to our active duty armed forces and veterans during this already difficult time. Our troops must be fully prepared for the many threats they face around the world, and it is our job to make sure they get the support they need to carry out their mission—especially as we face a global pandemic.”
Other provisions of the $732 billion NDAA supported by Congressman Ryan include:
- Ensuring paid parental leave to all federal employees.
- Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to furnish childcare to each child of a member of the Armed Forces or civilian employee of the DOD while that member or employee works on rotating shifts at a military installation.
- Taking Steps to Further Protect Military Communities from polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including authorizing $1.4 billion for environmental remediation and BRAC accounts which support a range of remediation activities, to include those related to PFAS, at current military installations, formerly utilized defense sites, and installations closed by BRAC
- Includes the Elijah Cummings Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination Act, passed ty the House in January 2019, which strengthens equal employment opportunity protections for federal employees and strengthens prohibitions against discrimination and retaliation against whistleblowers.
- Includes improves to military housing, including updating minimum health and safety standards for all military base housing, repealing a provision that currently allows DOD to place families in substandard housing units, and requiring DOD to implement Comptroller General recommendations for improvement of military family housing.
- Requires the DOD Inspector General to establish a mechanism to track and report supremacist, extremist, and criminal gang activity in the Armed Forces.