House Urges Congress to Give Back Agent Orange Benefits
LeDoux’s HJR25 calls on Congress to pass HR-543 returning benefits to Vietnam veterans
Monday, March 10, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today passed a resolution from Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux calling on Congress to correct a 1991 law that currently denies certain Vietnam War veterans’ coverage for exposure to Agent Orange.
“The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (HR543) rights a wrong,” LeDoux, R-Anchorage, said. “The U.S. Veterans Administration arbitrarily redefined who was eligible for coverage under the pretenses that they didn’t have their ‘boots on the ground.’ They were still exposed. They deserve the same level of care as their brothers and sisters in arms.”
The VA’s action weakened the Agent Orange Act of 1991, which forced the Department of Veterans Affairs to make a presumption of exposure for any Vietnam veteran who displays symptoms related to Agent Orange and then to provide them with medical and/or financial benefits.
LeDoux said there are an estimated 609 Blue Water Navy Veterans in Alaska possibly affected by diseases brought on by Agent Orange exposure. “These veterans have served our country and need our help.”