Westerman Statement on Blue Water Navy Act
WASHINGTON – Late Tuesday night, President Donald Trump signed the Blue Water Navy Act into law. U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:
“This legislation is a huge win for veterans across the country. Not only will the Blue Water Navy Act extend VA benefits to veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange off the coast of Vietnam, but it will also allow children born with spina bifida as a result of their parents’ exposure to toxic herbicides to receive benefits as well. We as a country promised to care for the men and women who serve and protect, and I’m grateful Congress and the administration put partisan politics aside to sign this bill into law.”
Agent Orange was a tactical herbicide used during the Vietnam War to destroy crops and thin foliage. Exposure to this chemical is linked with health issues, including cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s and many others.
The Agent Orange Act of 1991 stipulated that if a veteran served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 and has a disease related to Agent Orange exposure, they would automatically be presumed to have been exposed, and would qualify for VA disability and health benefits. The Blue Water Navy Act extends the presumption of exposure to veterans who served off the coasts of Vietnam during the war, making them eligible for benefits.