Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) introduced a House Resolution in support of our Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans.

“This resolution will help ensure that our brave Blue Water Vietnam Vets get the care they need and deserve,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “We should never leave behind our veterans who served heroically and this resolution will help ensure those who were exposed to Agent Orange get the benefits they are entitled to. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense measure.”

"These honorable veterans took an oath to defend this nation at all costs including their lives,” said Susie Belanger, Special Projects Director, Blue Water Navy Association. “Our country needs to keep their promise that they would be cared for when they returned.  They stand up not only for themselves, but for all the future warriors who are exposed to war time chemicals and injuries. The Vietnam Veteran did not receive a hero’s welcome when they came home.  Although they are proud to hear "Welcome Home" now; actions to restore their earned and deserved benefits will clearly support that meaning.  I am proud to call Congresswoman Stefanik my representative as she wasted no time to take action to support this issue."

The resolution expresses the sense of Congress that those who served in the bays, harbors, and territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam during the period from January 9, 1962 – May 7, 1975, should be presumed to have been exposed to the toxin Agent Orange and should be eligible for all related Federal benefits associated with the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

Under the VA’s current interpretation of the Agent Orange Act of 1991, Vietnam Veterans must have stepped foot on the land of Vietnam or served on its inland waterways anytime between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, to be presumed to have been exposed to herbicides when claiming service-connection for diseases related to Agent Orange exposure. This determination leaves many of our Navy vets unable to claim benefits they need. This resolution would help broaden the presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure by veterans to certain herbicide agents while in Vietnam. Including the territorial seas and offshore waters will provide eligibility for care to a larger group of Vietnam Veterans impacted by exposure to such herbicides.

Click here for text of the resolution.

Original cosponsors of this resolution include Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU-01), Ryan Costello (R-PA-06), Joe Courtney (D-CT-02), Charlie Crist (D-FL-13), Rosa Delauro (D-CT-03), Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR-01), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05), Sam Graves (R-MO-06), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI-01), Jim Himes (D-CT-04), Walter Jones (R-NC-03), Pete King (R-NY-02), Leonard Lance (R-NJ-07), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ-02), Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Kathleen Rice (D-NY-04), Dennis Ross (R-FL-15), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Thomas Suozzi (D-NY-03), Claudia Tenney (R-NY-22), Fred Upton (R-MI-06), David Valadao (R-CA-21), Timothy Walz (D-MN-01), and Ted Yoho (R-FL-03).