From her perch on the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., rounded up 40 members of Congress in sending a letter to U.S. VA Sec. Denis McDonough calling on him “to expedite the implementation of new benefits that allow Vietnam veterans suffering from Agent Orange-related illnesses to get disability benefits to which they were previously not entitled.”
Other signers include U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, R-PR, Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, and Darren Soto, D-Fla.
“We write to ensure our Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their military service to our nation get the care they need and deserve,” the members wrote. “As you know, the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included a provision (Sec. 9109) that added three new medical conditions to the presumptive list for diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange: Parkinsonism, Bladder Cancer, and Hypothyroidism. With this authorization in place, the only barrier left for impacted Veterans to start receiving benefits is for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement these changes.
“While we understand the VA is carefully examining the provisions of the law to determine what regulations will be required to implement them, we believe waiting for what can typically take 18-24 months for rulemaking could be a matter of life or death for some of our veterans,” they added.
Frankel weighed in on the letter on Wednesday.
“Today, 40 members of Congress joined me in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough asking to expedite the implementation of new benefits that allow Vietnam veterans suffering from Agent Orange-related illnesses to get disability benefits to which they were previously not entitled,” Frankel noted. “We want to ensure our Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their military service to our nation get the care they need and deserve.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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