– “What is more disheartening is the discovery that the veterans’ services organizations with offices in Washington have bought into and support the VA’s argument that H.R. 2254 (Agent Orange Equity Act) will cost too much and cannot therefore possibly become ‘law of the land.'”
Some shocking news: The U.S. Congress and veterans service organizations are shafting some 265,000 veterans and their families on applying for compensation. Not enough money, you see, just too many veterans suffering.
H.R. 2254 (Agent Orange Equity Act): “To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam.”
Via Dan Cedusky’s newsletter at AngelFire, Marine Paul Sutton has the story.
[Editor’s Note: Paul Sutton is reportedly “one of the most knowledable men we have regarding Agent Orange and other herbicide issues.”]
By Marine Paul Sutton
Received a call from a ranking staff member of a Washington-based veterans’ services organization on Friday evening, about 90 minutes after my post of Friday evening relative to H. R. 2254 and its lack of progress in Congress.
He said: “…obviously you are not aware of what we’ve been working on to try to get legislation moved. This bill (H. R. 2254) is not coming out of committee as it is way too costly and an offset cannot be found to pay for it. We estimate that over 900,000 veterans would be eligible to apply for compensation; and that’s just going to cost too much.”
I then advised him that our (Blue Water Navy.org) estimate is more like 265,000 potential veterans. He asked how that estimate was arrived at; and, I agreed to email him the one-page “research paper” provided by John Rossie.
He then went on to talk about VA “loading” military histories (one would assume from records accessed @ St. Louis), giving VA a clearer picture of whom and from what service potential claimants would come. This would involve use of a three-digit field that VA has available to accumulate and upload the data for the military histories that presumably become a part of the veterans VA medical record; but, this would further delay any resolution to getting H. R. 2254 passed. He also talked about waiting for the next release of the biennial IOM/NAS Agent Orange study before pressing Congress to proceed with this legislation or something like it.
I asked if he were aware of the IOM hearing on May 3rd concerning Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure. He said that yes, he and other members of their staff would be there to “listen in”.
After a 10-minute conversation, the call ended.
Obviously VA is using inflated figures in advising Congress (as it is in the proposed rules for ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and chronic B-cell blood cancers) about “steering clear” of moving H. R. 2254. What is more disheartening is the discovery that the veterans’ services organizations with offices in Washington have bought into and support the VA’s argument that H. R. 2254 will cost too much and cannot therefore possibly become “law of the land”.
Our “colleagues” in the VSO community are not on the veterans’ side in this fight.”