WASHINGTON, D.C. – - Today, Chairman Mark Takano (D-Cali.) and Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) released the following statements after the House passed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, H.R. 299. The bill unanimously passed the House, 410 - 0.
“I am so proud to say the House has finally passed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act," said Chairman Takano. "For more than forty years, tens of thousands of veterans, their families, and survivors have been denied the benefits they earned after exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. But by passing this bill tonight, we came together to right a terrible injustice. It has been a long, hard fought battle, but thanks to bipartisan efforts led by Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe and myself, our Veteran Service Organizations, and countless veteran voices and family members, we have done our part to finally get justice for these veterans. I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to ensure we can finally make this right for our Blue Water Navy veterans and ask Leader McConnell to bring this bill to the floor swiftly-- these veterans have waited long enough.
“I applaud the House's passage of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act," said Ranking Member Dr. Roe. "This bill will ensure that our Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans receive the long overdue benefits that they earned. Last Congress, while I was Chairman of the Committee, the House unanimously passed nearly identical legislation. Unfortunately, despite the steadfast efforts of Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Tester, that bill stalled in the Senate. I want to thank Chairman Takano for reintroducing this bill and working with me to ensure it remains a priority. I look forward to continuing our efforts to advocate for this bill with our Senate colleagues and, ultimately, send it to President Trump's desk so that we can finally deliver on the promises made to these well-deserving veterans.”
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 will extend benefits to servicemembers that served in the territorial waters off the coast of Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange. This was the first bill Chairman Takano introduced this Congress after a similar bill was passed unanimously in the House of Representatives last Congress but stalled in the Senate. This legislation will ensure tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans finally get the benefits they’ve earned and deserve.