Agent Orange & Dioxin Committee Update January/February 2021

With the override of President Trump’s veto, the National Defense Authorization Act became law. Included in it is recognition—finally—of three presumptive illnesses associated with exposure to Agent Orange.

The AO Committee will meet to discuss issues facing the new administration, including the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 (the children’s law, P.L.114-315), which the VA is not following. Under consideration is a lawsuit because the VA went off on its own on the research part of the law.

I look forward to doing more town halls as soon as it’s safe. Many Vietnam veterans are unaware that their children’s illnesses are not a coincidence. We need to keep on educating them and their families. There is also the issue of the Ranch Hand samples that the Air Force is still keeping in subzero freezers. Committee members Linda Schwartz and Jack McManus have been in talks with the Air Force on this.

I hope for increased attention from the new administration because President Biden lost a son to toxic exposure in 2015. Many of our sons and daughters have been lost due to our exposure to Agent Orange. Much work remains to be done before they lay us to rest. I will keep the faith and keep doing what I can to see this issue to the end (if there is an end).

Keep contacting your representatives about these important issues. As always, thank you, grassroots people and staff at VVA. You make the difference.

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