House again passes 'Blue Water' Navy benefits bill with unanimous support

by Nikki Wentling
Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON – For the second time in less than a year, the House unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would extend benefits to Vietnam War sailors who have fought for years to prove they were exposed to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange.

The House voted 410-0 to advance the bill to the Senate, following a vote last year of 382-0.

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 aims to grant Department of Veterans Affairs benefits to "Blue Water" Navy veterans who served aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships but had been deemed ineligible for the same disability benefits as others who served on the ground and inland waterways. Agent Orange, a dioxin-laden herbicide, has been found to cause respiratory cancers, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease, as well as other conditions.

The House approved a similar bill last June in the previous congressional session, but the effort stalled and ultimately failed in the Senate.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.581019

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