Letters to the Editor

Senate must act to help 'Blue Water' veterans

As a war veteran and citizen of the 1st Congressional District, I was pleased to see my representative, Abby Finkenauer, support the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 (H.R. 299). This act will extend benefits to Vietnam War sailors who have fought for years to prove they were exposed to Agent Orange, a dioxin-laden herbicide, found to cause respiratory cancers, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease, as well as other conditions.

This bipartisan bill — passed unanimously in the House — extends veterans’ benefits to “Blue Water” Navy veterans who served aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships. Currently, sailors have been deemed ineligible for the same disability benefits as others who served on the ground and inland waterways.

A similar bill passed the House unanimously one year ago and stalled in the Senate. I am calling on my fellow veteran U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst to not let this bill fail in the Senate again. She owes it to our brothers- and sisters-in-arms to pass this legislation and get these sailors the benefits they deserve.

Please move quickly on this bill. Our heroes deserve nothing less.

Joe Stutler

U.S. Army veteran

Marion

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