As a veteran with exposure to the herbicide, Agent Orange, in Vietnam, I had difficulty in getting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize that association. I communicated this to Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer in 2019. Abby was aware of these problems for veterans and was co-sponsoring one of her many bipartisan bills H. R. 299, The Blue Water Navy (BWN) Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 (PL 116-23) which extended the presumption of herbicide exposure, such as Agent Orange, to Veterans who served in the inland waters, bays and harbors and the eligible offshore waters of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
The Bill passed the House in May 2019, passed by the Senate and was signed into law June 25, 2019. With the guidance of former Linn County Veterans Affairs Director Don Tyne and Service Officer Kim Pasker we reapplied to the VA. On June 6, I received a letter from the VA granting a disability claim associated with exposure to Agent Orange as defined in and as result of the passage H.R. 299 now Public Law 116-23.
This is one of the finest examples of bipartisan cooperation that I have witnessed and something Finkenauer participates in quite often. On behalf of myself and thousands of newly eligible veterans we thank Congresswoman Finkenauer for her continued support of veterans.