VVA Applauds the Passage of NDAA and Tester/Harder Amendment; Urges Trump to Sign This Legislation Immediately

Published 3:16 pm Monday, March 15, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – “Vietnam Veterans of America applauds the passage of FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which, when signed into law by the President, will add four Agent Orange-related diseases–bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, Parkinsonism, and hypertension–to the Department of Veterans Affairs list of conditions linked to herbicide exposure in Vietnam and elsewhere, said VVA National President John Rowan.

“This legislation will correct a long-lingering injustice, allowing our afflicted Vietnam veterans to receive the care and benefits they have earned by their service in our longago, unpopular war.” “We are deeply indebted to Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Josh Harder (D-Calif.) for their leadership on behalf of our wounded veterans and for their amendment to the NDAA. We applaud their determination and that of their colleagues on both sides of the aisle. We are grateful to our colleagues in the veteran service community for their support. This has been a long battle, and Sen. Tester has persevered in the face of this injustice, once again, proving himself to be a true champion of veterans,” noted Rowan.

We encourage all veterans to write or call the President. Let him know how important this legislation is to our Vietnam Veterans. With President Trump’s signature on this bill, he will have done the right thing for our veterans, and his legacy will prevail. Contact for the White House office at: 202-456-1111. Or write to the President at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20500. Time is of the essence. In 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine deemed these illnesses, to be associated with exposure to defoliants used during the war.

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In 2018, the academies also linked hypertension to Agent Orange in 2018, however the amendment sent to the Armed Services committees did not include the condition.VA officials have refused to accept the findings of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and have not added these conditions to the list of presumptive conditions. “We will continue to battle on behalf of all veterans and their families suffering the ill health effects of their exposure to toxic substances while serving in the U.S. military, no matter where or when they served. We will not stand by silent as future generations receive the same poor treatment we have faced in our decades-long fight for recognition of our toxic wounds,” said Rowan.