With the 2012 elections over, the new House and Senate will have their first session in early 2013. They will be faced with many issues, some old, some new. It is time for members of the new Congress to put aside partisan politics and become legislators.
There are still two major bills in committee that are of interest to Vietnam veterans. These are H.R. 3612 in the House and S. 1629 in the Senate, and they seek to restore Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits for Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War. The current House and Senate still have time to act upon these bills before January. The bills must come out of committee and go to the floor of both houses, and soon. I ask the American people to urge our legislators to act swiftly.
The Vietnam veterans who are sick from Agent Orange (dioxin) exposure need this legislation passed into law before the new lawmakers take office. With a new legislative assembly, we advocates for Vietnam veterans will have to start over again, meaning longer delay for veterans and VA approval.
Thousands of Vietnam veterans haven't been approved by the VA because they did not have boots on the ground, even though they may have been awarded the Vietnam Service Medal. Many fleet sailors, airmen and Marines who served during that war are sick from exposure to the deadly herbicide. With the passage of the bills, those members of the U.S. armed forces will receive equal VA benefits.
JOHN J. BURY
U.S. Navy (retired)
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