Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Rooney Supports Bill Expanding Benefits for Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange

Jun 25, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –  Congressman Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL) issued the following statement in response to the House’s passage of H.R 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018:

“We in Congress are obligated to help our veterans receive the care they deserve and Blue Water Navy veterans who served in Vietnam’s coastal waters are no exception,” Rooney said. “Unfortunately, veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange – by no fault of their own – are being denied presumptive service connection and refused benefits. This is unacceptable.”

Under the current system, veterans who served in Vietnam’s coastal waters are required to provide evidence of their exposure to Agent Orange, a herbicide containing a toxic chemical linked to various cancers, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Type II Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. The VA routinely denies these veterans’ claims.

H.R. 299 would restore the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to veterans who served in Vietnam’s coastal waters and would allow them to receive medical care and disability compensation. Their survivors could also qualify for benefits.

“Throughout ten years in Congress, I’ve supported laws to force the VA’s hand and secure justice for veterans suffering as a result of complications from Agent Orange exposure and I was proud to cosponsor and support this legislation today,” Rooney said.

If signed into law, the provision would affect new claims beginning Jan. 1, 2019.