Bruce’s Take 11/08/19
This Monday, we will take time to honor our veterans as we celebrate Veterans Day. We are so blessed to live in the United States of America, and owe our thanks to those who fought for our freedom.
During my time in Congress, my office has received far too many requests from veterans who are having difficulty receiving their medical benefits from the VA, many of whom were affected by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. These illnesses are serious, and it is our responsibility to uphold the promise of medical care that men and women in uniform were given.
President Trump signed The Blue Water Navy Act into law this year. This expands Agent Orange exposure benefits to those who served off the shores of Vietnam. It also includes legislation I introduced that provides benefits to children with spina bifida whose parents were exposed to Agent Orange. Now that we know just how damaging these herbicides were to veterans, there is no reason we should deny benefits to them and their families.
I also introduced the Keeping Our Promises Act. This bill would add nine additional illnesses, recognized by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) as being caused by exposure to toxic herbicides, eligible as a presumptive for VA benefits. Additionally, I introduced legislation to expand exposure benefits to veterans who served in Thailand during the Vietnam War. Every veteran should have the same opportunity to receive VA benefits no matter where or when they served. I hope to make this a reality for our country’s heroes, and look forward to seeing this legislation brought to the floor for a vote.
Taking care of our veterans will always be a top priority while I serve in Congress. Thank you to the men and women who bravely served our country. If you or someone you know needs assistance with the VA, please don’t hesitate to call my office at (501) 609-9796. My staff and I would be honored to help make sure you receive the benefits you were promised when you signed up to defend our nation.
Until next week,
Arkansas’ Fourth District
Westerman Weekly with host Murriel Wiley
It is so important that we take the time to speak with our veterans and record their stories so their memories can be passed on for generations to come. I am honored to be a part of the Veterans History Project, which provides an avenue for veterans to share their stories and remember their fallen comrades. The Library of Congress is recording these personal accounts in an archive. If you or someone you know would like to participate in the Veterans History Project, please call my office at (501) 609-9796. You can learn more about the Veterans History Project here.
David Witte, the military and veterans affairs liaison in my office, also serves on the Arkansas Army National Guard, Brigade Chaplain 77th Combat Aviation. He is currently with Joint Force Headquarters Arkansas, Deputy Senior Army Chaplain at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, North Little Rock, Arkansas. He was deployed to Kuwait/Iraq 2016-2017 with the 77th Combat Aviation. I am proud to have David on staff and for his dedicated service to our country.
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