Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) sent a letter to Trump Administration officials urging them to stop obstructing access to health benefits and disability compensation for approximately 83,000 veterans, some from Pennsylvania and Colorado.
Following a federally-mandated National Academies of Medicine (NAM) study on the health effects of exposure to Agent Orange, Office of Management and Budget Director (OMB) Mick Mulvaney declined to include illnesses determined by the NAM study to be linked to exposure to Agent Orange and other chemicals used during the Vietnam War as presumptive conditions.
“By refusing to include these illnesses on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) list of Agent Orange presumptive benefits, OMB is acting in direct opposition to the NAM’s analysis of peer-reviewed reports that suggest otherwise,” wrote Casey and Bennet in their letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie and OMB Director Mulvaney. “We encourage you to acknowledge the scientific based evidence and the recommendation of the previous VA Secretary David Shulkin, and designate these conditions to the presumptive list for Agent Orange exposure.”
The senators also expressed concern over the delay in implementation of new legislation to expand Agent Orange benefits to Navy Vietnam veterans, demanding the administration prioritize and process their claims as soon as possible.
“These veterans and their families have waited long enough for access to the benefits for which they are eligible and desperately need,” wrote the senators. “Our nation must live up to the promises it has made to the men and women who have sacrificed much by serving in uniform.”
The text of the letter is available here.