Legislative Alert – Ask your Representative to Support H.R. 5484 the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014
Representative Dan Benishek, (MI-1), has introduced H.R. 5484, the Toxic Exposure Research of 2014 formerly H.R. 4816, the Toxic Exposure Research and Military Family Support Act of 2014, VVA strongly supports this bill, which reflects positively on one of our foremost legislative goals. Not only would it help achieve a measure of justice for the innocent victims of the use of toxic substances in times of war, but it offers unlimited possibilities for scientific research into the effects of these toxic chemicals.
This comprehensive legislation will construct a common mechanism and procedures that will encompass all past and future toxic wounds, as needed.
VVA urges you to go to our Legislative Action Center site at http://capwiz.com/vva/home/ and Take Action NOW by entering your zip code and sending the prepared letter to your U.S. Representative, asking them to please join their colleagues Brownley, (CA-26), Conyers, (MI-13) Honda (CA-17) and Rahall (WV-3) to co-sponsor H.R. 5484, the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014.
Sen. Jerry Moran Joins With Senator Blumenthal To Introduce Toxic Exposure Research and Military Family Support Act of 2014
(Washington, DC)– “We applaud Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for joining forces to introduce The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014, said VVA National President John Rowan. “Among the so-called invisible wounds of war are those brought home by troops that may not manifest for decades. And most tragically, the damage done by the toxins may pass on genetically to the children and grandchildren of our nation’s warriors. Our children are the innocent victims of our military service.”
This bill, (S.2738), instructs the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a national center for research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of the descendants of veterans exposed to toxins during service in the Armed Forces. Further, S.2738 calls for the establishment of an advisory board to oversee and assess the work of the center; to determine health conditions that result from toxic exposure; and to study and evaluate cases of exposure. The advisory board will advise the Secretary of VA on issues related to research conducted at the National Center and the particular benefits and services required by the descendants of individuals exposed while serving as members of the Armed Forces.
Sen. Moran Speaks About Toxic Exposure Research Act on U.S. Senate Floor
On Thursday, July 31, 2014, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) spoke on the U.S. Senate Floor about the Toxic Exposure Research Act.
Tony Becker, cast member of the TV show "Tour of Duty", encourages you to learn more about Agent Orange and other toxic exposures that have occurred during military conflicts. Visit the Faces of Agent Orange page today!
More Veteran News
According to a September 14 post by Jordain Carney of the National Journal, the Pentagon says that the majority of soldiers—about 77 percent—do receive an honorable discharge. But more than 600,000 received a lesser rating between fiscal years 2000 and 2013, according to a Defense Department breakdown. These soldiers often feel left behind by the government and find it very hard to get the full benefits they believe they have earned.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald welcomed the September 16, 2014, confirmation of Connecticut Veterans Commissioner Linda S. Schwartz as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Policy and Planning.
In this post, Dr. Schwartz will help develop and review VA departmental policy, analyze Veteran trends and statistics, and evaluate VA transformation initiatives. She will play a critical role in guiding VA’s strategic planning and work to implement Secretary McDonald’s vision to transform VA into a nimble, high-performing, and responsive organization.
“I welcome Dr. Schwartz to our leadership team,” said Secretary McDonald. “Based on her decades of devotion and hard work on behalf of veterans and veterans’ causes, I know she will have an immediate impact in the Agency’s continued mission of serving the great men and women who have proudly worn this Nation’s uniform.”
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"Books in Review II," is an online feature that complements "Books in Review," which runs in The VVA Veteran, the national magazine of Vietnam Veterans of America.
"Arts of War," is Vietnam Veterans of America's up-to-the-minute compendium of information, news and reviews about the arts—movies, television, stage plays, musicals, music, dance, popular and fine arts, and more—that deal with Vietnam veterans and the Vietnam War.
“Vietnam Veterans of America is very pleased with the recent announcement by Secretary of Defense Hagel regarding the September 3, 2014, Department of Defense (DoD) guidance to Military Department Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records (BCM/NR) when considering petitions regarding discharge upgrade requests by veterans claiming Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, who received Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharges,” said VVA National President John Rowan.
“It is the right thing to do, especially for our Vietnam veterans. Many of our brothers and sisters were inappropriately discharged under other than honorable conditions after serving their country, because PTSD was not recognized at that time. In many cases, a PTSD diagnosis was not made until decades after their service was completed. And, because of their OTH discharge, they were unable to receive VA benefits. VVA has been advocating for these veterans for a long time, and we are very grateful that Secretary Hagel has taken this action,” said Rowan.
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Personality Disorder Discharges
The Department of Defense (DoD) has violated the law by failing to release records showing that it has wrongfully discharged nearly 26,000 service members on the basis of so-called "Personality Disorder."