Additional Agent Orange Presumptives on the Line as Congress Returns From Recess

Additional Agent Orange Presumptives on the Line as Congress Returns From Recess
Aircraft spray Agent Orange southeast of Saigon in 1968. (Photo by Dick Swanson/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images)

As lawmakers return for the final push of the 116th Congress, passage of the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is high on MOAA’s priority list. A key provision in the NDAA will positively impact tens of thousands of veterans exposed to Agent Orange, adding three scientifically linked medical conditions to the list of Agent Orange "presumptives" … but only if it’s included in the final legislation. 

 

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An amendment adding bladder cancer, Parkinson's-like symptoms, and hypothyroidism to this list of conditions passed 94-6 in the Senate. Bu tthe House has yet to consider this provision, and bicameral  support is required for the passage to survive the conference process. 

 

Support on the House side has more unknowns. A bipartisan companion amendment proposed by Reps. Josh Harder (D-Calif.) and Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) did not make it through the House Rules Committee due to the lack of a budgetary offset to pay for the provision. To be successful this time, it must overcome the $10 billion price tag associated with passage and compete with other congressional fiscal pressures. 

 

While MOAA and 30 other veterans service organizations have voiced their support on this issue, constituents must keep this issue at the forefront of lawmakers minds. Your voice is critical in securing benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange -- call and write your lawmaker now! 

 

 

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About the Author

Cory Titus
Cory Titus

Titus separated from the Army in 2017 as a captain and is MOAA's director of veteran benefits and guard/reserve affairs. He is currently studying social entrepreneurship at George Mason University with a focus on improving military financial education.