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Feb-20-2009 07:25printcomments

Veterans for Change Asks Congress to Step Up

The Veterans-For-Change group is also asking that the Congress take prompt action to pass the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009.

American soldier on patrol near Balad, Iraq
American soldier on patrol near Balad, Iraq photo by Tim King

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - The small but vocal group Veterans-for-Change released a letter this week to the Congress calling for new legislation in the 111th Congress.

Their request is based on the obvious fact that while billions may be spent on war, on bailouts, and economic stimuli, the U.S. Government cannot appropriate sufficient funding to care for Veterans and Widows of Veterans disabled by their President.

The group is requesting the Senate introduce and co-sponsor their version of HR 613 - The Military Retiree Survivor Comfort Act.

HR 613 would authorize the retention of the full final month’s retired pay by the surviving spouse (or other designated survivor) for the month in which the member was alive for at least 24 hours and we ask that the full Congress immediately pass this legislation.

The group also asks that the Congress immediately pass HR 775 The Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act which would repeal any off set between SBP and DIC. It also restores eligibility for previously ineligible spouses who elected to transfer their SBP to a surviving child or children.

The group in addition is asking that the Congress shall not increase enrollment or co-pay fees for Tricare Standard, Prime, and Tricare-For-Life, for any users by co-sponsoring H.R. 816 – The Military Retirees’ Healthcare Protection Act.

Furthermore, we also ask that the Congressional Budget Office cease and desist in believing that Veterans, who paid Social Security and Medicare taxes, and gave more through their lives than any, should bear both punitive, additive costs and suffer the indignity of paying for their health care while on Active Duty, unless such law is enacted immediately, which guarantees that a member of any military organization may resign without prejudice.

The Veterans-For-Change group is also asking that the Congress take prompt action to pass the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009 to add those who served and are considered Blue Water Navy be considered as well as others exposed and added to the Agent Orange Presumptive list for any and all illnesses described in that category. These men and women washed their clothing, dishes, showered in or drank water that had been desalinated and filtered, yet was still contaminated with dioxin as these military personnel are no less affected than those with “boots on the ground”.

Finally, the group calls for Congress take prompt action to investigate and put forth legislation that would cover all veterans exposed to TCE (trichloroethylene), specifically at MCAS El Toro in California, and MCAS Camp Lejeune in North Carolina as well as all other former and current military installations nationwide.

VA policy puts the burden of proof on veterans to provide extensive supporting documentation for disability compensation claims for TCE exposure, even when veterans have been stationed at contaminated military sites and the illness is linked to TCE exposure. Only Congress can stop and correct this.

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Sam Pilato April 7, 2009 11:27 am (Pacific time)

Good for you! It's a crying shame we have to prove have to prove. Prove! The only reason we all are here is because of us poor young sapps that go out and put our lives on the line. I was told when I went into the Army "that all of your medical expense would be covered" Then every year The administrations continue to try and figure out how to decrease this and that. You are so correct, shame on our government. And now the new thing is all military personal have 5 years to get sick after there exit from the military. Are you kidding me! We should take care of all military personal FOR LIFE! Without these brave young men this country would long been gone.

conservative February 20, 2009 12:20 pm (Pacific time)

It's a shame. They serve for their Country and then kicked in the butt by our Government. And here Terrorists and Illegals get the golden plate treatment. Shame on our Federal Government, House and Congress. Shame on you.

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