Slidell, LA Veterans' Advocacy Group Lobbies Congress For Agent Orange Benefits

SLIDELL, LA – When the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee takes up S. 681 this week, representatives of a Slidell, LA, based veterans' advocacy organization, Military Veterans Advocacy, will be in attendance to give written testimony in support of the legislation.

         S 681 would expand military and veterans health and disability benefits to Navy personnel stationed off the coast of Vietnam who were exposed to Agent Orange through runoff, transfer, and ships' water distillation facilities. 

         Cdr. John Wells (USN, ret.), director of Military Veterans Advocacy, will appear before the committee this week to speak in support of the legislation.

         "We've been trying for years to see Congress override the Veterans Administration in its decision to deny benefits to Navy servicemen who served in the harbors and along the coast of Vietnam," Wells said. "Despite the 1991 Agent Orange Act, the VA has determined that only service members who set foot on Vietnamese soil are eligible for Agent Orange benefits, and there is sufficient evidence that sailors aboard ships were also exposed to the toxin.  I'm cautiously optimistic that the committee will recommend the bill favorably and that we might have success in this Congress."

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