I recently introduced two bipartisan bills to ensure veterans exposed to Agent Orange while serving their country during the Vietnam War-era receive the benefits they were promised and have earned. Upon retirement, many Vietnam War-era veterans stationed in Vietnam and Thailand were denied certain health benefits despite a clear connection between their time in service, the herbicides used during their service, and their subsequent poor health status.
This is an unacceptable way to treat the men and women who sacrificed to keep us safe. It is our responsibility to make good on our word and ensure these veterans receive the care they have earned.
These bills – H.R. 2268 and H.R. 2269 — also set a precedent for all future service members. We must instill confidence in our current and future servicemembers that their country has their backs and will keep its promises. Last Congress, I was grateful that our hard work resulted in three of the nine presumptive service-connected diseases being signed into law, but our work is not done.
Veteran issues are very close to my heart, especially with two veterans serving on my staff in Arkansas. I am grateful that 56 members from both sides of the political aisle have joined me to champion this important issue. Hope for bipartisanship lives on when we can agree upon the issues that make life better for more Americans.
Bruce Westerman is a U.S. Congressman representing the 4th District of Arkansas. He is a Republican.