Higgins Announces House Passage of Legislation Providing Assistance to Blue Water Navy Veterans
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the House passage of H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. The bill, of which Congressman Higgins is one of 333 bipartisan cosponsors, was approved with unanimous support.
H.R. 299 expands benefits to an estimated 90,000 Vietnam veterans and their families who have been denied benefits for decades after exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. When Congress first took action to address the health effects of Agent Orange in 1991, benefits were given to those who served on the ground in Vietnam, but not necessarily to those who served off the coast in Vietnamese waters. A recent court case ruled that the Blue Water Navy Veterans who were stationed in the waters off the coast of Vietnam are also entitled to the same benefits as ground forces exposed to Agent Orange. This legislation codifies that decision.
Congressman Higgins said: “Though it’s long overdue, I’m glad that Congress is finally taking action to provide Vietnam veterans with the benefits that they earned more than 40 years ago. I’m proud to cosponsor and vote for this bill which will help our Blue Water Navy Veterans, their families, and their survivors.”
The legislation was supported by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and many other Veteran Service Organizations.