WHEN IT COMES TO AMERICA'S VETERANS, I BELIEVE IN THE FOLLOWING CORE PRINCIPLES -
As the son of a World War II Navy veteran, and a brother of three veterans, I have a deep appreciation for the service and sacrifice made by our nation’s service members.
America's veterans are the backbone of the freedom and prosperity this country has enjoyed for over two hundred years. We need to ensure these honorable and courageous veterans receive the care and benefits they have earned.
As your Member of Congress, I have supported efforts to increase funding for the care and treatment of our veterans, and to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claims and benefits process, which has suffered from troubling and unacceptable delays for far too long. I also supported efforts to increase accountability within the VA and to make it easier to fire employees for underperformance or misconduct.
Most recently, I have spoken personally with veterans who say they were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, but are unable to receive VA benefits for diseases associated with this toxic herbicide.
In order to help them qualify for VA benefits, I introduced the FOSTER Act and am an original cosponsor of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act.
The FOSTER Act would grant presumptive Agent Orange exposure status to U.S. service members who served on U.S. military ships in the waters off the coast of Vietnam or in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands or American Samoa during the Vietnam War and suffer from any of the diseases the U.S. Government has linked to Agent Orange.
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act would provide the same presumptive status to those veterans who served on U.S. military ships in the waters off the coast of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
I will not let the DOD drag its feet on this or allow a “delay and deny until they die” attitude toward our courageous veterans. We must quickly provide our veterans the help and services they have earned.