The Association of the United States Navy joined other Military and Veterans Service Organizations in a meeting May 8 with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), House Veterans Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (Calif.), and several other members of Congress to discuss issues affecting veterans. During the meeting, Takano noted that his committee had marked up HR 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, and is pushing the House to take it up next week.
The House voted unanimously to pass the bill last year. The Senate was also virtually unanimously in favor, but due to Senate rules, two Senators — Lee (Utah) and Enzi (Wyo.) — were able to keep it from ever getting out of committee so it could be voted on.
A Senate version of the bill proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) is currently under consideration.
The chances of the bill’s passage increased considerably earlier this year when a federal court ruled in favor of a Vietnam veteran who served aboard ship. The Procopio decision potentially extends health care benefits and compensation to up to 90,000 veterans. However, a bill is necessary to ensure that all veterans are covered.
Main image: Far left: Adm. Cole, CEO of AUSN … Far right: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Veterans Affairs Chairman Mark Takano