Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.), legislation to ensure that thousands of Navy veterans, known as ‘Blue Water’ veterans, are able to receive the disability and health care benefits they earned after exposure to Agent Orange while fighting in the Vietnam War.
“It is shameful that thousands of Blue Water veterans, who are potentially suffering from the harmful effects of exposure to Agent Orange, have been prevented from getting health care coverage they deserve for years because of a technicality in the law,” said Cortez Masto. “As a state home to close to 90,000 Vietnam veterans, we must enact this legislation to give Nevada veterans the compensation they earned and deserved. Our service members were unwitting victims to a highly toxic substance while bravely serving and defending our country. I will do everything I can to get them the care and support they need.”
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act would clarify the existing law so that Blue Water veterans would be covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if they served within ‘territorial seas,’ or approximately 12 miles offshore of Vietnam. The legislation would make it easier for the VA to process Vietnam War veterans’ claims for service-connected health conditions and alleviate a portion of the VA’s backlog by extending presumptive coverage of Agent Orange benefits to these veterans.