Periodically the Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations Legislative Liaison provides update information of current legislation before the U.S. Congress that is of interest to veterans. The appropriate bill number, title, bill summary, bill sponsor, and current status are provided. Links to additional information are provided as appropriate.
115th US Congress: Major Veteran Related Bills: TCVO Top Priority Bills
The 115th US Congress has generated hundreds of Veteran related bills. The sheer number of bills precludes our Texas Senators and Representatives from understanding which Bills are important to the Texas Veteran community. The following bills affect all generations of Texas Veterans, and some of the bills specifically pertain to those Texas Veterans affected by exposure to chemicals and dioxins such as Agent Orange and toxins released from Burn Pits.
The top priority bills for which grassroots support is critically needed are:
Exposure to Toxins: Agent Orange and Burn Pits:
- Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans: HR 299 introduced 1/5/2017. Author: Rep Valado (R-CA) Cosponsors: Walz (D-MN), Stefanik (R-NY), Courtney (D-CT), Ross (R-FL), LoBiondo (R-NJ). A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, and for other purposes. HR 299 is the reincarnation of HR 969 and S 681 from the 114th US Congress. HR299 has been referred to the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs by the House Veterans Affairs Committee on 1/19/2017. Hearing were held on 4/5/2017. HR299 has 288 Co-sponsors, 18 of whom are from Texas.
- Senate Companion Bill S422 was introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs on 2/16/2017. S422 has 42 Cosponsors, none from Texas. Text: A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, and for other purposes
- Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act: S319. A bill to direct the Secretary of Veterans to establish within the Department of Veterans Affairs a center of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure to burn pits. Senate Bill S319 authored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) was introduced 6 Feb 2017 and referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs. S319 has 14 Cosponsors, none from Texas.
- Agent Orange Reconciliation Act HR2891: 6/13/17 Congressman Sanford D Bishop (GA-02) and Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) reintroduced the Agent Orange Reconciliation Act of 2017 (HR2891) in an effort to help heal the post-conflict, human cost of war by caring for children living with Spina Bifida due to a Vietnam Veteran parent’s exposure to Agent Orange. Spina Bifida requires costly surgeries and extensive medical care because of potential paralysis resulting from damage to the spinal cord The AO Reconciliation Act of 2017 would fill gaps in the AO Benefits Act (Public Law 104-204) by providing one-time retroactive monetary payment to the families with children enduring Spina Bifida to compensate for treatment of related symptoms from birth until the date benefits under the original Act were first received. 6/13/17: introduced in House; referred to House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
- S305: Vietnam Veterans Recognition Act of 2017. Signed into public law 115-15 by President Trump on 29 March 2017. The Act encourages display of the flag of the United States on National Vietnam War Veterans Day, designated as March 29th.
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