Washington, D.C.– Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2013, which would address the ongoing challenges faced by the victims of Agent Orange, four decades after the toxic defoliants were heavily used during the Vietnam War.
« Generations of Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans continue to suffer from the tragic effects of the Agent Orange defoliants, » said Congresswoman Lee. « I am proud to introduce this legislation, which would provide important services and protections for those exposed to Agent Orange and their descendants. »
From 1961-1971, approximately 19 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed over the southern region of Vietnam, exposing millions of Vietnamese and tens of thousands of Americans to the toxic chemical. A variety of diseases stem from Agent Orange exposure, including birth defects, Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, and respiratory cancers.
The Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act would direct the Departments of Veterans Affairs, State and Health and Human Services to provide medical services and resources to affected communities, including those still living in contaminated environments, and the descendants of exposed veterans and Vietnamese Americans. The legislation also includes provisions for future research into the impact of Agent Orange exposure.
« We need ensure that individuals affected by Agent Orange have access to medical services relating to their exposure. Our policies addressing Agent Orange do not adequately provide for the children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange, nor for the Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans who have been exposed to this toxic substance, » said Congresswoman Lee. « This legislation would continue lifesaving research into the continuing effects of Agent Orange, as well as provide medical services to those affected by it. »
The former Representative Bob Filner previously introduced the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act as H.R. 2634 in the 112th Congress. Congresswoman Lee is reintroducing the legislation in the 113th Congress order to ensure that the victims of Agent Orange receive medical services and resources. Original cosponsors include Representatives Faleomavaega, Cohen, Conyers, Grijalva, Honda, McGovern, and Pingree.
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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, as well as the Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), where she serves as the Co-Chair of the CPC Peace and Security Task Force.
Source : Barbara Lee