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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act

Rep. Courtney stands with Gerry Wright, a Vietnam veteran from Andover, CT who has raised awareness on Agent Orange exposure
Rep. Courtney stands with Gerry Wright, a Vietnam veteran from Andover, CT who has raised awareness on Agent Orange exposure​

Congress has worked for decades to right the wrongs committed against our servicemembers through their exposure to the toxic Agent Orange defoliant during their service in Vietnam and elsewhere. Unfortunately, some of our servicemembers have been left behind.

Of the fourteen diseases currently recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs as being linked to Agent Orange exposure, three have an additional requirement that a veteran demonstrates that the disease manifested within a year of their service in Vietnam. These manifestation periods create avoidable legal struggles and a fundamental unfairness for many of our Vietnam veterans. The dangers of Agent Orange were not well understood until years after the end of the Vietnam War and Congress did not act to require compensation for exposed veterans until the Veterans’ Dioxin and Radiation Exposure Compensation Standards Act passed in 1984, nearly a decade after the end of the conflict in 1975.

I believe it was unreasonable in 1984 to require a veteran to provide documentation of when their symptoms began so long after the fact and so long before a connection to Agent Orange was established. It is even more unreasonable to ask them to do so today.

That's why I have introduced H.R. 566, the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act, which would simply remove these one-year manifestation requirements from the three diseases already linked to Agent Orange exposure. This bipartisan bill is strongly supported by major Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) including the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.  


Information about the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act:

Support for the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act:


More on Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act

October 30, 2019 Press Release
“As Chairman of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and as the Representative for eastern Connecticut – home to so many veterans of our nation’s Sea Services – to have the endorsement of FRA for my bill, the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act, is particularly significant,” said Congressman Courtney.
October 21, 2019 Press Release
“To have the support of the Vietnam Veterans of America for my bill, the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act, is particularly significant,” said Congressman Courtney.
October 15, 2019 Press Release
“AMVETS is an organization made up of veterans serving veterans – they’re a strong advocate for over 250,000 men and women who served our country, and I’m proud to have their support for my bill,” said Congressman Courtney.
October 9, 2019 Press Release
“DAV is a great advocate for over one million of our nation’s veterans, and I’m grateful to have their support,” said Congressman Courtney.
May 10, 2019 In The News
Decades after their service, several local Vietnam veterans say they are dealing with the side effects from their contact with Agent Orange. Under current VA regulations, 14 presumptive conditions are related to its exposure. Of those 14, three of those conditions have end dates and must be at least 10% disabling within 1-year of contact with the herbicide. Those conditions are Cloracne, which is a skin condition, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, which is liver dysfunction, and Peripheral Neuropathy, which causes a variety of things like tumors and cancers.
January 15, 2019 Press Release
“Forty-three years after the end of the Vietnam War, our government is still failing to properly care for servicemembers who were exposed to the toxic chemical known as Agent Orange,” said Congressman Courtney. “The Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act is a long overdue reform to the way the Veterans Administration recognizes the claims of Agent Orange victims. This bill would not be possible without the tireless efforts of one of my constituents, Mr. Gerry Wright, who has singlehandedly crisscrossed the country to raise the alarm about untreated Agent Orange cases. It’s a commonsense bill which will remove one of the most frustrating and onerous barriers that has denied veterans critical assistance for decades. It’s time to correct an injustice, it’s time to pass this bill.”
November 9, 2018 Press Release
In advance of Veterans Day, Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that the American Legion has endorsed the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act (H.R. 6566), legislation he has introduced to remove onerous manifestation requirements from certain diseases, which the VA has linked to Agent Orange exposure.
August 16, 2018 In The News

A Vietnam veteran who says he was left sterilised by Agent Orange has ridden more 10,000 miles across the US on a motorcycle to rally support to change compensation rules.

Gerry Wright, 70, is one of thousands of former soldiers who sprayed the herbicide during the Vietnam War to kill dense vegetation that provided cover for Viet Cong troops.

Agent Orange has since been acknowledged as causing Parkinson's disease, leukemia, diabetes, prostate cancer and other devastating illnesses.

August 4, 2018 In The News

After a six-week cross-country motorcycle ride, Andover resident Gerry Wright has more than mileage to show for his effort.

Wright rode more than 10,000 miles throughout May and June to raise awareness of the diseases many veterans suffer from because of their exposure to Agent Orange during their service in the Vietnam War.