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Rep. Courtney Announces AMVETS Endorsement of his bill, the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act

October 15, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that the American Veterans (AMVETS) organization has endorsed his bill, the bipartisan Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act (H.R. 566). Rep. Courtney reintroduced the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act at the outset of the 116th Congress to remove burdensome manifestation requirements from certain diseases that the VA has linked to Agent Orange exposure. Rep. Courtney first introduced the bill in July 2018 after working with Gerry Wright, a Vietnam veteran from Andover, Connecticut who has raised awareness on Agent Orange exposure throughout the country, and has gathered thousands of signatures in support of making changes to these requirements. The list of bipartisan co-sponsors for H.R 566 has recently doubled in size, and today’s announcement of support from AMVETS represents the second National Veterans’ Service Organization to endorse Rep. Courtney’s bill in two weeks.

“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. “The Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act will help surviving Vietnam and Korean War veterans get the treatment and compensation they deserve. Support for the bill has grown since I reintroduced it in January, and while the list of co-sponsors has doubled, the growing chorus of endorsements from groups like AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, and others are key to keeping momentum moving forward. I’m grateful to AMVETS for their endorsement of the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act, and to Connecticut’s AMVETS State Commander, Al Duff, for making sure that my bill was considered for endorsement at their convention this year. I want to thank AMVETS for the support, and for all the work they do on behalf of our nation’s millions of veterans.”
In a letter to Rep. Courtney dated October 15, 2019, Joseph Chenelly, Executie Director of AMVETS, wrote:

“AMVETS is pleased to support the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act. […]

“The Department of Veterans Affairs has listed 14 Agent Orange illnesses, affecting 2.2 million veterans who served in Vietnam and Thailand and thousands more in Korea. Chloracne, acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy and porphyria cutanae tarda, all on the list of 14 Agent Orange illnesses, currently have a cutoff date of only one year following exposure to Agent Orange.

“It is unreasonable to require a veteran to provide documents of when their symptoms began so long after the fact. AMVETS supports H.R. 566 because the bill would remove these one-year requirements from the three illnesses linked to Agent Orange exposure.”

The full letter from AMVETS is available online.

For more information on the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act, including the history of the bill and a list of supporting organizations, visit Congressman Courtney’s website.