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Rep. Courtney Announces Disabled American Veterans’ Endorsement of Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act

October 9, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization has endorsed his bill, the 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 onerous 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 traveled across the country to raise awareness on Agent Orange exposure, and has gathered thousands of signatures in support of making changes to these requirements.

“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. “Ensuring fairness for all veterans exposed to Agent Orange isn’t just good policy, it’s the right thing to do for those who have been put in harm’s way in service to our country. This bill will help surviving Vietnam and Korean War veterans with treatment and compensation, and support from groups like the DAV and from local veterans like Gerry Wright, who has done so much to raise support for H.R. 566, is critical to getting it across the finish line. I thank the DAV for their endorsement this bill, and for all of the work they continue to do on behalf of our nation’s veterans.”

“Thank you to the DAV Department of Connecticut, and to my local DAV chapter 17, for submitting their resolution in support of Congressman Courtney’s H.R. 566 to the national DAV – and thanks to national for voting to approve it unanimously,” said Gerry Wright. “On efforts like this, it’s important to follow the chain of command. If the link gets broken, the effort doesn’t get pushed. We followed the chain of command here from our local chapters all the way up to the DAV brass. I’m grateful to DAV for voting to approve resolution 023 in support of the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act, and for helping us to get veterans the care they need.”

In a letter to Rep. Courtney dated October 9, 2019, Joy Ilem, National Legislative Director of the Disabled American Veterans, wrote:

“On behalf of DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and our more than one million members, all of whom were injured or made ill during wartime service, I write to offer our support for H.R. 566, the Agent Orange Fairness Act, which will impact Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

“[…] The limitations placed on these diseases create unreasonable requirements for veterans to provide evidence of manifestations of symptoms. Veterans suffering from chronic illnesses and diseases should be concerned with their treatment and health, not trying to locate evidence of manifestation symptoms from nearly 50 years ago. H.R. 566 would resolve the inequity created for these diseases.

The full letter from DAV is available online.