WASHINGTON – Missouri U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt introduced bipartisan legislation to bring parity to veteran benefits to those who served in Thailand during the Vietnam War and were exposed to Agent Orange. Currently, the children of veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam qualify for benefits, while those of veterans exposed during their service in Thailand do not.
“This is an issue of fairness—where brave Americans who served their country with distinction and put their lives and the lives of their future children at risk have been told they aren’t owed the same benefits as their counterparts due to a geographical technicality,” said McCaskill, the daughter of a World War II veteran. “It’s time we fix this so these veterans and their children—who are still grappling with the effects of Agent Orange—are given the benefits they’re owed.”
“American service members who were exposed to Agent Orange suffer the same health consequences regardless of where they served and they deserve the same benefits,” said Blunt. “This bill will help ensure Vietnam-era veterans who served in Thailand, and their children, are able to get the care they need. These families have had to wait too long for the same benefits that other Vietnam veterans have received, and I urge my colleagues to move quickly to get this legislation to the president’s desk.”
McCaskill and Blunt have long fought together on behalf of Missouri veterans. Last year, after a two-year battle on behalf of the then 90-year-old Missouri veteran and his fellow service members waged by McCaskill and Blunt, President Trump signed the Arla Harrell Act into law—delivering decades-overdue relief to veterans intentionally exposed to mustard gas during World War II.