Incoming House Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., promised in a bipartisan Dec. 20 press conference that the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act will resurface early when the 116th Congress begins Jan. 3. The act is a top priority of the Republican he is replacing as chairman of the committee, Dr. Phil Roe of Tennessee. Takano said the measure, which affects some 90,000 Vietnam War veterans exposed to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange who served on surface ships during the war, will also be high on his agenda. The measure was blocked on Dec. 10 primarily by two senators who objected, one on the basis of cost and the other who questioned the science. The act passed the House by a 382-0 vote last June.
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