I have been looking at the congressional support for S-2738 and HR 5484 on cap.wiz. Might I say the results are pretty dismal. I met with the Agent Orange Riders about a month ago. At that time, I encouraged them to meet with their congress person. None of them had experience in grass roots lobbying but they understood the only way to get this vital legislation going was to develop the courage to talk to their person. As a result of this meeting Representative Benishek not only agreed to the need for the legislation but authored a replacement for the legislation and introduced it in the House of Representatives along with Representative Honda. This is the companion bill to S2738.
Agent Orange Riders are a group of veterans and their families that ride motorcycles and cars in the summer (mostly cars). In the winter they ride snowmobiles and pickup trucks. Their whole purpose in organizing has been and will be to support efforts to improve the lives of our offspring effected by toxic exposure during our military service. The bylaws of the organization requires each chapter to sponsor an Agent Orange Town Hall meeting. The Riders chapters have all done this in Michigan in combination with VVA chapters. For this we are grateful.
We all know with this Congress it is very difficult to get benefits. This is NOT a benefit. It is investigating and correcting the exposure of toxins on our military. It is the cost of war and should be treated as such. Congress did talk about Pay Go or any of their buzz words when they authorized funding for war on September 19, 2014. This was done in their haste to get home for campaign. But they also have to fund correcting the effects of military service.
The only way we will get this legislation passed is for our veterans and families to speak with their congress persons and candidates to get them to support these bills. WE have the power. Congress is home in the district. We all must get with these decision makers and get their support while they are looking for your VOTE. S-2738 currently has 4 Senators support the legislation. We need to mobilize and increase that number to 54 this month.
HR 5484 has been introduced for less than a week. It has about 6 supporters. I am confident WE can increase that number to 300 this month. All we have to do is consider those decision makers real Americans grateful for the efforts of those who wore the uniform and those who continue to wear the uniform and their families. Just as we protected this country we must now act to protect our children grandchildren and the children of those military fighters who came before us and after us. We can do it.