During Friday’s Democratic Weekly Address, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) stated that the Trump administration has “turned their backs” on veterans by “blocking benefits for those who suffered from illnesses related to the exposure to Agent Orange.”
“Hi, this is Senator Jon Tester from Montana.
And I want to talk about something really important today, that being our veterans.
Our nation’s veterans have made many sacrifices for the freedoms that we enjoy.
And in return for their service, we have an obligation to ensure that these men and women receive the quality benefits that they have earned.
But the Trump Administration— while claiming to support our veterans, has turned their backs on them, blocking benefits for those who suffered from illnesses related to the exposure to Agent Orange.
Agent Orange is a toxic defoliant that was used during the Vietnam War. And it was used in such great volumes, that if you served in Vietnam, you were exposed to it.
As a result of these exposures, Vietnam-era Veterans are now experiencing diseases and debilitating health conditions.
But the Trump Administration doesn’t see it that way. Instead of doing right by our veterans, they are actively denying these veterans—victims of their service—eligibility for the benefits and care that they desperately need.
The White House is refusing to expand the list of presumptive health conditions that have been scientifically shown to be connected with the use of Agent Orange to include four conditions— Parkinsonism, Bladder Cancer, Hypertension, and Hypothyroidism. The Trump Administration doesn’t seem to think that exposure to these toxic chemicals in Vietnam is a cost of war.
Well, guess what? They’re wrong. It is a cost of war. And it wasn’t until a veteran filed a Freedom of Information Act request that we finally figured out what the hold-up was: the hold-up was the Trump administration. They didn’t want to pay for it.