U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) took to the Senate floor this week to draw attention to the plight of Vietnam-era veterans struggling to get benefits for illnesses related to toxic herbicide Agent Orange.
In his speech, Warner called on the Trump administration to reverse its decision to block an expansion of approved Agent Orange–related conditions that automatically qualify a veteran for benefits.
According to documents obtained by the Military Times, in early 2018 White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney blocked a request by then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin to add three medical conditions (bladder cancer, Parkinson’s-like symptoms and hypothyroidism) to the list of approved Agent Orange–related conditions.
The documents reveal that an estimated 83,000 veterans would have been made eligible for coverage if the decision had gone through.
“There is more than enough evidence to expand the list of Agent Orange–related conditions. We should be thanking these veterans for their service, not nickel and diming them,” Sen. Warner said. “I urge my colleagues to listen to the veterans in their states. And I urge the White House to let the V-A provide these veterans with the benefits they’ve earned.”