Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Update on the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act as of July 12, 2015

Co-Sponsoring the Bill(s)
House: 237                     
Senate: 17
This is an update from my trip to Washington DC with Military-Veterans Advocacy Inc.

I flew into Washington DC Monday July 6 and meet John Wells from the Military-Veterans Advocacy. At dinner John introduced me to Michael Little from Association of the Untied States Navy (AUSN).  These two characters are something else. I was very impressed by the commitment they both have for the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. I have to say we owe a great deal to both of these guys along with other groups such as the FRA.

I won’t go into a great amount of detail about the trip I will just give you some highlights, things I learned and some impressions.

We met with the Office Staff of Senator Ayotte, Senator Kaine , Senator Warner, Senator Daine,  Senator Hatch, Senator Boozman, Senator Manchin, Senator Vitter, Senator Reid, Senator Capito,  Representative Titus, 2 staff members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. We also met with Senator Heller and Representative Abraham. During dinner one night we ran into Senator Tester and one he was introduced to me he told me directly that they would make sure that they would make sure that the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans would get the benefit deserve.

First the one thing was made very clear, we are making a difference. John Wells asked the question if they have received an increase in the amount of contact from people lately about this issue and they all said yes. John explained that I ran a group called Blue water Navy Awareness and I’m always asking member of that group and others to contact members of Congress. They let us know that the have had an increase in the amount of contacts about the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act.

Second I had two Senators and one Representative tell me directly that they will get these bills passed and get us the benefits we deserve. Now I know that doesn’t mean much, but they did seem to believe that we will get these bills passed.

Third, it was made clear that these staffers and Members of Congress are not completely up to date on the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act and they don’t understand much about ship board live and how potable water is made.

Forth, When you contact a member by Congress either by e-mail, phone, Facebook or others means they keep a count of it and they let the Congress Person knows your views…

Fifth, many of the Members of Congress block people who are not in their district from contacting them by their Contact Page. I go to their Facebook Page and find a way to contact them. You can also call them. There are many different way to make your feeling known to them.

Sixth, John Wells spent time on Monday explain the bill to Sloan Gibson Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans issue. He told me that Secretary Gibson was very receptive to the information and asked some question to get clarification.

Seventh,  One of the main problems that is keeping the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act from going onto the Senate floor for a vote is the VA. The VA is supposed to provide comments on this bill and others bills and hasn’t done so yet. There was a Markup hearing scheduled for July 14th, but the committee has delayed that the Markup. I have not heard when it will be rescheduled or if the BWNVVA will be included. So if you can, you might want to contact Secretary Robert McDonald’s on his cell phone Number ((513)509-8454) leave a message asking him to provide the needed comments to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

On my Facebook page (Blue Water Navy Awareness) we have a Pick of the Week where we pick a Senator and a Representative and contact them. We now know this works and won’t give up. If you are interested in helping with this, please let me know and I will provide the information. Also you can help by contact the Members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that has not supported S-681. If you need a list let me know.

When you do contact a Member of Congress, make sure that you personalize it to the Congress Member you are contacting. Tell them your story, where you served, what illness you have and when you served. This makes an impact on them.

This won’t be popular but I will say it anyway. Military-Veterans Advocacy is doing so much for the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans, if you can; try to help them out by making a donation at http://www. militaryveteransadvocacy. org/content/please-contribute. (Remove two spaces)

Also you might want to check into AUSN, they are also on the front lines of this issue and they do a lot not only for Veterans but for Active Duty personal also.

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