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Press Release

July 19 , 2007


No. 07-022

Mokie Porter


VVA Applauds Court Decision to Pay Retroactive
Benefits To Veterans and Their Families for Illnesses
Caused by Exposure to Agent Orange

(SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS)--“Vietnam veterans have won a smashing victory over the VA’s foot-dragging refusal to honor the Consent Decree it signed sixteen years ago about readjudicating claims and paying retroactive disability benefits when the VA determines that a condition is presumptively service-connected because of exposure to Agent Orange,” said Vietnam Veterans of America President John Rowan.“VVA applauds today’s decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Nehmer, et al. v. United States Department of Veterans Affairs,” Rowan said. That decision affirmed a lower court decision that the VA is obligated by law to pay disability benefits to the veterans suffering from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia as a result of their exposure to Agent Orange. VVA agrees, Rowan said, with the court that the “performance of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has contributed substantially to our sense of national shame.“VVA shares the hope that the court expressed so well in the last paragraph of the decision that this litigation will now end, that our government will now respect the legal obligations it undertook in the Consent Decree some 16 years ago, that obstructionist bureaucratic opposition will now cease, and that our veterans finally will receive the benefits to which they are morally and legally entitled.”

Rowan added: “It is our hope that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs will move immediately to implement the decree fully. If not, then all VA officials involved should be held liable for contempt in the ‘Show Cause’ hearing scheduled to be heard in Federal District Court on Monday, July 23.”


Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."

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