(Washington, D.C.) – Testifying on a spate of bills under consideration by the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), echoed the term “justice” in his oral remarks concerning several of the bills.
VVA, Rowan said, “supports H.R. 5954 because it represents a simple measure of justice. Veterans whose health has been adversely affected by [toxic] exposures during their military service warrant health care and compensation for conditions shown to be positively associated with such exposures.”
However, Rowan noted, it would be “a miscarriage of justice” if legislation covered only those veterans who served from 1963 through 1973. Covering veterans who volunteered for testing of chemical and biological, as well as pharmacological and hallucinogenic agents back in the 1950s must be stipulated in any legislation to garner VVA’s full and enthusiastic support.
Commenting on H.R. 3008, the Rural Veterans Services Outreach and Training Act, Rowan applauded the intent of the legislation--to improve outreach and assistance to veterans living in rural areas by training county veteran service officers--but questioned why service officers working for veterans service organizations would not be eligible to receive training as well.
Voicing support for H.R. 5448, the Full Faith in Veterans Act, the ostensible purpose of which is “to improve the diagnosis and treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder,” Rowan noted that despite obvious efforts by some in the Department of Veterans Affairs to fixate on fraud by veterans out for a buck, reports and surveys could not find evidence of fraud or intent to commit fraud by veterans filing claims for PTSD. It’s better to risk those few cases of fraud than to potentially cause an injustice to the overwhelming number of veterans who file honest claims.