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Congressman Tom MacArthur

Representing the 3rd District of New Jersey

MacArthur’s Veterans Legislation Introduced in Senate

November 1, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman MacArthur applauded the introduction of The Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act in the Senate by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS).

This legislation, which was originally introduced in the House by Congressman MacArthur, expands the time frame of eligibility for disability compensation for veterans who served at or near the Korean DMZ and are suffering from herbicide-related conditions.  Currently, that time frame is between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971. This legislation will change the eligibility date to September 1, 1967 for these veterans, allowing them to receive the health care they have earned.

The Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act has gained bipartisan support from many Senators who serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, including Senators John Tester (D-MT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The legislation has been supported by both the VFW and the American Legion. The VFW estimates that hundreds of veterans would be helped by this change.

“I’m grateful that Senator Moran is introducing The Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act in the Senate,” said Congressman MacArthur. “As the son of a Korean War veteran and Representative of more than 50,000 veterans, I originally introduced this bill in the House because I believe we have a moral obligation to provide quality care for our veterans. This bill will ensure hundreds of veterans who served at the Korean DMZ that are suffering from Agent Orange and other herbicide-related conditions finally receive the care they deserve.”

“Many veterans who served in the Korean DMZ during the Vietnam War are suffering from significant health conditions associated with exposure to toxic herbicides, and some of these veterans are still excluded from qualifying for the healthcare benefits they need,” said Senator Moran. “The Fairness for Korean DMZ Veterans Act would help more Korean DMZ veterans have access to critical healthcare benefits they have been previously denied. I am grateful to again work with Sen. Tester on this vital issue and encourage my colleagues to support this legislation so we can finally resolve this issue and Korean DMZ veterans can begin receiving the benefits they deserve.”

“When service members deploy to harm’s way and are exposed to toxic chemicals, our country has a responsibility to meet their health care needs,” said Senator Tester. “This bipartisan bill recognizes the sacrifice of Korean DMZ veterans and ensures they have access to the services they have earned.”

“The VFW is proud to stand with Congressman MacArthur in support of veterans who served on the Korean DMZ prior to April of 1968 and now suffer from adverse health conditioned associated with exposure to Agent Orange,” said Ken Wiseman, Associate Director of National Legislative Service for the VFW.  “Those veterans, from several Army units, supported our Korean allies and their service has caused health problems which must not be ignored. This legislation would properly recognize the earlier time period that Agent Orange was used and, in turn, clear the hurdles that veterans have faced when securing their earned benefits from VA.”

“The VFW has received an outpouring of evidence from our members proving that an earlier date is merited. We have seen where individual veterans have successfully argued for earned benefits with the support of detailed witness statements but only after a lengthy appeals process. Our national convention has passed resolutions in support of this change for several years. Changing the start date through legislation will fix this problem once and for all and Congressman MacArthur’s leadership on this issue helps Korean DMZ veterans received the recognition and benefits they deserve.”