(WASHINGTON, D.C.)--Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) and 76 House colleagues in sending a letter to the President calling on him to take “take corrective action and bring an end to the suffering of thousands of severely ill veterans exposed to Agent Orange.”
In their letter, Members call on the president to accept scientific evidence and add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, parkinsonism, and hypertension to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs list of presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange exposure. This change would provide lifesaving benefits to more than 190,000 veterans currently in need of VA resources and healthcare.
“For years, scientific research has suggested these diseases are related to herbicide exposure. But this administration has ignored the evidence and the recommendation of former VA Secretary Shulkin that these diseases be added to the presumptive list, without explanation. “We are concerned that the administration is changing established precedent and forcing veterans with these health conditions to meet a different, more stringent standard. We must do better for these veterans,” the Members wrote. “We also believe these veterans deserve to know why the Administration has made no decision on this matter or provided a timeline for action. ”
The Members continued, “Mr. President, with your help, we can live up to the promises made to thousands of veterans currently living with and dying from the diseases they developed as a result of their service to our country. Previous administrations recognized the invaluable benefit in caring for these men and women, no matter the cost. We encourage you to end the wait and begin providing lifesaving support today.”
Craig joined Chairman Takano and 76 additional U.S. Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Elaine G. Luria (D-VA), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Mike Levin (D-CA), Kathleen M. Rice (D-NY), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), Gilbert Ray Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA), Max Rose (D-NY), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Colin Z. Allred (D-TX), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (R-MP), Josh Harder (D-CA), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Gerald E. Connoly (D-VA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), Denny Heck (D-WA), Sean Casten (D-IL), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Peter Welch (D-VT), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Susan Wild (D-PA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Ted W. Lieu (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), TJ Cox (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), John A. Yarmuth (D-KY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Cynthia Axne (D-IA), David J. Trone (D-MD), Scott H. Peters (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Susan A. Davis (D-CA), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Jared F. Golden (D-ME), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Bradley Scott Schneider (D-IL), Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (D-NC), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Angie Craig (D-MN), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY), Dina Titus (D-NV), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Janice D. Schakowksy (D-IL), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Ron Kind (D-WI), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA).
Full text of the letter can be found here.