Amata Speaks on House Floor in Support of Bipartisan Veterans Bill
Washington, D.C. – Monday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata spoke on the House floor in support of the bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, H.R. 299. The House passed the legislation later that evening.
Congresswoman Amata cosponsored and also voted for this bill on May 8, when it passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, along with a series of 16 bills regarding VA services and health care that passed the same day. One of these, the VA MISSION Act, which takes steps to reform the VA, was already signed into federal law by President Trump earlier this month.
Specifically, H.R. 299, would extend the presumption of service-connected diseases linked to exposure to herbicides like Agent Orange to veterans who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam, known as Blue Water Navy veterans. This is vitally important to these veterans, but as Congresswoman Amata notes in her statement, the bill is also an important broader statement of the Congress’s commitment to keeping the nation’s promises to veterans.
Congresswoman Amata speaking in the U.S. House of Representatives in support of a bipartisan Veterans’ bill, June 25, 2018.
Text of Congresswoman Amata’s remarks in the House of Representatives as follows:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I rise today in support of H.R. 299. American Samoa is home to a great many veterans, especially on a per capita basis, as our people enlist at high rates in the U.S. Armed Forces.
On their behalf, I’m pleased to support the bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, recognizing the realities faced by those veterans who served in the region’s waters.
On a personal note, my brother served in the U.S. Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin and other area waters during Vietnam. This legislation recognizes the nature of the service of these veterans who did their duty in wartime.
This bill honors their mission, and helps keep the commitments we owe our veterans.