Aug 31, 2010

Sen. James Webb and Congress Have Sixty Days to Stiff Veterans on Agent Orange Presumtives

In a victory for VA Secretary Shinseki, President Obama and veterans’ advocates, and Agent Orange victims, the new Agent Orange Illnesses’ Final Rules were published today in the Federal Registry.

Sen. James Webb (D-VA) will hold a September 2010 Veterans Affairs Hearing [on Disability Compensation: Presumptive Agent Orange Disability Decision-Making], presumably to apologize to a skeptical veterans community about Webb’s attempt to delay the implementation of the new rules and the expanded list of illnesses presumed to be caused by Agent Orange and other herbicides.

Other veteran advocates fear Webb and congressional allies may attempt to halt the implementation of the expanded rules, saying in effect: America can afford war, but not paying for its victims.

From the text of the published Agent Orange Rules, entitled "Diseases Associated With Exposure to Certain Herbicide Agents (Hairy Cell Leukemia and Other Chronic B-Cell Leukemias, Parkinson's Disease and Ischemic Heart Disease):
This final rule is a major rule and the implementation of this rule is subject to the provisions of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA provides for a 60-day waiting period before an agency may implement a major rule to allow Congress the opportunity to review the regulation. The impact of the CRA will require at least a 60-day delay between the issuance of the final regulation and when VA can begin paying benefits.

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