Skip to comments.SEN. AKAKA EXPLAINS (SORT OF) SUBMITTING ANTI-VETERAN LEGISLATION (Blue Water Navy Veterans)
Posted on 09/16/2007 10:42:19 AM PDT by Right Winged American
VA NEWS FLASH from Larry Scott at VA Watchdog dot Org -- 09-13-2007 #3
UPDATE: SEN. AKAKA EXPLAINS (SORT OF) SUBMITTING ANTI-VETERAN LEGISLATION --
Akaka offers grade-school civics lesson as excuse for submitting President's bill that would prevent "Blue Water Navy" VA claims.
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Senate Vets' Chair
On September 6, 2007, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, submitted "by request" legislation that would prevent "Blue Water Navy" veterans from receiving benefits for Agent Orange exposure. This is an attempt to overturn the Haas decision. The bill, S.2026, would also overturn the Nehmer decision. (see below for more on these decisions)
"By request" means that Sen. Akaka submitted this cruel, anti-veteran legislation "by request" of President Bush. Senators can do this as a "courtesy" but it's not required.
This was covered in my original postings about S. 2026. (here...
Now, Akaka finds it necessary to explain this all over again by giving us, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, a grade-school civics lesson.
We know it's President Bush's legislation. We know Akaka submitted it as a "courtesy." We know this is a "tradition." But, we also know that the "courtesy" does not have to be extended. This bill could have been passed to a Republican Senator on the Committee so they could do the President's dirty work.
So, we have to ask:
Did Senator Akaka even read S. 2026 and determine how harmful it will be to "Blue Water Navy" veterans?
Did his staff read it?
I think the answer is NO in both cases. For if they had, they would understand that this legislation is a death sentence for thousands of veterans.
The proper thing for Akaka to do would have been to politely decline the "courtesy" of submitting this legislation...then make a strong statement condemning it. He didn't do that.
Akaka says, in the press release below, that he believes in a free exchange of ideas.
Well, here's my free exchange of ideas.
To Senator Daniel Akaka: Sir, you have disgraced yourself by submitting legislation from President Bush that is not only harmful to veterans, but hateful by its very nature. I strongly suggest that you seriously think about the harm this legislation, if passed, would cause thousands of Vietnam veterans who willingly served their country. I also suggest you make a statement strongly condemning this bill. And, I hope that in the future you will extend a "courtesy" to America's veterans by thinking before you extend a "courtesy" to the President that dishonors veterans in such an obvious way.
You can find the Court's ruling on Haas here...
For a detailed explanation of the Nehmer case, go here...
For more on the Nehmer decision, use the VA Watchdog search engine...click here...
For more on the "Blue Water Navy" and the Haas decision, use the VA Watchdog search engine...click here...
For more on Sen. Daniel Akaka, use the VA Watchdog search engine...click here...
Akaka press release here...
Press release below:
DEMOCRATIC PRESS RELEASE
September 12, 2007
CHAIRMAN AKAKAS FLOOR STATEMENT EXPLAINING BY REQUEST LEGISLATION
Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, I wish to speak about the meaning of "By Request" legislation and more specifically about my continuation of a long-standing practice in the Veterans' Affairs Committee of the chairman introducing legislation at the request of the administration.
While I expect that those who deal regularly with the Veterans' Affairs Committee, such as the established Veterans Service Organizations, understand the meaning of a bill introduced "By Request," I have recently become aware that there are some veterans who are unfamiliar with this practice and who, therefore, have misinterpreted my recent introduction of certain "By Request" legislation as support for the passage of the bills into law. This is not the case.
Mr. President, as our colleagues know, periodically the administration sends forward to the Congress legislation for consideration. Those measures that fall within the jurisdiction of the Veterans' Affairs Committee are referred by the parliamentarian to our committee. In a tradition that began in the earliest days of the committee, the chairman, as a courtesy to the administration, introduces such bills on a "By Request" basis. This is a courtesy that has generally been extended to every administration and by every chairman, regardless of the party affiliation of the administration or chairman, and one that I am pleased to continue.
When I introduce legislation "By Request," I am taking no position on the legislation. In fact, I introduce such legislation without including any statement or explanatory materials. I do so for the express purpose of both accommodating the administration and ensuring that others are aware of the proposed legislation so that they might analyze it and, if they wish, comment upon it. As chairman, I am committed to the development of the best possible policy in the area of veterans issues and I firmly believe that this goal is most successfully achieved with the free exchange of ideas, not by stifling different points of view.
During this Congress, in accordance with this practice, I have introduced four "By Request" bills, S. 1757, S. 2025, S. 2026, and S. 2027. It is one of these measures, S. 2026, relating to certain Agent Orange issues, that has generated the most confusion among some veterans. I hope that my explanation of "By Request" legislation helps to clear up these misunderstandings.
Mr. President, I have taken no position on any of these four bills and simply introduced them as a professional courtesy to the administration. Indeed, at this point, I do not know whether these bills will receive consideration by the committee. For those who have views on some or all of these measures, I welcome your input. I ask that in providing your views you recognize that my introduction of "By Request" legislation should not be interpreted as a reflection of my views on the content of any such bill.
Larry Scott --
For more Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans/Agent Orange Info, go here:
Discussions/Forum about Blue Water Navy Vets, Here:
FreepMail me to join the Blue Water Navy ping list.
And so, the question I asked in my previous post is answered. S.B.2026 was submitted by the President for whom I voted in the last two elections. Clearly, President Bush has been, at the very least, extremely ill-adivised. And in the middle of a war!
It seems obvious to me, and it should be to any veteran, that the consequences of the passage of S.2026 would be catastrophic to ALL veterans of ANY war. Once the precedent is set of retroactively selecting, isolating, and then denying a group or class of veterans from benefits they earned by their service, then it follows that every time a budget reduction is considered, veterans will be the first ones on the block. I can foresee a time when Tankers might 'qualify' for compensation due to exposure to depleted uranium 'silver bullets', but the accompanying infantry would not. Or perhaps infantry close to burning chemical weapons bunkers would be compensated, but the Helo or A-10 pilots flying through those clouds of smoke would not. If I can think of some, I guarantee some politician or their staff can come up with more and better.
Regardless of it's origin, this bill is unconscionable attempt to 'end run' around the likely favorable outcome of the 'Haas vs. Nicholson' case before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. As a 'Blue Water Navy' veteran who has been denied compensation for my Agent Orange induced Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, I will go to my grave, once again abandoned and forsaken by the country I served with honor.
Do I sound bitter? Uh, well yes, I am.
If only Akaka had been defeated in the Democrat primary last year. His primary opponent (Ed Case), while no prize, would never have done something like this.
On the other hand, dare I point out that the Senator submitted this bill at the request of President Bush! I can understand why he went through a Democratic Senator, considering Craig's problems. And I'm guessing that Burr, his Republican replacement as Ranking Member, wouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole.
Face it, this is so politically stupid, one can see why we're called the Stupid Party....
Absolutely. And won't it be interesting when more of THOSE veterans discover that they have been legislatively excluded from the Agent Orange Act of 1991? And by a REPUBLICAN President?
Here is the full bill:
In Akaka’s speech where he said he submitted this at the request of the President, he listed three other bills that were decent. How do we know he is only saying that this was a Presidential request by lumping his own bill with the others?
Bush is pusing this? I never would have guessed. Damn!
I’ll be so glad when Bush leaves. Lately, he’s done one screw-up after another.
Bush may have requested this, or Akaka (D) may have lied and lumped this bill in with others that were requested to try to sneak in this bill and blame it on President Bush.
I don’t believe akaka
The other bills Akaka submitted at the same time ‘as a courtesy’ were S. 1757, S. 2025, and S. 2027. This is the only bill that reduces or limits benefits.
S1757 extends benefits for people who were injured during chemical or biological tests, more funding for gravestones for vets, and more training.
S2025 extends what vets can receive full pension.
S2027 adds more programs honoring veterans.
Something just doesn’t smell right here.. The other bills Akaka says he submitted for the President all increased benefits and honors to vets except this one. I need more information before I believe Akaka and blindly knee jerk blaming the Administration.
Uh, as stated in the Democratic Press Release above, because he so stated on the floor of the Senate? Were no Republican Senators paying attention? Wouldn't the White House Press Secretary immediately deny it?
I'm afraid that what was stated was exactly what happened.
Do you have anything to show the Administration actually gave these to Akaka to submit versus, say, Akaka being full of Bravo Sierra? That would really be important now.
Because he lumped it in with a bunch of other bills... see post #12.. something just doesn't smell right here.
I’m trying to understand this bill. Is it saying that those who were never in Vietnam and never exposed to agent orange can’t sue for being exposed to agent orange?
I say again my last:
Considering Sen. Akaka made that claim, in public, on the floor of the Senate in front of God, CSPAN, and all of our Distinguished Republican Solons; WHY have we not heard a RINGING DENIAL from ANYONE?
No, it’s saying that people who were offshore, flying above or in other places like Guam that were exposed cannot sue.
..unless, another thought was S1757 was meant to provide the benefits and S2026 was simply mean to separate where the benefit came from???????
Just too many questions now to blame the administration.. Right now, the blame for me goes to the name on the bill, Akaka.
Note: This bill was introduced in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, not the Floor of the Senate. This bill has NO COSPONSORS, and Senator has gone on record ON THE FLOOR of opposing his own bill. At the same time, to clarify the reason he DID submit it, he had to do so ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE due, hopefully to mine and my "Blue Water Navy" comrades LOUD protests!
Again: If not true, why has no-one said so?