Calling All Marines Update: 03/18/2018
To all of those who assisted us in getting our recent plea to President Trump, please accept my most sincere appreciation .
As of late last week, the matter was being handled by Vice President Pence, who vowed personal delivery to our POTUS.
Reliable sources also indicate that the concerns are scheduled to be heard before Congress in May. Whereas, this, in itself is fortuitous, it does present a dilemma of its own. There are both positive, and negative aspects of the issue (s) going before Congress. The fact that the Veterans' Administration has recognized that The Combined Ratings Table was not functioning according to the original intent is a huge step.
Compensation ratings for Veterans returning with Service Connected Disabilities was not being calculated properly, and had not been for 100 years. What causes concern, is that it will be before Congress, rather than being abolished by Executive Order. Maybe suspension.
Example of suspension: The Jones Act for Puerto Rico was suspended by President Trump, effective immediately to his signature. So suspension may be an option for our President.
Please allow me to illustrate using a contiguous and related issue:
Even though there should be a majority in favor of the changes/repeal, more than likely, the matter will likely fall to a sub-committee, where it could sit for years.
Let's look at the example of HR299. This bill has been under consideration, and in various sub- committees for close to 40 years, and we still have no firm resolution. COB considers action on HR299 to be too costly.
On April 5 2017, an amendment will be added to include into HR299, The Bill of 1985, which covers presumptive exposure to Agent Orange, and will include The Territorial Seas of Vietnam. It should read High Seas & Deep Ocean Floor. There are several points in said amendment begging conjecture.
- Although to be added in April, it is still held as total in sub-committee.
- The Territorial Seas of Vietnam is an area considered to be only 12 nautical miles (should read high Seas. Otherwise it negates the inclusion of aircraft carriers and personnel handling returning missions covered in Agent Orange after low air to ground support. Neither does it include the pilots involved in those missions
- A report by Jeff Miller claimed there was no scientific evidence of exposure. What Mr. Miller failed to expound, was that the committee remains neutral on the basis of the understanding that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Thus, there is no scientific evidence whether our Blue Water Veterans were indeed exposed to this quite harmful defoliant chemical or not. In such cases of a "50/50" chance, the decision moves in favor of the Veteran.
The COB, while looking at cost projection, hopefully will move to approve HR299, with the amendment.
A report produced in 2000, indicates that only a small percentage of the 2.7 million who served in Vietnam affected were still living. These remainders are becoming deceased at the rate of approximately 400 per day. It was projected, at that time, that by 2015 the vast majority of these servicemen would be dead.
Thank you for your patience during the above dissertation regarding HR299. It was necessary to assert that to send the task of evaluating the Table used for Combined Service Connected Disabilities before Congress, and then to a sub-committee will cost both time and lives . Congress will be made aware of the errors.
We must join together as Marines, and do what Marines do; march forward anticipating the obstacles, and consider them to be mere stepping stones in the progress of this cause. More than likely, we will be advised that they are "making some changes ". This exercise could last for generations. Perhaps a replacement is in order; or the CRT can be suspended until a sub-committee makes a decision. March on reaching out to anyone you may know who can get this considered to be abolished by Executive Order; not covered up in sub-committees.
My colleagues and myself urge you very strongly, to bring the matter to the attention of anyone who may be of influence to having The CRT abolished by Executive Order; not concealed in bureaucracy.
Salute - Semper Fi