Blue Water Veterans

Blue Water Veterans Get Big Win With Congress

The folks from Military-Veterans Advocacy scored a big win this week for Blue Water veterans that reinstates Agent Orange benefits previously revoked by Secretary of Veterans Affairs in 1991.

The House of Representatives unanimously voted 382-0 to provide Agent Orange benefits to an estimated 90,000 sailors previously ineligible for certain presumptions of exposure to Agency Orange related herbicide toxins.

Those sailors suffered from conditions like respiratory cancers, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and other residuals from exposure to a toxin called dioxin. The veteran impacted served on aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and other ships off the coast of Vietnam.

Toxins from the spraying of Agent Orange made their way into open waterways referred to as “blue water.” Previously, these veterans were ineligible for presumptive service connection, but the new law may allow them a chance at receiving desperately needed monetary and health-related benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Congressional Budget Office projects the cost of the legislation at $1.1 billion over the next 10 years. The funding comes from an increase in the cost of using the VA Home Loan for non-disabled veterans using that benefit.

Below in italics is the press release about the legislation from Attorney John Wells, one of the key players in pushing for benefits for this population of veterans.

Blue Water Veterans Press Release

The United States House of Representatives tonight passed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act 382-0, partially restoring the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to those who served on ships in the bays, harbors and territorial seas of South Vietnam. 

Retired Navy Commander John B. Wells, Executive Director of the Louisiana-based Military-Veterans Advocacy was the author of the original bill. First introduced in 2011, the bill was mired in Committee for several Congresses.

The presumption of exposure was afforded by the Agent Orange Act of 1991, but was stripped from those who had served offshore by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Hydrological and other studies showed that Agent Orange dioxin made its way into the rivers and harbors, and was enriched by the ships’ evaporation distillation system, causing significant exposure to those serving aboard ships.

Wells, who led the fight for passage, praised House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe of Tennessee for promoting the bill.

“Chairman Roe became convinced of the necessity for this bill,” said Wells. “I met with him informally on several occasions and he made this bill a priority.”

The bill was reported favorably by a unanimous vote of the House Veterans Affairs Committee on May 8, 2018.

“There is no doubt that without the efforts of Chairman Roe, this bill would have not passed the House,” Wells continued. “Despite significant bipartisan support, the cost of the bill kept it bottled up in Committee.”

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has projected the cost of the bill at [$1.1 billion] over 10 years. It is being funded by small increases in the VA home loan guarantee fees paid by non-disabled veterans. The bill had 330 co-sponsors in the House.

Wells also praised the efforts of Mrs. Susie Belanger of Gansevoort, New York, who is credited with starting the grassroots movement to bolster support. 

“Susie is the heart and soul of this effort,” Wells indicated. “Her husband was initially denied benefits. Although that decision was later reversed when he proved that he actually touched land in Vietnam, she was horrified that so many sailors were being denied.” Belanger established an e-mail network that later expanded to social media. “She drafted me!” Wells admitted. “Without her there would have been no Military-Veterans Advocacy and no Blue Water Navy bill. She is a great lady who has proven that one person can change things for the better.”

The bill also includes benefits for veterans who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone and children of Thailand veterans suffering from spina bifida.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Wells anticipates little opposition. The White House has signaled an intent to sign the bill once passed.

Both Wells and Belanger are in Washington and available for interviews.


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  1. Paul, your Father-in-law is wrong. It can’t be done that way now. I just tried to post the U S Attorney’s motion to dismiss my case. It was too long and dropped.

    Below is an exert:
    Case 2:17-cv-00206-NDF Document 18 Filed 05/15/18 Page 1 of 8

    The United States, by counsel, respectfully submits this brief in support of its Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint.
    Plaintiff and his wife originally filed a complaint in this Court on December 15, 2017. ECF 1. Upon motion of the United States, this Court dismissed that complaint for several reasons. First, Mrs. Bray failed to exhaust her administrative remedies. ECF 14 at 2-4. Second, to the extent Mr. Bray’s claim was related to an injury he allegedly received in 1969 while on active military duty, it was barred by the Feres doctrine. Id. at 4-5. Third, Mr. Bray’s allegations of medical malpractice failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted because the complaint failed to identify the applicable standard of care or allege how it was violated. ECF 14 at 5-6. Finally, Mr. Bray’s claim was time-barred because his administrative claim was filed long after the statute of limitations had expired, he did not allege that he was declared legally incompetent at any time, and he was not otherwise entitled to equitable tolling of the limitations statute. Id. at 7-10. After discussing Plaintiffs’ pro se status, the Court observed that it “question[ed] whether Plaintiffs can state a claim if provided an opportunity to amend.” Nevertheless, it ordered that Plaintiffs would be given an opportunity to file an amended complaint “to potentially assert allegations that would support a timely claim of malpractice.” Id. at 11. Mr. Bray filed his Amended Complaint on May 1, 2018. In that complaint, Mrs. Bray is no longer identified as a party. With regard to Mr. Bray’s claims, the Amended Complaint suffers from the same defects as the original complaint and it should be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
    A. The Amended Complaint Fails to Identify a Proper Party Defendant
    Like the first complaint, the Amended Complaint names only one defendant, “The United States Government.” As the United States explained in its first brief, the only proper defendant in an FTCA action is the United States. Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1099 (10th Cir. 2009). “[T]he ‘United States Government’ is not a proper party defendant in a civil action.” Henderson v. Reid, 2009 WL 10689469 at *1 (N.D. Ga.). In their response to the United States’ motion to dismiss the original complaint, Plaintiffs stated that they “raise no objection to changing the Title of the Defendant to the United States and apologize for misreading the instruction in the Defendant’s letter of Administrative Process Denial.” ECF 13 at 1. But in his Amended Complaint, relying upon some unintelligible sovereignty rationale, Mr. Bray again insists upon naming only the ‘The United States Government” as the defendant, noting that he “withdraws his concession to renaming the Defendant.” ECF 15 at 3.
    Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint should be dismissed because it fails to name a defendant that can be sued under the FTCA and therefore fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
    B. Plaintiff is Precluded From Re-litigating this Court’s Feres Doctrine Ruling
    In its order of April 16, 2018, relying upon the Feres doctrine, this Court dismissed with prejudice Plaintiff’s claim related to alleged incidents “that occurred when he was on active duty.” ECF 14 at 11. Although the Court’s dismissal order provides that Plaintiff may file an amended complaint, the order does not appear to extend that opportunity to the portion of Plaintiff’s complaint which was dismissed with prejudice based upon the Feres doctrine. In any event, Plaintiff fails to present any cogent argument or authority to support his attempt to re-litigate this issue, and the Court’s prior ruling should stand.
    C. Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint Still Fails to State a Medical Malpractice Claim Upon Which Relief Can be Granted
    This Court dismissed Plaintiff’s first complaint because it failed to identify the applicable medical standard of care and failed to explain how the VA’s actions failed to meet the applicable standard. Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint contains the same deficiencies, and like the original complaint, it also fails to allege any plausible causal connection between the VA’s conduct and his alleged harm.
    Plaintiff alleges that the applicable standard of care is “To cause no harm.” ECF 15 at 30 (emphasis in original). Clearly, this assertion does not set forth a specific standard of care. Plaintiff also cites federal regulations relating to VA benefits adjudications and disability ratings, but those regulations do not set forth a medical standard of care, nor do they have any relevance to the applicable standard, which is derived from state law. See 28 U.S.C. 1346(b)(1) (Under the

    FTCA, the United States may be liable “under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.”).
    Plaintiff contends that he should not have been prescribed Tegretol in 1990. ECF 15 at 29-30. He alleges that the 1990 version of the Physician’s Desk Reference included a statement that counseled “caution” in the use of Tegretol “in patients with a mixed seizure disorder that includes atypical absence seizures since in those patients Tegretol has been associated with increased frequency of generalized convulsions.” ECF 15 at 30. Assuming the quotation is accurate, this language does not set forth a medical standard of care, nor does it even suggest that Tegretol cannot be given to the defined category of patients. Rather, it suggests that it be used with “caution.” In any event, Mr. Bray alleges that after 5 months, he “self-weaned off and discontinued the use of Tegretol.” He goes on to state that “he is lucky that he did. Otherwise he would probably have developed and continued to have grand mall [sic] seizures.” Id. Thus, it is not clear that Plaintiff is even asserting that he sustained the harm which he alleges Tegretol might have caused in some patients.
    Plaintiff then “questions whether he was an unknowing subject of a medical study on the use of Tegretol and a lobbying effort for the study with a predetermined outcome . . . .” Id. at 31. These conclusory, conspiracy-theory allegations are unsupported by any facts and do not state a plausible claim. Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint should be dismissed because it fails to state a medical malpractice claim upon which relief can be granted. D. Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint is Time-Barred
    In ruling on the United States’ motion to dismiss the first complaint, this Court determined that Plaintiff’s claims were time-barred. The allegations in the Amended Complaint, like those contained in the first complaint, show that Mr. Bray’s FTCA claim was not timely filed and that he is not entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations.
    As this Court observed in its order dismissing the first complaint,
    “[D]etermination of when a claim . . . accrues is a matter of federal, not state, law.” Kynaston v. United States, 717 F.2d 506, 508 (10th Cir. 1983). “Under the FTCA a cause of action accrues at the time the plaintiff is injured, or, in a medical malpractice action, when the plaintiff has discovered both his injury and its cause.” Id. “Accrual need not await awareness by the plaintiff that his injury was negligently inflicted.” Bradley, 951 F.2d at 270 (citations and quotation marks omitted). “The injury must arise from the negligence or wrongful act or omission of a government employee, not solely from a condition that existed before the medical treatment at issue.” Harvey v. United States, 685 F.3d 939, 947 (10th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted).
    ECF 14 at 7. The allegations in the Amended Complaint show that Plaintiff was aware of his symptoms and their purported cause at least as early as 1990, which is when his VA provider allegedly treated him with Tegretol, his condition worsened, his physician “ignored his complaints that Tegretol was making his condition worse,” and “Plaintiff, under the duress and harm being experienced with the medication self-weaned off and discontinued taking Tegretol.” ECF 15 at 18. He further alleges that he “couldn’t understand the insistence on continuation of Tegretol after 5 months of getting worse.” Id. at 29. These allegations establish that Mr. Bray’s claim accrued approximately 26 years before he filed his administrative claim in April 2016.1
    1 The limitations period for filing an FTCA claim with the appropriate agency is two years after accrual. 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b).
    Indeed, Plaintiff admits in his Amended Complaint that he “suspected he was being miss [sic] treated by the VA” but he “had no other options due to lack of funds to seek other treatment and could not have known for sure because he is not an MD . . . . ” Id. at 21. These statements show that Plaintiff had an awareness of his alleged injury and cause. It does not matter whether he had the medical expertise to determine whether he was being “miss [sic] treated.” As the Court noted in its first
    dismissal order, “[a]ccrual need not await awareness by the plaintiff that his injury was negligently inflicted.” (quoting Bradley v. United States ex rel Veterans Admin., 951 F.2d 268, 270 (10th Cir. 1991). Plaintiff’s claim was untimely filed, and his Amended Complaint should be dismissed.
    E. Plaintiff is Not Entitled to Equitable Tolling
    In its order dismissing Plaintiff’s initial complaint, this Court explained that
    Generally, a litigant seeking equitable tolling bears the burden of establishing two elements: (1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way. Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408,418, 125 S.Ct. 1807, 161 L.Ed.2d 669 (2005). Bray appears to have been diligently pursuing his rights against the Navy and the VA over the years. However, he failed to take any action to file a claim under the FTCA. Additionally, there was no extraordinary circumstance that stood in his way. Although Bray claims he had a legal disability, there are no factual allegations that he was declared legally incompetent at any time. In fact. Bray’s allegations show that he was actively involved in proceedings and appeals through the 1990s and was advocating for better treatment of Veterans with organic brain injuries. (Doc. 2, 4-5, 8). These allegations contradict Mr. Bray’s claims that he was too disabled to file a FTCA claim until 2016.
    ECF 14 at 10. This analysis applies to the Amended Complaint as well. In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff states that he “did pursue an FTCA claim, though not specifically identified as such in Bray v. Derwinski, DCCDC, pursued under various titles and case numbers from 1988 to 1994.” Amended Complaint, ECF 15 at 8-9. In support of this statement, he refers to another filing he submitted in this case which shows that he litigated five federal court cases between 1988 and 1994. See ECF 16. These allegations fail to demonstrate diligence in pursuing an FTCA remedy, which did not happen until 22 years later. They do, however, show that Mr. Bray was capable of filing claims on his own behalf, thus further undercutting his assertions of legal disability.
    As noted in the United States’ earlier brief, Mr. Bray’s alleged mental impairment falls far short of the type of mental disability which has been held to potentially excuse compliance with the FTCA statute of limitations. See Zeidler v. U.S., 601 F.2d 527, 530 (10th Cir. 1979) (Plaintiff who had undergone multiple lobotomies would be entitled to tolling, but not plaintiffs suffering from the “usual variety of mental disease and legal insanity”); Lopez v. United States, 998 F.Supp. 1239, 1244 (D.N.M.1998) (“The Zeidler case, which involves brain destruction and severe mental incapacitation does not apply to the facts of the present case”).
    Plaintiff is not entitled to tolling of the statute of limitations.
    For the foregoing reasons, the Defendant respectfully requests that the Court dismiss”

  2. The Old Sarge’s (1954-1975) thoughts:(Vietnam and TET68-9, Thailand 70-73 and will be 81 next birthday. and may I suggest that we go after individuals, not the VA as an organization. My father in law is a retired judge, gradated first in his class and suggested that go for individual malfeasance actions since Individuals are not protected by the Tort Law or VA responsibility. I am willing to bet that a large number of VA supervisors and rank and file would immediately stand up and take notice. I also wonder what would happen is we organized as a union. We would outnumber AFGE and 1n any election preserive. BTW, forgive ssuch spelling errors i have missed

    1. This is a VA Website where you can locate current regulations: “” Go to your local law library to research the cases in the post of the U S Attorney’s motion to dismiss my case.
      I gave the Judge some Constitutional Consideration and used recent landmark decisions with regard to “Constitutional rights.” I cited Citizens United and Bivens doctrines referencing Section 4 of the 14th Amendment and the 5th Amendment as well as other Constitutional citations.

      This site will not let me post my brief which is much longer than what I posted. I’ll email a copy to Ben and perhaps he might like to post it as a separate article as well as the rest of my Pro Se filings. I’ve opened an avenue for Appeal to the CAFC and if necessary to POTUS. My personal name and address will be redacted in what I send Ben to post. There are individuals who like to call me a “snowflake” that I don’t wish to provide my full name, address and phone number to on this board.

  3. TRUMP; either someone in Admin is fooling you, or you already know, and using it as Political fodder. IMO, to even start to think you’re on the road of reforming, fixing, or reorganizing VA, the VA must be put into a check and balance mode for accountability. And to achieve such an Accountability Mode, the VA must be removed from the umbrella protection of Tort Law applicability. Much can come out of this is Tort Law is has no compliance in VA Medical Malpractice Matters. Don’t be fooled deeper, but you’re still getting royally buck fucked with lube laced with ground unpolished pieces of splintered glass. “Ouch, well fuck me again.”

    OK – Next fuck job by VA proceeding to be exposed at anytime. We’re waiting for them to roll right on in.

  4. POTUS Trump needs to encourage Congress to remove VA from under umbrella of Federal Tort Laws. Until then, you’re still sucking on the smaller teat, and the inside VA hospital corruption will continue. And elsewhere of course, I didn’t forget you.

    Vets need to pull together, focus on a few major things that they want recognized or changed, then pursue that. We’re all over the place, and emotions, feelings, and bickering controlling the objective(s). Idle bitching. And no offense, it’s most likely came across your mind in some form of thought pattern or process too.

    1. Well said, ANutterVet. Anytime, ANY single veteran or Group gets anything good from the government – we should be celebrating that, then redoubling our efforts to hold the government accountable for the rest of us.

      Sniping that Air Force vets will “kill themselves by the thousands thanks to the Navy . . .” is not only counter-productive, it also keeps us divided as a group.

      Precisely what the VA/AFGE/Politicos would like to see. Because IF we ever truly UNITED on veterans issues, there would be no power that would be capable of standing against/burying our story for very long.

      Hope this finds you doing better.

  5. Looks like forgetting veterans while preaching patriotism and nationalism is not just restricted to the USA:


  6. OFF-TOPIC: OHIO VAMC’s Legionnaires Outbreak Columbus 2 Vets diagnosed so far, f Vets with symptoms and growing…here we go again!

    Don’t hear of Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic having these REGULAR problems systematically in it’s systemic mess!!!!!!

      1. wasn’t there an outbreak there not to long ago as well? Wtf is going on…

      2. The natives working there do not have English as a second or third language…so am thinking the blame will go to the manufacturers of VA water contracting and testing contracts for not including all dialects from the hiring huts…

      3. yeah see that’s the fucking problem right there. Lack of ability to communicate effectively. I’m not happy to be saying this but if you can’t at least speak spanish in America then you don’t need to be employed in the government where your primary duties include communicating with english speaking veterans. I might need to take off a few days. I’m starting to lose my shit…

    1. According to the VA, “…blaming it or trying to blame it on warmer weather…” (paraphrased from twisted lame excuse for regular maintenance of taxpayer-funded equipment)…so again, the VA is trying to spin this as a “normal thing but we’re investigating…”

      1. How about they put the blame where it belongs: lack of a regular maintenance schedule from a lazy and ineffectual staff.

  7. So this is what I found on the parent company of this publication. Tronc.


    Couldn’t determine which way it leans and had to do some reading to keep track of the spin-offs and rebrands.

    1. “”

      And so it begins…

      1. HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!! I’m in tears! *** Almost as funny as the raccoon found with a peanut butter jar stuck on it’s head, rescued by a policeman.

        I’d pay to watch 200 llamas pissing on Sean Hannity.

  8. “–abc-news-topstories.html”

    this should be interesting…

      1. Well yeah actually it does. The narrative is completely different depending on which way the paper leans and which way the shooter leans. Especially if this isn’t a case of a “disgruntled ex-employee” or some other similar situation. We all know the media is going to be absolutely and completely ape shit over this. The most immediate and low hanging fruit these days is increasingly the “political divide” And I suspect that’s what the MSM will run with. It was just yesterday we where bitching about the MSM being a bunch of worthless fucks trying to spoon feed us red and blue bullshit.

        Not trying to be a dick, I know, shocked face, but I think context on this is critical as I’m sure it will shape political discourse for awhile to come.

    1. You do you honey booboo.

      If my republican representation does not help me fight in my state against provable, chargeable actions of fraud and harm done to me and us in general I won’t be as selective when the sword falls.

      I’m not a fan of either side. They can all choke on my rod as far as I care.

    2. Several reported dead with a suspect reported to be in custody. Unknown the actual number of dead or if the suspect is injured.


    1. Holy jesus fucking christ on a crutch. I’ve said some appalling things on this board but you sir, are a vile and disgusting asshole of the absolute lowest order. I hold pigs in higher regard than I hold you. How dare you shit on a group of veterans who deserve their benefits and compensation every bit as much as the next guy. If I where you I’d be thankful I didn’t say that to somebody within arms reach. I don’t care how old you are I don’t care what kind of wheelchair you roll around in I’d fuck you up and I’d fuck you up with a smile on my face. Go die in a fire you insensitive bastard.

      1. You are currently shitting on another group who got cut off from their slice of the VA pie.

        You would be Hippocrates greatest student grasshopper.

      2. I stand by my previous statement. We’re all waiting for something from the VA. This is like going to somebodies birthday party, whipping out your dick, and pissing on their cake. No Sir, not having it.

    2. I for one agree with you. It’s time to stop playing favorites at the VA before vets stop martyrdom on the streets and take it to the communists leftist trash at the VA. Scum sucking pond peckers that they are.

      1. I’m all for taking it to the trash as long as we can agree it comes in both flavors, red and blue.

  10. Goood Mooorning!

    This is a good day, veterans being heard and compensated appropriately, at least that’s what they are saying, right? With that being said, I am happy to hear that veterans are receiving their benefits. Sad to hear about what happened to them, horrible to have to drink water contaminated with toxic chemicals, ugh.

    A lot of good ideas being thrown out there this morning. I like this one “The only way to fix this situation is to give vets vouchers and let them go to the doctor they choose”. Although I do like some of the privileges of the VA Healthcare system. For instance, our newly built hospital and clinics, health care tailored to serving only veterans. It’s good when it works. And that is the issue, isn’t it? How to amend the program in a way that keeps what is working and lose what is not (policies, practices and people).


    1. The shame is the tens or hundreds of thousands of vets denied benefits for 27 years. No backpay either. The system totally screwed the people it was designed to protect.


  12. Waited decade’s now granted what does that really mean. Does that mean, now the VA has more veteran’s that will apply and the VA will send denial letters.

    Then those veteran’s will have to wait decade’s for the file to be adjudicated while in the appeals process.

    IF these veteran’s should be approved or granted their deserved disability claims many will be rated at 0 percent.

    Any veteran’s getting over 50 percent, will start receiving letters making those veteran’s take comp and pension examinations over and over again until they are decrease to 10% or 0.

    The VA rated me at 100% Perment and total since 2001. Shot in the head in 1972. Denied treatment for over forty years.

    Now since I asked for a service connected disability for a Traumatic and I applied for a clear and unmistakable error.

    The VA has started to force me to go to a re evualation of my PTSD. This is nothing more than retaliation for me daring to ask to be service connected for the traumatic brain injury.

    And me asking for a clear and unmistakable error. They are trying to take away my 100% Perment and total since disability rating.

    10 year rule if a veteran should be 100% Perment and total. The VA is not to try and take that disability away.

    I contacted the Region office and a clerk did a lot of typing. This phone call is being recorded and could affect your benefits.

    I advised the VA employee, I am also recordings this conversation and if you the VA keeps this up.

    I want to go in front of a federal judge.

    10 year rule. I was shot in the head in 1972. That’s way over ten years. I have all of my official Military records and medical records with all the proof needed to prove, the VA is only doing this as a retaliatory action for me asking for my full benefits.

    May need an attorney to help again. Know anyone who will go to bat for me and stop these criminals from harming this veteran.

    1. So typical of the VA. A total disregard for the law, for facts, and for science. Wish i could help, but there’s not many lawyers (at least in my area) that are willing to take on the VA, i mean the mob.

  13. Ok here is the one thing that is not being said…

    “The funding comes from an increase in the cost of using the VA Home Loan for non-disabled veterans using that benefit.”

    So WHY THE HELL should ANY Veteran have to pay to use a benefit that they damn well EARNED by their service??

    1. I understand what your saying, I personality would not oppose it, because the vets and their families need relief now, they have been waiting far too long. All American taxpayers should be funding the whole bill period, so they know and understand exactly what the gov and VA did to these veterans. In some ways i look at it as another gov, vA coverup. But like i said, 2.95 a month, if vets and their families are taken care of i would except it. It’s probably the only way it would pass, the gov won’t have the money, because of the tax cuts too the 1%.

  14. Nothing will change and fat lazy stupid Marxist Americans will continue to not give a fuck

  15. You know I just had an idea, I haven’t even smoked my first bowl yet. Ironically it was Mitch McConnel that gave me this idea 😀 😀 😀

    So here it is. We have a call in number for vets to register their votes for Sec VA. Much like American Idol and how Mitch wanted “to make sure that the american people have a voice.” The candidate with the most veteran votes gets the job.

    Who knew that a republican could have such a wonderful idea…he must be off his meds.

  16. New from “”

    Titled; “VA Nominee Wilkie Pledges No ‘Privatization’ Of Vets Health Care”

    Dated: 27 Jun 2018
    By “Richard Sisk”

    “Robert Wilkie, President Donald Trump’s’ nominee to become the next VA Secretary, said Wednesday that he was against “privatization” of VA health care and would work to break the bureaucratic logjams on wait times and benefits appeals.”

    “At his confirmation hearing before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Wilkie also rejected allegations that he supported “racially divisive” issues in his private life and in his past work as a staffer for conservative senators.”

    “Wilkie said he had previously attended events of the Sons of Confederate Veterans involving the display of Confederate flags but said he “stopped doing any of those thing at a time when that issue became divisive.”

    “He said that former President Barack Obama had sent a wreath to a Southern heritage event, an episode noted in a Washington Post report.”

    “Wilkie also dispute the charge that in the 1990s he marked up draft legislation calling for young women to finish high school before they qualified for welfare.”

    “Wilkie, who was working at the time for then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, said Lott and other staffers made changes in the legislation.”

    “When asked by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, whether he believed women should have to graduate from high school to receive government benefits, Wilkie said, “that would never enter my mind.”

    “Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, told Wilkie he expected his nomination to be confirmed, but added that Wilkie had worked for a “very racially divisive senator,” meaning the late Sen. Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina.”

    “[And] you were appointed to this job by a very racially divisive president,” Brown said.”

    “In his opening statement, Wilkie said that there were no excuses for failing to address the VA’s problems after Congress gave the department nearly $200 billion in funding and passed the VA Mission Act to overhaul and consolidate the VA Choice Program on private health care options for veterans.”

    “Wilkie said he favored private and community care when the VA could not meet the needs of the veteran, but added that he was opposed to privatization and would keep the Veterans Health Administration fully funded.”

    “If confirmed, Wilkie said his goal would be to make the VA more “agile and adaptive” to meet the needs of a changing veterans population.”

    “It is clear that the veterans population is changing faster than we realize,” he said. “For the first time in 40 years, half of our veterans are under the age of 65. Of America’s 20 million veterans, 10 percent are now women. The new generation is computer savvy and demands 21st Century service — service that is quick, diverse and close to home.”

    “Wilkie, 55, of North Carolina, had been undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness when he was moved over to the VA in March as acting Secretary after Trump ousted then-VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin.”

    “This story will be updated.”

    366234249 hours ago The VA cannot be fixed. The only way to fix this situation is to give vets vouchers and let them go to the doctor they choose. What in the hell is wrong with that? The VA is broken. The VA is killing veterans. It is the way it is because the losers running the place can’t be fired, and they damned well know it. How in the hell could the private sector possibly be worse??

    368629273662342440 minutes ago You are completely correct. If you live more than 50+ miles from a VA Hospital and its an emergency your number is up. As it stands now, it takes weeks to get approval for local care under the Veterans Choice Program.

    James Mcallister368629278 minutes ago Untrue.

    1. So instead of actually rolling up his sleeves and doing something helpful, little willy wilkie will just keep slapping band-aids on the stack of band-aids already in place. Good to know we can’t expect anything to change anytime soon.

  17. And I’m STILL waiting, after countless years, for VA to admit to my many disabilities were caused by AO!

  18. Acute lead poisoning for all middle and upper management VA employees

  19. Welp it only took 27 fucking years. Congratulations guys you’ve earned it.

    On a side note it will be highly interesting to see which senators have the testicular fortitude to oppose this bill.

    1. They would be the congress critters with largest mutual fund investment portfolios that contain Monsanto and it’s derivative companies. I’m predicting same congress critters will have a large StairMaster investment in same portfolio.
      I also predict McCain will oppose… Wait for it…..

      1. McCain’s too busy dying from his own tumors. Good fucking riddance to that scrub.

  20. This only tells me that the bean-counters have determined most of those 90,000 sailors are already deceased or well-on way there. 1991-revoked–2018-reinstated= 27 fucking years.

    Deny, Deny, Lie, Wait for all to Die.

    With that math, I now predict Gulf War Illnesses + Burn Pit Exposure Vets will see their benefits by 2035, but taken away by VA Sec in 2038, only to wait a few more years until all deceased, to reinstatement in 2065.

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