Lawmakers advocate for ‘Blue Water’ bill in wake of court ruling

Lawmakers recently gathered to discuss the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 and made their case for why the legislation is needed, saying it was the “quickest and clearest route” for providing benefits to ‘Blue Water’ Navy veterans.

According to an article published by Stars and Stripes, the “Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled 9-2 in January that blue water Navy veterans are eligible for benefits. The decision could pave the way for disability compensation for tens of thousands of veterans. After asking for an extension last month, the Department of Justice now has about a month to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.”

Last year, legislation similar to the 2019 blue water bill was unanimously passed during last year’s congressional session, but the effort failed in the Senate. This year, two groups have come together to show their support for the bill, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association and Military-Veterans Advocacy. These groups have expressed the belief that the language used in the bill would inadvertently limit the number of veterans who would be eligible for benefits, asking lawmakers to use broader language.

The Department of Veterans Affairs was invited to a recent hearing discussing plans to extend benefits where they sent a representative to discuss other bills being considered, but not the blue water bill. The Department of Justice wrote it needed more time to research the legal and practical impact of the ruling.

To learn more about the progress of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, click here.