Senator Steve Daines enlisted support of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representatives Chris Gibson (R-NY) and David Valadao (R-CA) for their legislation to ensure Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans are eligible to receive benefits linked to Agent Orange Exposure.

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed approximately 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam to remove jungle foliage. This toxic chemical had devastating effects for millions serving in Vietnam. In 1991, Congress passed a law requiring the VA to provide presumptive coverage to Vietnam veterans with illnesses that the Institute of Medicine has directly linked to Agent Orange exposure.  However, in 2002 the VA determined that it would only cover Veterans who could prove that they had orders for “boots on the ground” during the Vietnam War. This exclusion affects thousands of sailors who may have still received significant Agent Orange exposure from receiving VA benefits.