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S. 332: Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act of 2019


The text of the bill below is as of Sep 15, 2020 (Reported by Senate Committee).


II

Calendar No. 535

116th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 332

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 5, 2019

(for himself, Mr. Whitehouse, and Mrs. Gillibrand) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

September 15, 2020

Reported by , with an amendment and an amendment to the title

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to remove the manifestation period required for the presumptions of service connection for chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, and acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act of 2019.

2.

Removal of manifestation period required for presumptions of service connection for certain diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents

Section 1116(a)(2) of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (C), by striking within one and all that follows through 1975;

(2)

in subparagraph (E), by striking within a and all that follows through 1975; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(I)

Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy becoming manifest to a degree of disability of 10 percent or more.

.

1.

Comptroller General briefing and report on repealing manifestation period for presumptions of service connection for certain diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents

(a)

In general

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall provide to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives a briefing on preliminary observations of the Comptroller General, and not later than 240 days after the date of such briefing, submit to such committees a final report, on the efforts of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide benefits, including compensation and health care, to veterans—

(1)

who during active military, naval, or air service, served in the Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975; and

(2)

in whom chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, or acute or subacute peripheral neuropathy have manifested.

(b)

Elements

The report required by subsection (a) shall include the following:

(1)

A description of how the Secretary establishes a service connection for a diseases described in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) manifesting in veterans, including the number of veterans described in paragraph (1) of such subsection who have filed a claim for a benefit associated with a disease described in paragraph (2) of such subsection.

(2)

A description of how claims adjudicators of the Department of Veterans Affairs determine service connection for a disease described in subparagraph (C) or (E) of section 1116(a)(2) of title 38, United States Code, when documentation proving the presence of the disease during the manifestation period set forth in such subparagraphs for the disease is not available.

(3)

A description of the expected effect of repealing the manifestation period from such subparagraphs, including the expected effect on the number of claims for benefits the Department will receive.

(4)

A review of all claims submitted to the Secretary for compensation under chapter 11 of such title that are associated with a disease described in subsection (a)(2), including the type of proof presented to establish a service connection for the manifestation of the disease based on exposure to a herbicide agent.

(5)

Recommendations on how the Department can better adjudicate claims for benefits, including compensation, submitted to the Department that are associated with a disease described in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) for veterans described in paragraph (1) of such subsection.

(6)

An assessment of such other areas as the Comptroller General considers appropriate to study.

(c)

Administrative action

Not later than 60 days after the date on which the Comptroller General of the United States submits the report required under subsection (a), the Secretary shall commence carrying out the recommendations submitted under subsection (b)(5).

(d)

Herbicide agent defined

In this section, the term herbicide agent has the meaning given such term in section 1116(a)(3) of title 38, United States Code.

Amend the title so as to read: A bill to require the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report on repealing the manifestation periods for presumptions of service connection for chloracne and porphyria cutanea tarda associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents, and for other purposes..

September 15, 2020

Reported with an amendment and an amendment to the title