Brash Comments Regarding Agent Orange Claims

by Robert Stretch on September 20, 2010

The co-chairman of President Obama’s Deficit Commission has a history of making tactless comments. Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson’s latest brash remark has raised the ire of veterans nationwide.

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced it would expand disability coverage for Vietnam veterans possibly exposed to Agent Orange. The agency plans to add heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and a few types of leukemia to the list, which is expected cost about $42 billion over the next decade.

In the wake of the announcement, Simpson lambasted the decision, claiming it runs counter to the desire to curb federal deficits.

“The irony is that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us save the country in this fiscal mess,” said Simpson, a veteran and a former chairman of the Senate Veterans Affair Committee. “The system that automatically awards disability benefits to some veterans because of concerns about Agent Orange seems contrary to efforts to control federal spending.”

This is the same political figure who referred to Social Security as a “milk cow with 310 million tits.” Scores of veterans are livid given his most recent statements.

The VA estimated that $67 billion would be spent on treatment for veterans exposed to Agent Orange over the next decade.  The minimal estimate of cost provided by the VA is leaving many individuals wondering why Simpson believes that providing this extended health care is “the kind of thing that’s just driving us to this $1 trillion, $400 billion deficit.”

Under the new VA regulation veterans who were exposed to herbicides while serving in Vietnam and other areas will have easier access to health care and disability compensation.  Although Agent Orange is the predominate focus of the new regulation, other herbicides were included as many have been linked to causing cancers, nervous system conditions, and infertility in those exposed.

Photo thanks to trepelu under creative common license on Flickr.

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