[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 2634 Introduced in House (IH)]

112th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 2634

  To direct the Secretary of State to provide assistance for certain 
 individuals affected by exposure to Agent Orange and the Secretary of 
   Veterans Affairs to enhance the availability of medical care for 
  descendants of veterans of the Vietnam era, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             July 25, 2011

  Mr. Filner introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
 Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on 
      Foreign Affairs and Energy and Commerce, for a period to be 
subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration 
  of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee 
                               concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To direct the Secretary of State to provide assistance for certain 
 individuals affected by exposure to Agent Orange and the Secretary of 
   Veterans Affairs to enhance the availability of medical care for 
  descendants of veterans of the Vietnam era, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act 
of 2011''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) From 1961 to 1971, approximately 19,000,000 gallons of 
        15 different herbicides, including 13,000,000 gallons of Agent 
        Orange, were sprayed over the southern region of Vietnam. Many 
        of such herbicides, including Agent Orange, were based with the 
        toxic contaminant, known as dioxin.
            (2) It is estimated that between 2,100,000 and 4,800,000 
        Vietnamese people were present during the spraying of Agent 
        Orange and other herbicides and many more were or continue to 
        be exposed through contact with the environment and food that 
        was contaminated, or as offspring of those exposed who now 
        suffer from illnesses and deformities.
            (3) Today, there are still dozens of environmental hot 
        spots in Vietnam which contaminate the food, soil, sediment, 
        and wildlife and continue to expose the people of Vietnam to 
        dioxin.
            (4) Agent Orange exposure continues to negatively affect 
        the lives of men and women in Vietnam and in the United States. 
        The lives of many victims are cut short and others live with 
        disease, disabilities, and pain, often untreated or 
        unrecognized.
    (b) Purpose.--It is the purpose of this Act to address and 
remediate the ongoing problems and concerns that arose or will arise 
from the use of these deadly herbicides, including Agent Orange, during 
the Vietnam War.

SEC. 3. ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED BY HEALTH ISSUES RELATED TO 
              EXPOSURE TO AGENT ORANGE DURING THE VIETNAM ERA.

    (a) For Covered Individuals.--The Secretary of State shall provide 
assistance to address the health care needs of covered individuals. 
Such assistance shall include the provision of medical and chronic care 
services, nursing services, and medical equipment.
    (b) For Caregivers.--The Secretary of State shall provide 
assistance to institutions in Vietnam that provide health care for 
covered individuals. Such assistance shall include--
            (1) medicines and medical equipment;
            (2) custodial care, home care, respite care, and daycare 
        programs;
            (3) training programs for caregivers;
            (4) medical, physical rehabilitation, and counseling 
        services and equipment for illnesses and deformities associated 
        with exposure to Agent Orange; and
            (5) reconstructive surgical programs.
    (c) For Housing and Poverty Reduction.--The Secretary of State 
shall provide assistance to repair and rebuild substandard homes in 
Vietnam for covered individuals and the families of covered 
individuals. The Secretary of State shall provide micro grants and 
loans to facilitate subsistence payments and poverty reduction for 
covered individuals and families of covered individuals.
    (d) For Environmental Remediation.--The Secretary of State shall 
provide assistance to remediate those areas in Vietnam that continue to 
contain high levels of dioxin, Agent Orange, and other contaminants 
used during the Vietnam War.
    (e) For Public Research.--The Secretary of State shall provide 
assistance to support research relating to health issues of covered 
individuals. Such research should include the active involvement of 
schools of public health and medicine located in the United States, 
Vietnam, and other interested countries.
    (f) Vietnamese Nongovernmental Organizations.--Assistance under 
this section (other than assistance under subsection (e)) shall be 
provided through appropriate Vietnamese nongovernmental organizations 
and other community organizations.
    (g) Implementation.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall complete a plan for 
the implementation of this section. Not later than 180 days after 
completion of the plan, the Secretary of State shall begin implementing 
this section.
    (h) Definitions.--In this section--
            (1) the term ``covered individual'' means in an individual 
        who--
                    (A) is a resident of Vietnam; and
                    (B) is affected by health issues related to 
                exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam era; and
            (2) the term ``Vietnam era'' has the meaning given the term 
        in section 101(29) of title 38, United States Code.

SEC. 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTERS 
              FOR DESCENDANTS OF VETERANS OF THE VIETNAM ERA.

    (a) Establishment of Medical Centers.--The Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs shall establish at least two regional medical centers of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs that are designed to address the medical 
needs of descendants of veterans of the Vietnam era. Such medical 
centers shall be--
            (1) associated with existing university-based medical 
        centers;
            (2) equipped to provide access to a full range of state-of-
        the-art medical care for illnesses, deformities, and 
        developmental problems experienced by the descendants of 
        veterans of the Vietnam era, including diagnostic medicine, 
        rehabilitative medicine, pediatric medicine, psychiatry, and 
        vocational training.
    (b) Coordination of Medical Records.--The medical centers 
established under this section shall coordinate the medical records of 
patients who receive care at the centers with the Department of 
Veterans Affairs for the purpose of conducting research or providing 
support for research into the intergenerational effects of dioxin 
exposure.
    (c) Employment of Specialists.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
shall employ medical personnel at the medical centers established under 
this section who are specialists in environmental illnesses and 
rehabilitative medicine.
    (d) Travel and Housing Assistance.--The Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs shall provide assistance to individuals and families who travel 
to the medical centers established under this section for diagnostic 
evaluation and treatment to cover the costs of travel to and from the 
medical centers and the cost of housing while being evaluated or 
treated at the centers.
    (e) Definition of Vietnam Era.--In this section, the term ``Vietnam 
era'' has the meaning given the term in section 101(29) of title 38, 
United States Code.

SEC. 5. NATIONAL VIETNAM VETERANS READJUSTMENT STUDY.

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall ensure that the National 
Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study is expanded to include a mortality 
and morbidity study examining the health outcomes of applicable Vietnam 
Veterans.

SEC. 6. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS HEALTH ASSESSMENT AND ASSISTANCE 
              FOR VIETNAMESE AMERICANS.

    (a) Health Assessment.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
make grants to appropriate public health organizations and Vietnamese-
American organizations for the purpose of conducting a broad health 
assessment of Vietnamese-Americans who may have been exposed to Agent 
Orange and their children to determine the effects to their health of 
such exposure.
    (b) Assistance.--The Secretary shall establish centers in locations 
in the United States where large populations of Vietnamese-Americans 
reside for the purpose of providing assessment, counseling, and 
treatment for conditions related to exposure to Agent Orange. The 
Secretary may carry out this subsection through appropriate community 
and nongovernmental organizations or other suitable organizations, as 
determined by the Secretary.

SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act:
            (1) The term ``Agent Orange'' includes any chemical 
        compound which became part, either by design or through 
        impurities, of an herbicide agent used in support of the United 
        States and allied military operations in the Republic of 
        Vietnam.
            (2) The term ``victim'' includes any individual who is a 
        Vietnamese national, Vietnamese-American, or United States 
        veteran who was exposed to agent grange, or the progeny of such 
        an individual, and who has a disease or disability associated 
        with this exposure.
            (3) The term ``impacted zone'' includes the areas of 
        Southeast Asia known to have been contaminated with Agent 
        Orange, including southern Vietnam (the former South Vietnam), 
        western Cambodia, southern Laos and surrounding airspace and 
        ocean ways.
            (4) The term ``exposure period'' includes--
                    (A) for a United States veteran, any time from 
                January 9, 1962, through May 7, 1975; and
                    (B) for a Vietnamese-American, the time period 
                beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending when the 
                person emigrated from Vietnam; and
                    (C) for a Vietnamese national, any time after 
                January 9, 1962.
            (5) The term ``veteran'' includes any person who served on 
        active or reserve duty in the Armed Forces during the exposure 
        period in the impacted zone of the Republic of Vietnam 
        including the inland waterways of such Republic, the waters 
        offshore of such Republic, and the airspace above such 
        Republic.

SEC. 8. DEADLINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION.

    Not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this 
Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of State shall 
each complete a plan for the implementation of the applicable 
provisions of this Act and shall issue a request for proposals, if 
applicable. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of 
State shall implement the provisions of this Act by not later than 18 
months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 9. QUARTERLY REPORTS.

    Not later than 30 days after the last day of a fiscal quarter, the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of State shall each 
submit to Congress a report on the implementation of the applicable 
provisions of this Act during the fiscal quarter covered by the report.
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