(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined Senate colleagues in writing a letter to U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert McDonald questioning the Department’s failure to provide benefits to veterans who were subjected to mustard gas tests by the U.S. military during their WWII service. The letter follows a series of reports by National Public Radio last week that exposed both the nature of the testing, and the failure of the VA to provide benefits despite assurances it had made over twenty years ago.
The letter reads in part:
“We find these reports profoundly disturbing and urge the VA to take immediate and comprehensive steps to address this issue, and review its associated processes to better handle similar cases in the future… We also request the Department review its investigation process to determine how NPR reporters were able to locate 1,200 affected veterans over a period of weeks, while the VA only identified half that number over the past 20 years.”
Also signing the letter were Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Bill Nelson (D-FL). Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The full letter can be found here.