A sham !
Tom Emmer is an original sponsor of HR 2754 Atomic Veterans Service Medal Act and through the amendment process was able to insert it into the National Defense Authorization Act (the appropriations bill that provides monies to increase inactive-duty end strength (18,100) while reserves would increase by 9,700; added healthcare costs; and more ships and planes than the Pentagon requested.)
Let’s be honest, most Republicans were happy to vote for the DoD funding bill before they knew the Emmer Amendment existed, and when they called roll, the Atomic Veterans Service Medals amendment passed … 424-0.
There was no opposing debate on the Emmer Amendment.
The discussion of the Emmer Amendment acknowledges some important assertions.
Between 1945 and 1962, about 225,000 members of our Armed Forces participated in hundreds of nuclear weapons tests. Now known as atomic veterans, these GIs were placed in extremely dangerous areas and were constantly exposed to potentially dangerous levels of radiation in the performance of their duties. They were sworn to secrecy, unable to even talk to their doctors about their past exposure to radiation.
Tragically, more than 75 percent of atomic veterans have already passed away. They served honorably and kept a code of silence. Because of that, it most certainly led to many of these veterans passing away prematurely.
So, the Emmer Amendment will award them, or their surviving families, a medal.
While, the Republican-controlled House had no problem with inserting the Emmer amendment into the NDAA funding bill, it did reject another amendment … offered by Mike Thompson (D-CA-05), Don Young (R-AK-At Large) and Walter Jones (R-NC-03) requiring the DoD to declassify “Project 112” SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense).
From 1962 to 1974, the Department of Defense conducted vulnerability tests involving approximately 6,000 service members exposing them (and some civilians) to some of the deadliest chemical agents: Vx Nerve Gas, Sarin Nerve Gas, and E. coli.
“Human experimentation on our service members and civilians was a dark time for country,” said Representative Thompson. “We owe it to our heroes to be open and honest about what the government did to them.”
The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America have all come out in support of the Thompson-Young-Jones amendment.
Yet, the Republican-controlled Rules Committee rejected even considering this bipartisan amendment.
But, as noted, they did allow a vote on the Emmer Atomic Veterans Service medal …. meanwhile, the House has failed to address the health problems that some of these Atomic Veterans face still today.
H.R.632 – Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act is what these veterans need.
H.R.632 now has 105 bipartisan sponsors.
Yes, Representatives Thompson, Young and Jones are sponsors … along with Tim Walz (D-MN-01), Betty McCollum (D-MN-04), Keith Ellison (D-MN-05), Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) and Rick Nolan (D-MN-08) … missing is Tom Emmer as well as Jason Lewis (R-MN-02) and Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03).
Yep, Congressmen Emmer (along with Lewis and Paulsen) is quick to vote on awarding a medal … but not so quick to provide healthcare for these veterans.
Let’s stop with the self-promoting speeches and tweets and address the real healthcare needs of our veterans.
It’s a sham and a shame.