Today, Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, issued the following statement to provide VA healthcare to Camp Lejeune veterans who were exposed to contaminated drinking water from the 1950s to the 1980s:
"Thousands of unsuspecting Marines and their families, stationed at Camp Lejeune, were exposed to contaminated drinking water. Although the contamination has been traced back to the 1950s, the government has largely ignored this problem, allowing thousands of husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to suffer alone.
"I am calling on Secretary Shinseki to make our Lejeune veterans a priority group within the VA healthcare system and provide them with the care they so desperately need for medical issues related to the water contamination. Some of our Lejeune veterans are no longer with us. But their sacrifice lives on and reminds us all of our duty to take care of those who remain, and who through no action or fault of their own, are today suffering from a host of serious health problems.
"In 2009, the Administration conceded that "VA could, in accordance with the regulatory process, revise its enrollment regulations to establish in Priority 8 an additional subcategory for Veterans who are potentially affected by the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.' Almost three years have since passed without any assistance being offered to those affected. I will continue to work with the Senate's champion for Lejeune's veterans and family members, Senator Richard Burr, to advance legislation, but the Secretary can help these men and women now. They've waited long enough."