MTPR

Blue Water Veterans Act

Sen. Jon Tester takes questions from the audience at a town hall meeting in Missoula June 21, 2019.
Kevin Trevellyan / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Jon Tester met with constituents at a town hall event Friday in Missoula. About 150 people packed into one of the meeting rooms in Missoula’s Holiday Inn Parkside Friday to interact with Tester.

The town hall was an open door event with no invite needed. It was his second in person town hall of the year and his ninth since President Trump took office.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to extend health care benefits to offshore Vietnam veterans who had contact with Agent Orange.

The current law only offers the benefits to veterans who served within the borders of Vietnam.

U.S. Senator Mike Lee probably won’t get a Christmas card this year from Montana Senator Jon Tester. That's because Tester says he's, “A little frustrated with Senator Lee at this moment in time.”

Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at a press conference Tuesday.
Senator Jon Tester's office.

Both of Montana’s U.S. Senators are urging the Senate to pass the so-called Blue Water Veterans Act before the current Congress adjourns.

That bill would extend benefits to vets who served on ships during the Vietnam War who may have been exposed to Agent Orange. At present, only troops who served on land are eligible.