Rolling Thunder Chapter 8 Florida Legislative Officer: To be announced. Contact Rich Malfitano for more Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Welcome and Thank you for your interest in our  Legislative Affairs page. Rolling Thunder is committed to working with members of Congress, Veterans and other organizations to discuss the needs of our veterans, new legislation and work on legislation that  directly and indirectly affects our POW/MIA's and Veterans.

117th Congress 

Veteran Bills Being Supported By Rolling Thunder®, Inc. 

1) A bill to modify the presumption of service connection for veterans who were exposed to herbicide agents while serving in the Armed Forces in Thailand during the Vietnam era, and for other purposes.

 2) HR 333 - The Disabled Veteran's tax termination act.

3) H.R.2281 - To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the United States Army Dust Off crews of the Vietnam War, collectively, in recognition of their extraordinary heroism and life-saving actions in Vietnam.

4) S.1198 - A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve and expand the Solid Start program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

5) S 89 and HR 746 Ensuring Survivor Benefits during Covid-19 Act of 2021.




The original Toxic Exposure Act of 2016 (H.R. 1769 / S-901)

IMPORTANT: just in June 28, 2016 - We need to make The Speaker of the House hear our opinions.  Because of the hard work of a lot of our members we are very close to getting this legislation passed. We just need to make this last effort. So please have your members and anyone else who will help call:

The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at 202-225-0600
(Chief of Staff- Mike Sommer) 
Ask him to move H.R. 5286 back to the house floor for a vote.

These representatives may also be of help:
 Rep. Jeff Miller Chair. of (Veterans Affairs)--Maj. Staff Dir. Jon Tower--- 202-225-3527 at VA  Office.
Rep. Corrine Brown Ranking. Member (Veterans Affairs)--- Min. Staff Dir. Don Phillips.

The original Toxic Exposure Act of 2016 (H.R. 1769 / S-901) went from 19 pages to 331pages when it was merged with a number of other Veteran related legislation.
The new H.R. 5286 was pulled from the floor by the VFW and DAV shortly before it was to be voted on. If this legislation is not voted on be and passed this summer we will have to start over again in January with the new congress.

Blue Water Navy Update
Received confirmation that the VA will make no changes to their Blue Water Navy policy, effectively excluding tens of thousands of veterans from earned disability benefits. Worse, they have said they will no longer grant the presumption for borderline areas. They have decided to take the strictest possible construction of regulations as they apply to the Blue Water Navy sailors. In doing so they have defied the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the United States Congress and have again breached faith with tens of thousands of veterans.

The insane and irrational approach taken by the VA is sure to inflame and infuriate our allies in Congress. The VA failed to even provide a courtesy notification to the Veterans Committee staff. Instead, in a well orchestrated Friday afternoon barrage they issued their arbitrary and capricious regulation, a “fact sheet” and responses to the fourteen Senators who had demanded that they take action. All documents were released simultaneously. The substance of their policy is merely the same deceptive and mendacious hollow arguments that have been rejected by Congress, the courts and people who possess good will and common sense.

I Would say that I was surprised and shocked but I really am not. I had hoped that Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson was a better man and my meetings with him were certainly cordial. But it turned out he was either being deceptive or was overruled by “Secretary Bob.” We’ve been betrayed by the VA before so perhaps continued treachery was inevitable. Still, we had to give them a chance.

So where do we go from here. We keep fighting.

I talked with Congressman Gibson’s staff last evening and the are prepared to move forward. Plans were in the works for a Sub-Committee hearing on HR 969, which would extend the presumption of exposure to the territorial seas. We currently have almost 300 co-sponsors on that bill. The VA’s action will only accelerate plans for that hearing.

I also met with the Senate Committee staff late yesterday afternoon to discus the new VA developments. They intend to push S-681 forward to a”mark-up” hearing probably in the Spring. We now have 37 co-sponsors in the Senate.

On March 10 we have an important oral argument at the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to ascertain whether the federal district court has the ability to review the VA actions under the Administrative Procedures Act. If we win this case, we can force the VA to show why their position is not arbitrary and capricious and/or unsupported by substantial evidence. Additionally, we now have three court cases pending in the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. One case concerns Da Nang Harbor, another Nha Trang Harbor and the third the territorial seas. We intend to press forward with those case and point out to the court how the VA has defied them.

How can you help? Several ways.

First of all we do not need any more co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. Please concentrate on the Senate. Keep writing them or using the contact form. Get your friends and family to do the same. Please concentrate on the Washington DC office. If you are planing to go to Washington, please call and schedule an appointment with the Military Legislative Assistant. You can download our Senate testimony from our website,www.militaryveteransadvocacy,org. Please review it and take it with you

If you can, come to the March 10th oral argument. It starts at 9:30 am at the federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, 333 Constitution Ave., NW Washington DC.

I would like to see a protest demonstration if someone can organize it. We can protest at the VA 810 Vermont Ave NW, Washington DC. There are many things that have to be done including securing a permit but it can be done. The problem is that we need quantity. Twenty people would be viewed as a joke. Two hundred would catch the eye of the media. I know that people are ill and that money is scarce so this might not happen.

We will be posting a press release within a couple of days. Please take it to your local newspaper, radio and television. Ask them to cover the story and to follow it up.

Don’t get discouraged. This is much like a war and sometimes peace negotiations break down before the final push to victory. We are strong, we maus stay united and we must be determined. Please focus your anger where it belong - on the VA, The problem is not with Congress or one political party or the VSOs. The problem is the VA. Let’s focus our anger there.

“Secretary Bob’s” cell phone number is out there. He won’t answer but you can leave a message for one of his toadies to tabulate. Try to be polite but leave a message that we are not going away.

Commander John B Wells, USN (Retired)
Executive Director
Military-Veterans Advocacy
VA published the following changes (or, non-changes, if you will):
Target Audience
M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 1, Section H (IV.ii.1.H)
Updated the section on developing claims for service connection (SC) based on herbicide exposure to provide additional guidance and definitions for considering blue-water and brown-water Navy service.
Veterans Service Representatives (VSRs), Senior  Veterans Service Representatives (SVSRs), Rating Veterans Service Representatives (RVSRs), and Decision Review Officers (DROs)
M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 2, Section C (IV.ii.2.C)
Updated the section on SC for disabilities resulting from exposure to environmental hazards or service in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) to include clarifying language about determining a Veteran’s duty or visitation from a ship in the RVN and provide effective date guidance.
RVSRs and DROs​
Please see Changes by Date page for a listing of the most recent M21-1 changes.


Statistice of POW MIA's, leglislation and contact information for our senators and congressmen. Please read through the end..

POW/MIA's - Summary Statistics of US personnel unaccounted for (DPMO).
WWII: 73,515 Korean War: 7,829,
Vietnam War: 1,624, Cold War: 126, Iraq:0,  Desert Storm: 2, Operation El Dorado Canyon: 1 Totaling 83,100 as of November 30th 2015 by DPAA (The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency)


PASSED - Senator Dorothy L. Hukill (R-Port Orange), Senate Bill 608 established the POW-MIA Chair of Honor Memorial in the Capitol Complex.  The POW-MIA Chair will recognize and honor the sacrifices endured by members of the Armed Forces of the United States who were held as POW and or remain as MIA. We are presently working with FL State officials pretaining to the location and construction requirements. For further information Regardiing the Dedication Please contact Bruce Russotto. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Current Legislation

These are present bills/resolutions that we are closely monitoring.

Senate: S. 928, S. 935, S. 2424 and S. 2450.
House: H. Res. 231, H.R. 543, H.R. 1739, H.R. 2138, H.R. 2519, H.R. 4841 and H.R. 5048. NOTE: We will be updating our priority bills as they are re-introduced during the current Congress.



Agent Orange and Other Toxins

As you may be aware of, the list of presumptive diseases and conditions associated with Agent Orange. Other Toxins are steadily increasing. This VA periodically updates and adds to the list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships that were exposed to Agent Orange and Other Toxins while in operation. The ship list is available on the VA website (cut & paste link):

This is the VA website that provides links for all exposures relating to military service. Veterans may have been exposed to a range of chemical, physical, and environmental hazards during military service during the following wars and operations:

Vietnam War OEF (Afghanistan) Gulf War Korean War
Iraq War (OIF/OND) World War II Cold War Era
The following link will take you to a Map of Vietnam that shows all areas sprayed with Agent Orange: map,0,2014263.htmlpage.


Backlog of Claims/Rights/Issues and Veteran Suicides.

We are now in 2015 and it appears that the backlog of VA claims remains a very big problem and it is evident that the current backlog and appealed claims have not be eliminated at the end of the 2014. As we hope for and promised by Secretary Robert McDonald. VA claims, appeals and Veterans' homelessness remain backloged. Please write, e-mail, fax and or visit your Senator or congress person and voice your concerns, request action as well as voice your displeasure to the way the VA currently conducts business. Ask what he or sshe plans to do to correct some of these on-going problems. We as an organization have the responsibility of continuing to contact or Senators and Representatives (especially those that sit on these committees of where these pieces of legislation currently “sit”) and express your concerns and issues as well as asking for their assistance, whether it be cosponsoring a pieces of legislation or assisting with getting these bills out of committee and to the floor for a vote. Although we are monitoring several bills in relation to our issues, there are a couple of bills that are top priority and need our immediate attention. Such bills are:

S. 2738 and H.R. 5484 and “Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2014” and S. 2053 and H.R. 5391 “To direct the Architect of the Capitol to place a chair honoring American Prisoners of War/Missing in Action on the Capitol Grounds. These pieces of legislation must be passed into law prior to the 114th Congress or they will “die” and will have to be re-introduced

As mentioned in the continually for the past several months and can't stress enough....It is imperative that if you have been denied services by the VA and are not receiving all of the benefits in which you are entitled to, re-file another claim. This will assure that your information is up to date in the system




HC 125 Encourage the designation of “Hire a Veteran Week” (H.Con.Res.125) Expressing support for the designation and goals of "Hire a Veteran Week" and encouraging the President to proclamate supporting these goals. Passed the House under suspension of the rules by unanimous vote on July 24, 2006. On July 25, 2006, the bill was received by the Senate/referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. (Pending)

HB 202 Helps veterans obtain commercial driving licenses by waiving the driving skills test for applicants with recent military service who are experienced in operating commercial-sized motor vehicles.  (Pending)

HB 244 Amends the homestead exemption on property tax to allow totally disabled veterans to document their qualifying disability at the time of initial application, eliminating the need to reapply annually for the exemption. (Pending)

HCR 138 is a concurrent resolution urging Congress to direct more resources and attention to providing treatment to combat military personnel and combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other combat-related stress disorders. (Pending)

HR 5037 Respect for Fallen Heroes Act of 2006 (H.R. 5037) 5/29/2006--Public Law. (This measure has not been amended since, passed by the Senate on May 24, 2006. The summary of that version is repeated here.) Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act - Prohibits a demonstration on the property of a cemetery under the control of the National Cemetery Administration or on the property of Arlington National Cemetery unless the demonstration has been approved by the cemetery superintendent or the director of the property on which the cemetery is located. Prohibits, with respect to such a cemetery, a demonstration during the period beginning 60 minutes before and ending 60 minutes after a funeral, memorial service, or ceremony is held, any part of which demonstration: (1) takes place within 150 feet of a road, pathway, or other route of ingress to or egress from such cemetery property and includes, as part of such demonstration, any individual willfully making or assisting in the making of any noise or diversion that disturbs or tends to disturb the peace or good order of the funeral, memorial service, or ceremony; or (2) is within 300 feet of such cemetery and impedes the access to or egress from such cemetery. Amends the federal criminal code to provide criminal penalties for violations of such prohibitions. Expresses the sense of Congress that each state should enact legislation to restrict demonstrations near any military funeral. (Public Law)


S1235 Veteran’s Housing Opportunity and Benefits Improvement Act of 2006 (S.1235) Legislation to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide adaptive housing assistance to disabled veterans residing temporarily in housing owned by a family member and to make direct housing loans to Native American veterans; make modifications to the Advisory Committee on Veterans Employment and Training within the Department of Labor; provide Life and Health Insurance coverage to certain veterans and their family members; and for other purposes. (Public Law)

HR 3082 Veteran-Owned Small Business Promotion Act of 2005 (H.R. 3082) Legislation to amend title 38, United States Code, to require that 9% of procurement contracts entered into by the Department of Veterans Affairs be awarded to small business concerns owned by veterans, and for other purposes. (Public Law) Passed House on July 24, 2006 by unanimous voice vote.

Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006(S.3421-Public Law 109-461) To amend title 38, United States Code, to repeal certain limitations on attorney representation of claimants for benefits under laws administered by the Secretaryof Veterans Affairs, to expand eligibility for the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Edu. Assistance Program, to otherwise improve veterans’ benefits, memorial affairs, and health-care programs, to enhance information security programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes. (Public Law)

Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000 A bill to provide for the granting of refugee status in the United States to nationals of certain foreign countries in which American Vietnam War POW/MIAs or American Korean War POW/MIAs may be present, if those nationals assist in the return to the United States of those POW/MIAs alive.

Rolling Thunder legislative representatives again teamed up with Senator Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell to amend the Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000. This new law extends the granting of refugee status in the united States to nationals of Iraq or the greater Middle East region. It provides for the International Broadcasting Bureau, which includes the Voice of America, to broadcast information about the law in the Middle East, In view of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America, the bill now includes knowledge of POW/MIA's of the war against terrorism. (Public Law)

Persian Gulf War POW/MIA Accountability Act of 2002 (S.1339) An amendment to the “Bring Them Home Alive Act of 2000” the change is “in short” America to grant Asylum for Eligible Aliens, (nationalist) of Iraq or a nation of the Greater Middle East- who personally delivers into the custody of the United States Government or provides information leading to the rescue a living American Persian Gulf War POW/MIA; and parent, spouse, or child of an alien as described within. (Public Law)

The POW/MIA Memorial Flag Act of 2001 (S.1226) Passed November 15, 2002 Displaying the POW/MIA Flag over Federal Buildings & Military Facilities. Rolling Thunder was highly instrumental in passing legislation requiring that federal building, the Vietnam and Korean Memorials in Washington, D.C. and military facilities fly the POW/MIA flag on six national holidays. (Public Law)

Missing Service Personnel Act of 1997  This bill guarantees that missing servicemen and women could not be arbitrarily "killed on paper" by the U.S. Government withoutcredibleproof of death. (Public Law)