WASHINGTON — On Oct. 20, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside), ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statement after the Senate unanimously passed his Korean American Vietnam Allies Long Overdue for Relief (VALOR) Act. This bill passed the House of Representatives in May and now heads to President Biden’s desk.
“I am thrilled by the overwhelming bipartisan support across both chambers for Korean American Vietnam veterans who fought alongside American forces to get the VA healthcare that they deserve. This measure is long overdue, and I urge President Biden to sign my bill into law as soon as possible.”
The Korean American VALOR Act amends Title 38 of the United States Code to allow the VA secretary to enter into a reciprocal agreement with the Republic of Korea to grant access to healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs to individuals who served as allies to the U.S. in the Vietnam War under the Republic of Korea Armed Forces and have since become naturalized U.S. citizens. Takano introduced this bipartisan legislation in January to create a pathway for nearly 3,000 Korean American Vietnam veterans to access VA healthcare.
Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) co-led the Senae bill with Sen. Mike Bruan (R-Ind).
“Thanks to the Korean American VALOR Act, approximately 3,000 Korean American veterans in Hawaii and across the country will be able to access medical services through the VA,” said Hirono. “I am glad our bill has passed the Senate and will soon be signed into law, to help ensure our veterans have access to the quality VA healthcare they need and deserve.”
“The Korean War was not the last time Korean soldiers fought alongside American troops,” said Rep. Young Kim (R-Mission Viejo) when the bill was considered in the House. “They fought side-by-side in the Vietnam War, sharing the same physical and mental scars from this conflict. The Korean American VALOR Act will help ensure these veterans can access quality care.”