The Republican senator never has sought to connect any of his health troubles, including prior bouts with skin cancer, with Agent Orange exposure and has a mixed record when it comes to compensating fellow veterans for wartime exposures.
At a meeting in March, a lead analyst in the VA's compensation service was critical of the media, scientists, and the VA's own administrative tribunal for taking positions that differ from his.
Neither the Navy nor the Department of Veterans Affairs has a comprehensive list of which ships went where during the Vietnam War. As a result, veterans themselves often have to prove their ships served in areas where Agent Orange was sprayed.
The 1991 law presumes veterans were exposed to the defoliant if they have certain diseases and “set foot” in Vietnam, but Navy vets and Air Force vets in Thailand say they were also exposed. Here’s our guide to groups seeking Agent Orange benefits.
As part of our week-long series on people who opt out of society, Eva Holland follows the evolution of “homesteading,” from historic government policy to part-time lifestyle of self-sufficiency.