Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02)
November 19, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congresswoman Elaine Luria participated in the Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security’s hearing on toxic exposures at Karshi-Khanabad (K2) air base. The hearing examined how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) are working to address the health concerns of veterans and servicemembers who deployed to K2 Air Base in Uzbekistan between 2001 and 2005.
“The continued denial that illnesses suffered by K2 veterans are service-connected is troubling, and we must do better for these veterans,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria. “Declassified DOD documents have underscored the exposure of American servicemembers to toxic and radioactive materials at K2. We cannot let decades pass before acknowledging service connection.”
In the hearing, the Congresswoman pressed witnesses on why DOD directed health care providers to dismiss the concerns of veterans who served at K2. Congresswoman Luria also inquired why Congress received conflicting information about whether environmental sampling at K2 included water quality and why water quality was not addressed in the VA witness’ testimony. This is significant, as Department of Defense’s K2 Periodic Occupational Environmental System from 2001 to 2005 stated the confidence in the short and long-term health risk estimates regarding the water quality at K2 is low. This water is used for bathing, cleaning, and cooking, and it is also purified for consumption by reverse osmosis.
To watch Congresswoman Luria’s lines of questioning, click here.
Congresswoman Luria has consistently worked across party lines to ensure that our veterans receive the support and care they need. Last year, she championed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act as it passed through DAMA before becoming law. This law provides long-overdue health benefits to Vietnam-era veterans who served 12 nautical miles off the coast of Vietnam and experienced health complications from Agent Orange.
As the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) Chair, Congresswoman Luria leads legislative hearings on issues that are pertinent to veterans. Most recently, she led a hearing examining the impacts of toxic exposures on our veterans. During this hearing, the Congresswoman facilitated a discussion about the health ramifications of exposure to burn pits and oil well fires.
Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.