President Biden Signs Gomez-Backed Korean American VALOR Act into Law

Washington, D.C. -- Today, President Biden signed into law the Korean American Vietnam Allies Long Overdue for Relief (VALOR) Act, sponsored by Representatives Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Tom Cole (R-OK), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Grace Meng (D-NY) Andy Kim (D-NJ), and Judy Chu (D-CA). 

Since 1958, through its Allied Beneficiary Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been furnishing healthcare services to veterans of any era who served in the armed forces of nations that were allies of the U.S. during World War I and World War II. The Korean American VALOR Act amends title 38 of the United States Code to allow the VA Secretary to enter into a similar reciprocal agreement with the Republic of Korea to grant access to healthcare to veterans of the Republic of Korea who served alongside to the U.S. in the Vietnam War. Lawmakers introduced this bipartisan legislation in January. 

“The bravery, sacrifice and strength of Korean and Korean-American veterans of the Vietnam War cannot be overstated, and it’s a grave injustice that they are not eligible for VA health care services,” said Rep. Jimmy Gomez. “As the congressional representative of the largest Korean American community in the nation, I’m proud to see the culmination of our work to honor Korean American veterans of Vietnam, many of which are my constituents, signed into law. Our legislation will ensure these brave servicemembers can access the care they need and deserve.”

“Today, the United States is a step closer to ensuing every veteran can reeive the care and services they have rightfully earned,” said Rep. Mark Takano, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “Heroes who served alongside our military in Vietnam now qualify for the same benefits as their American counterparts. I applaud President Biden to opening the VA to more veterans who have served to defend our country.” 

“Courageous individuals from Korea fought side-by-side with American troops during the Vietnam War, but in contrast to our allies from WWI and WWII, they have been unjustifiably excluded from receiving VA benefits—despite many now being naturalized U.S. citizens. The Korean American VALOR Act's enactment is a long time coming and represents a bipartisan Congressional commitment to rectify the unjustified exclusion of these Korean Americans.  I thank President Biden for signing this into law and urge every impacted veteran to take advantage of the Korean American VALOR Act and receive the medical care and services they have long deserved,” said Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). 

“On behalf of the Korean- American Vietnam Veterans, I wish to thank everyone in the United States Congress for passing this bill. We are especially grateful to Representative Takano, his staff, and co-sponsors for being good friends and partners in this long-standing effort. Americans may disagree about the necessity of armed conflict, but there is consensus that those who served should be honored and rewarded. Passage of this Korean American VALOR ACT will also send a global message that the United States will care for those who fight alongside them. How fitting it is to celebrate the passing of the Korean American Valor Act on the 70th year anniversary of the US-ROK Alliance with our Korean-American Vietnam War comrades,” said Alfred Chung, Officer of Foreign Affairs, Korean-American Associates of Vietnam Veterans. 


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