September 21, 2023

Young, Colleagues Applaud House Passage of VA Spina Bifida Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, a bill to strengthen the VA Spina Bifida Program to benefit the children of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a unanimous vote.

The bill previously passed the Senate unanimously in July.

The bipartisan bill was led by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and a group of Senate colleagues.

“This bill will support the children of Vietnam veterans born with spina bifida due to their parents’ exposure to Agent Orange and ensure they have access to better resources and care. I’m pleased to see it pass Congress and head to the President’s desk,” said Senator Young.

“This legislation will ensure that the children of Vietnam veterans born with spina bifida due to a parent’s exposure to Agent Orange will get the care and benefits they deserve for the rest of their lives. I’m proud to have led this valuable bipartisan bill through the Senate and the House and look forward to it being signed into law for these veterans’ kids,” said Senator Braun.

“Vietnam veterans sacrificed significantly for our country, and it is up to us to ensure that their children who were born with spina bifida receive the care that they need,” said Senator Hassan.


The OCC Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program Guide states, “This program provides services and supplies for enrolled beneficiaries for all covered medical conditions, not simply those related to Spina Bifida.” This assistance includes instrumental activities of daily living (i.e., cleaning a house or apartment, showering, cooking, etc).

The VA Inspector General (VAOIG) reported serious problems with the administration of the Spina Bifida program in their 2021 report, including failure to deliver benefits appropriately and to conduct proper oversight, leading to waste of taxpayer dollars.

It is estimated over 1,500 Veterans’ children suffer from Spina Bifida in the U.S. and yet fewer than half of those are enrolled in the program.

Full legislative text is available here.