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Bill to help Fort McClellan veterans stalled in congress

Many have health issues linked to time there
Posted: 8:07 AM, Jun 22, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-22 09:07:43-04

A bill that would help a group of ailing veterans has sat untouched in a house subcommittee for more than a year as former soldiers continue to get sick.

The Fort McClellan Registry Act would begin a process that could help tens of thousands of veterans who claim their time at the Alabama army post exposed them to chemical and nuclear toxins.

Donald Hayden said his health has steadily deteriorated over the last two decades.

"I used to say I was lucky, I was one of the healthiest ones of the bunch, but as time goes on, things seem to be popping up," Hayden said.

Hayden is one of millions of soldiers who went through Fort McClellan, Ala. for part of their training.
 
McClellan was home to the army chemical corp and chemical biological radiological agency. It was also just north of a Monsanto plant that settled a lawsuit with the surrounding town for spewing toxic chemicals into the environment.
 
Which is why Hayden and thousands more veterans think their strange joint issues, thyroid disorders and cancers are linked to their time at McClellan.
 
"I'm 49 now, so things should start coming up because of my age. But these things started happening in my early 30s. I was a young man," Hayden said.
 
The latest attempt at passing the Fort McClellan Registry Act was introduced in congress June 2, 2015. 
 
It stalled three days later in a subcommittee, where it has not budged in more than a year.
 
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Sherwood) is the only one of Wisconsin's eight representatives supporting these veterans and he is down to his final months in office.
 
Though he believes others will sign on as veterans work together and speak out.
 
"It's always disappointing when you're working on something to move forward and you can't get it done," Ribble said. "More and more veterans are coming forward and talking about this and I think as they continue to move, congress will respond."