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Tuesdays with Tom 6-12-2012

June 12, 2012
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    WASHINGTON - On his weekly radio call today, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall discussed the Farm Bill reauthorization currently being considered in the Senate, including two amendments he plans to introduce to the bill.

    Udall also talked about his upcoming Veterans' Affairs Committee testimony this Wednesday on legislation to create a registry for veterans who may be suffering health problems due to their proximity to open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Below are highlights from Udall's remarks:

    0:00 - Udall opens the call with remarks supporting the Farm Bill and some of the reforms in the reauthorization.

    1:26 - "This is a strong bill overall and it's very important to agricultural states like New Mexico."

    1:32 - Udall mentions two amendments he plans to introduce to the Farm Bill. The first to provide assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers, and the second to help frontier communities increase their competitiveness for grants.

    2:33 - Udall discusses his upcoming testimony on Wednesday before the Veterans Affairs Committee regarding his legislation for a burn pit registry. Master Sgt. Jessey Baca, and his wife Maria, prompted Udall's work on this issue.

    3:52 - "This new registry would help the VA determine to what extent air pollution, caused by the burn pits, has led to medical diseases in veterans. It would also link veterans who are sick based on where they served overseas. The Bacas are the force behind this bill. I'll be testifying about their tireless work to track and trace all of the veterans who might be impacted. This bill is a critical step towards ensuring Jessey, and other veterans suffering from the same symptoms he is, get the care they need and deserve."

    4:33 - Udall answers a question on the Senate possibly holding hearings in response to intelligence leaks.

    5:55 - Udall fields a question on the extent of the military's current documentation of soldiers near burn pits.

    7:18 - Udall responds to a question on how service members will sign up for the burn pit registry.

    7:38 - "We're encouraging as wide a possible reach as we can here, so that we can really get all the information, so the Veterans' Administration can do the right thing when it comes to giving disability and treatment to these veterans. "

    8:54 - Udall fields a question on the effectiveness of the Agent Orange registry in providing awareness and assistance to those who experienced health problems.

    11:47 - Udall comments on a possible cybersecurity bill in the Senate.

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