WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s bill to name a Missouri post office in honor of Arla Harrell—a Missouri World War II veteran intentionally exposed to mustard gas by the U.S. military—was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today. McCaskill serves as the top-ranking Democrat on the Committee, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Postal Service.
“I’m glad to see this bill honoring Arla’s service to this country get one step closer to becoming law,” said McCaskill, the daughter of a World War II veteran. “I fought for years to give Arla the chance to hear his government say it believed him, and I’m going to keep working to get this bill across the finish line.”
McCaskill’s bill would rename the U.S. Postal Service office located in Macon, Mo. as the Arla W. Harrell Post Office. Mr. Harrell lived in Macon before he passed away earlier this year. Now that McCaskill’s bill has been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, it awaits a vote in the full Senate.
McCaskill’s previous advocacy on behalf of World War II veterans intentionally exposed to mustard gas by the U.S. military led to President Trump signing McCaskill’s Arla Harrell Act into law, which has already resulted in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) granting nearly $2 million in benefits to those World War II veterans.
Following an McCaskill’s investigative report that demonstrated the VA was denying roughly 90 percent of mustard gas claims between 2005 and 2015, McCaskill battled what she called a “decades-long record of ineptitude and failure” at the VA, enlisted the support of Republican and Democratic colleagues, and rallied veterans service organizations in support of her bill. She successfully pressured President Trump’s first VA Secretary David Shulkin in support of the legislation and met with President Trump’s second VA Secretary Robert Wilkie during his confirmation process to secure his commitment to swift implementation of the Arla Harrell Act.