Government and Politics
August 10, 2022
WASHINGTON – President Biden signed into law Senator Maggie Hassan and colleagues’ historic, bipartisan military toxic exposure legislation that will deliver to all generations of veterans exposed to toxic substances the VA health care and benefits that they need. Later today, Senator Hassan will also discuss her work on the package and the impact it will have with New Hampshire veterans and representatives of New Hampshire Veterans Service Organizations.
For more than a year, Senator Hassan and fellow members of the Senate and House veterans committees worked together with the VA and Veterans Service Organizations, resulting in the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. The legislation includes provisions from the Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Act that Senators Hassan and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced more than a year ago and continued to push for throughout negotiations.
“This law is a victory for the many veterans exposed to toxic substances who have waited too long to receive the health care and benefits that they have earned and deserve,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bipartisan toxic exposure law takes meaningful, significant steps forward in transforming how the VA addresses toxic exposure, and I look forward to talking with New Hampshire veterans later today about the difference that this law will make in their lives. I was proud to work across the aisle to get our law across the finish line, and look forward to continuing to work with the VA as it implements our law.”
Among its many priorities, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 that Senator Hassan and colleagues developed will:
-Expand VA health care eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans, which includes more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans;
-Create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
-Add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions, including hypertension;
-Expand presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure;
-Includes Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;
-Strengthen federal research on toxic exposure;
-Improve VA’s resources and training for toxic-exposed veterans; and
-Set VA and veterans up for success by investing in:
-VA claims processing;
-VA’s workforce; and
-VA health care facilities.