Government and Politics
August 4, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) celebrated the Senate’s passage of historic legislation expanding access to care for veterans exposed to toxic substances in the line of duty. Championed by Democrats in both Chambers of Congress, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act overcame widely-condemned Republican obstruction and will now go to the President’s desk to be signed into law. This life-saving legislation extends critical VA benefits to as many as 3.5 million veterans across the country and will recognize toxic exposures as a cost of war that must be covered.
“America made a promise to care for our veterans when they come home, and I am committed to making good on that sacred obligation,” said Congressman Sherman. “While Senate Republicans chose to obstruct this legislation for political reasons, forcing sick veterans and their families and caregivers to wait even longer for health care, Democrats chose to put People Over Politics: protecting the health of those who fought to protect us. The Honoring our PACT Act will recognize exposure to toxins as a cost of war and extend hard-earned VA benefits to as many as 3.5 million American veterans who have been exposed to these dangerous substances, including toxic burn pits and Agent Orange.”
Recognizing the harms inflicted by exposure to burn pits and airborne hazards, the Honoring our PACT Act will enable as many as 3.5 million veterans to access critical health benefits. By codifying a presumption that Servicemembers stationed in certain theatres at particular times were exposed to toxic substances, this legislation will shift the burden of proof off of veterans and their loved ones and ease access to care for a broad array of conditions and cancers.
The Honoring our PACT Act will also streamline the VA’s process for establishing toxic exposure presumptions, ensuring that veterans do not have to wait decades for help. Additionally, this legislation will deliver justice for those exposed to contaminated drinking water while serving at Camp Lejeune, empowering Servicemembers and military families to seek long-delayed compensation.