Historic victory for toxic-exposed veterans
The Senate just passed the SFC Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act, historic bipartisan legislation that will finally deliver critical VA health benefits to veterans who were exposed to toxins during their service. Right after the vote, I joined veterans and their families in front of the Capitol to talk about the importance of this bill.
VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich speaks about the SFC Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act after it passed in the U.S. Senate, June 16, 2022.
When veterans return home from war, they often come back with wounds. Some of these wounds are visible, but others, especially those related to exposure to toxins during their service, are hidden. When I think about this issue, I remember my father, who was exposed to nuclear weapons tests during his service in the Navy in the 1950s and whose health suffered later in life as a result. I also recognize countless veterans and their families who have been fighting for far too long to achieve this overdue recognition and to deliver treatment for toxic exposure conditions.
The Honoring Our PACT Act will expand VA health care for more than 3,500,000 toxic-exposed and Post-9/11 combat veterans. It will add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to the VA’s presumption list and provide every veteran with a toxic exposure screening during their routine VA medical appointments. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee that oversees funding for the VA, I worked hard to ensure these new and necessary benefits will not be funded at the expense of any other critical VA benefits and priorities.
When President Biden signs this bill into law very soon, it will mark a historic step toward making good on our promise to provide veterans with full health care benefits and treatment for health conditions stemming from their service.
United States Senator