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Senator Hassan Applauds Bipartisan Agreement on Historic Toxic Exposure Legislation

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Reaches Agreement on Legislative Package to Deliver Comprehensive Relief to All Generations of Veterans Exposed to Toxic Substances for the First Time in the Nation’s History

WASHINGTON – The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which Senator Maggie Hassan serves on, announced a bipartisan agreement on comprehensive legislation to deliver to all generations of veterans exposed to toxic substances the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and benefits that they need.

 

For more than a year, members of the Senate and House veterans committees worked together with the VA and Veterans Service Organizations, resulting in the agreement—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.  

 

“Veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service can experience debilitating consequences that fundamentally alter their lives, but the VA has not gotten these veterans the health care or benefits that they need and have earned,” said Senator Hassan. “After sacrificing so much for our country, our veterans deserve support as they grapple with the long-lasting impacts of toxic exposure, and this legislative package will take historic steps to getting them health care and benefits. I will continue to work with my colleagues to get this bipartisan legislation passed into law.”

 

Among its many priorities, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 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.

 

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