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Senator Hassan & Colleagues' Historic Military Toxic Exposure Legislation Passes Senate

Package to Deliver Comprehensive Relief to All Generations of Veterans Exposed to Toxic Substances for the First Time in the Nation’s History; New Hampshire Veterans Service Organizations Applauded the Legislation’s Passage

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed comprehensive, bipartisan legislation that Senator Maggie Hassan and her colleagues developed 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, 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. 

“For too long, the VA has failed to provide the health care and benefits that veterans need because of their exposure to dangerous toxins during their service. I’m proud to have worked across the aisle on comprehensive legislation that will ensure that both now and in years to come, veterans will get the support that they need when they develop serious health conditions stemming from toxic exposure. Senate passage today brings us one step closer to delivering critical health care and benefits to veterans, and I urge my colleagues in the House to quickly pass this legislation,” said Senator Hassan.

New Hampshire Veterans Service Organizations applauded the passage of this important legislation.

"It is long past time for this legislation to pass. Veterans effected by toxic exposures should have a known course to follow to receive their earned benefits. We appreciate Senator Hassan’s leadership in passing this legislation in the Senate, and we urge its immediate passage in the House so that it can be signed into law,” said Leon Rideout, State Commander NH VFW.

“This comprehensive toxic exposure legislation will make a real difference in veterans’ lives now and for years to come. I am grateful for Senator Hassan’s bipartisan work to develop and pass this legislation through the Senate, and we are excited for it to pass the House and become law,” said Rick Borrazas, Commander, NH DAV.

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.