FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2 August 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán’s (CA-44) released the following statement after the Senate passed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, and will head to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. This lifesaving legislation extends critical VA benefits to almost 3.5 million veterans across the country and recognizes toxic exposure as a cost of war that must be covered.
“After voting for the same exact bill just a month ago, Senate Republicans voted to give proper healthcare to veterans in the United States,” said Rep. Barragán. “While I am grateful that extended healthcare for our veterans is on the way, we must recognize Republicans in the Senate delayed this vote, putting political games over the health of millions of veterans. This bill should have been passed immediately. Now, our veterans can breathe easier as President Biden signs this lifesaving bill into law.”
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.
The Honoring our PACT Act is overwhelmingly supported by the veteran community, including Burn Pits 360 and 42 Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), such as Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), American Legion (TAL), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) and Minority Veterans of America (MVA).
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington. She serves as chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security, and on the House Energy and Commerce Health, Energy, and Environment & Climate Change Subcommittees.