WASHINGTON — Today, the Senate passed the Honoring Our PACT Act, a bill that honors our commitment to veterans by studying and treating the afflictions caused by burn pits and toxic exposure. This is a significant first step in supporting an estimated 3.5 million veterans who face life-threatening health complications due to burn pit exposure.
“When I served in Iraq, I put my life on the line every single day. I knew joining the Army during a time of war was dangerous, yet I was willing to make that sacrifice for my country. Like me, my fellow service members understood the risks of combat, but nobody told us about the risk of debilitating disease and health issues from burn pits or toxic exposure. Today, after years of VA claim rejections and health complications, the more than three million service members deployed to areas with burn pits are finally beginning to receive the support they need as they deal with the consequences of toxic exposure.
“To all the Senators who voted in support of this legislation, we thank you for honoring your commitment to veterans. It took nearly 30 years to understand the damage done to soldier’s health from Agent Orange, and veterans have fought tooth and nail for years to try to have their claims acknowledged by the Department of Veterans Affairs, let alone access the care they need. After the Vietnam War, America failed our veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange by waiting so long to provide care; we cannot fail our Post-9/11 veterans in the same way. Veterans deserve better, and today’s vote is a major step in the right direction.
“We look forward to continuing to work with our Senators to build on today’s win. We must also ensure that not only are current and future service members, veterans, and their families protected from toxins that destroy their health, both here at home and abroad, but so are the civilian populations and everyone has a chance to lead long, healthy lives.”