I write with great news. The President has just signed into law the bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. The PACT Act is named after Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson, who died in 2020 from exposure to toxins during his military service. By expanding access to important health care resources and making investments at the VA to help provide that care, this law promises to meet critical needs within our veteran community.
Without getting too far into the nuts and bolts, the law specifically provides for the expansion of VA health care to 3.5 million combat veterans, adds burn pit and toxic-exposure related conditions to the VA’s list of service presumptions, strengthens federal research on toxic exposure, and allocates funds to build-out 31 new major medical facilities – including one right here in Virginia – that will help us to more consistently provide veterans with the timely and quality care that they deserve.
What we are doing here is simple: taking care of those who have taken care of this nation. We must continue working to ensure that our service members are backed by a country that is ready, willing, and able to properly support them when they are done with their service. That’s why I’m proud to have cosponsored legislation that expanded VA coverage to veterans exposed to herbicide and voted to expand the list of medical conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure. I’ve also worked with the VA to address extended wait times for critical services in Hampton Roads and championed legislation that expanded veterans’ access to mental health services.
This nation is forever grateful for the work that is done by the members of our military and I’m so excited that today we get to share a token of our gratitude through our passage of the PACT Act. I’m disappointed that this bill faced partisan delays, but I was proud to champion it every step of the way, and I’m so glad it is now officially law.
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