June 16, 2022
Senate Passes Manchin Backed Bill To Provide Healthcare and Benefits for Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC), voted for the bipartisan Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 to provide Veterans exposed to burn pits during their military service with the healthcare and benefits they deserve. The legislation passed 84-14.
“Many of our brave Veterans in West Virginia and across America who were exposed to open-air burn pits in the Middle East and other areas during their service are now facing health complications without healthcare coverage and benefits,” said Senator Manchin. “We must be willing to pay the cost of war from beginning to end, and the PACT Act will ensure our Veterans are cared for once they return home. I’m proud to vote for this comprehensive, bipartisan bill to provide our Veterans with the healthcare and benefits they earned and deserve and look forward to the House of Representatives passing this critical legislation and President Biden signing it into law soon.”
The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 will:
- Expand VA healthcare 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;
- VA health care facilities.
A timeline of Senator Manchin’s recent efforts to address burn pit exposure recognition:
- On June 7, 2022, Senator Manchin voted to move the PACT Act forward on the Senate Floor.
- On March 30, 2022, Senator Manchin questioned VA Secretary on the potential impact of the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021 (PACT Act) on Veterans and VA operations.
- On February 17, 2022, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Senator Manchin’s Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act, which provides healthcare for Veterans exposed to burn pits during deployments to the Middle East and Afghanistan.
- On February 3, 2022, Senator Manchin applauded the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee passage of his Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act, which provides healthcare for Veterans exposed to burn pits during deployments to the Middle East and Afghanistan.
- On March 11, 2021, Senator Manchin discussed the need for the Senate to pass his bipartisan Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act during a Senate Veterans Affair Committee hearing on military toxic exposures.
- On March 3, 2021, Senator Manchin spoke with Mr. Stephen Whitehead, National Commander of the Disabled Veterans of America (DAV) about his bipartisan Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act during a joint hearing of the House of Representatives and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees.
- On February 27, 2021, Senator Manchin reintroduced the Veterans Burn Pit Exposure Recognition Act, which will address a barrier currently preventing many Veterans from getting U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare and benefits for illnesses and diseases related to exposure to burn pits. The bill would recognize and concede their exposure during deployed service.
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