Representative Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), released the following statement after proudly voting in favor of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. This bill will allow veterans exposed to burn pits or other dangerous toxins during their service in our nation's military to receive the healthcare benefits they earned and are entitled to through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
"I am proud to support this bipartisan and bicameral bill that greatly improves on the well-intentioned but flawed version of the bill that passed earlier this year. From veterans who served in the Cold War cleaning up nuclear waste, to veterans who handled herbicides in the Vietnam War, and those exposed to burn pits in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, our nation has a solemn duty to ensure that every veteran who needs healthcare benefits because of their noble service gets the care they deserve," said Congressman Fleischmann.
"This bill represents the best of bipartisanship between the House and Senate. I am heartened that Congress could come together to pass a good bill that provides needed benefits to veterans and their families. We owe our freedoms to our nation's veterans and active-duty personnel, and I will always proudly support good legislation that helps our nation's and community's veterans."
Important provisions of the PACT Act include:
Permits the VA to immediately provide presumptive benefits to survivors and those veterans who are terminally ill, homeless, over the age of 85, experiencing extreme financial hardship, or able to show another emergent need.
Requires the VA to conduct outreach to any veteran who had previously filed a claim for benefits related to toxic exposure and were denied to ensure they are aware of the opportunity to refile.
Codifies the scientific framework that the VA is already using to provide benefits to toxic exposed veterans, better reflecting current practice and improving transparency.
Improves the VA's ability to recruit and retain staff to ensure that the VA has the capacity to expand care and benefits to toxic-exposed veterans without disrupting services or causing longer wait times for care and compensation.