Luján Votes to Pass Toxic Exposure Legislation, Deliver Health Benefits for Veterans

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) applauded the Senate passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act – bipartisan legislation to support veterans exposed to toxic substances and burn pits during military service and the most significant expansion of veteran health care in decades. Whether they served during Vietnam, the Gulf War, or post-9/11, American service members have been exposed to toxic smoke, burn pits, and Agent Orange, but were unable to get the care they needed.

“The passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act is the most significant expansion of health care for our nation’s veterans in decades. Toxic exposure in military services has been too common and too widespread, yet left unaddressed, for decades. That is unacceptable for our veterans who put their lives on the line to protect American values,” said Luján. “Veterans cannot – and should not – have to wait any longer to receive the benefits they have earned and rightfully deserve. I appreciate the resolute determination of Congress to get this bill passed, and we must get this legislation to President Biden’s desk as soon as possible.”

The Honoring Our PACT Act will:

  • Ensure all generations of toxic-exposed veterans are eligible for VA health care;
  • Give presumptions of service connection to airborne toxins connected with burn pits and Agent Orange exposure;
  • Reform how VA considers new presumptions of toxic exposures in the future so veterans don’t have to wait on Congress;
  • Expand VA health care to more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed and post 9/11 combat veterans, add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to the VA’s presumption list, and invest in the VA’s workforce and medical care facilities to better improve care for veterans across the country;
  • Make care more accessible by establishing 31 new VA health care facilities across 19 states.



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