Chairman Takano’s Honoring our PACT Act signed into law
Miguel R. Salazar (202) 779-1486
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released the following statement after President Biden signed the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act or Honoring our PACT Act – the largest expansion of veterans' benefits in decades – into law.
“At his State of the Union Address, President Biden called on Congress to send him a comprehensive bill to address the effects of toxic exposure for all current and future veterans. Congress answered that call and with the stroke of a pen, President Biden signed my Honoring our PACT Act into law. America’s veterans have demanded action for years, and today, we lived up to the pact we made with them when we sent them into harm’s way.
“Tonight, over 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans will sleep easier knowing that the United States is finally recognizing their health conditions as a cost of war. Tonight, people who are thinking of serving will be reassured knowing that the United States will care for them, and pay for that care, when they come home. Tonight, families of toxic-exposed veterans can spend precious time with each other instead of fighting VA for their loved ones’ care.
“Shortly after he was sworn in, I met with the President to talk about our shared priorities for veterans and – upon learning of my goal to pass comprehensive legislation to help toxic-exposed veterans – he leaned over to me and spoke of his son, Beau, who served near burn pits in Iraq and Kosovo. At that moment, I knew I had a partner in President Biden. I cannot thank him enough for throwing his support behind this effort and placing those who have served our country – and those who will choose to serve our country in the future – at the center of his Unity Agenda.
“I’m also thinking of toxic-exposed veterans like Wesley Black, Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas, Heath Robinson, and Jennifer Kepner. These veterans devoted what remained of their lives to their fellow brothers and sisters in arms also living with the effects of toxic exposure. They shared their deeply personal stories about the effects they were suffering as a result of their toxic exposure with the world. We are grateful for their stories and are indebted to them for their service and advocacy.
“This bill would also not have been possible without the support of over 40 Veteran Service Organizations for their input and advocacy of the Honoring our PACT Act. Each of these organizations understand that toxic-exposed veterans are still in the heat of battle. I also want to thank my staff who worked tirelessly to listen and engage with toxic-exposed veterans, advocates, and stakeholders. They spent countless hours getting this bill right. I want to thank Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Hoyer for always being tireless advocates for veterans. I want to also thank Senate Majority Leader Schumer for his work with Senators Tester and Moran and the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to pass this bill. I also thank Jon Stewart and John Feal for their tireless advocacy.
“And, most importantly, to the families of veterans who tragically lost their lives as a result of being exposed to toxic substances during their time in service – thank you for your sacrifices.”
Background: The Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act Of 2021 or Honoring Our PACT Act is legislation authored by Chairman Mark Takano that will finally treat toxic exposure as a cost of war by addressing the full range of issues impacting toxic-exposed veterans including access to earned benefits and healthcare through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Chairman Takano’s legislation first passed the House earlier this year with a bipartisan vote of 256-174, a Senate vote of 84 to 14, a second House vote of 342 to 88, and a second Senate vote of 86-11. It has the strong support of 42 Veterans Service Organizations, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, the Biden-Harris Administration, and advocates Jon Stewart and John Feal.
Next Article Previous Article