March 07, 2024

Ranking Member Takano Applauds President Biden Highlighting Honoring our PACT Act in State of the Union

Press Contact

Libby Carlson

WASHINGTON, DC – House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (CA-39) released the following statement after President Joe Biden gave his annual State of the Union Address, where he talked about the ongoing success of the Ranking Member’s Honoring our PACT Act, that treats 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:

“I was very glad but not surprised to hear President Biden mention the success of my Honoring our PACT Act during his address. This landmark legislation, the largest expansion of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits in a generation, has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of veterans and their survivors. As the President said tonight, we have one truly sacred obligation to take care of veterans when they come home. These are benefits and healthcare that veterans have earned and now finally can receive. 

I was honored to bring an Inland Empire veteran as my guest to the State of the Union. Juan Carlos Lopez-Mendoza served as an Airborne Infantryman during the early 1990s. He originally dismissed health issues related to his service, but eventually sought care thanks to being enrolled in the Affordable Care Act exchange.   

His doctor told him about the care he could receive at VA, thanks to his service to our country. Before the Honoring our PACT Act, Juan had a 30% disability rating. After completing a toxic-exposure screening and applying for PACT Act benefits, Juan is now rated at 100%, which has made a significant change in his life.    

I hope veterans and their families heard President Biden speak tonight about the PACT Act and our sacred obligation to them. It’s not too late to apply for benefits. Also, it was announced earlier this week that VA has accelerated enrollment for veterans who were potentially exposed to toxins during their service, here or abroad, without having to first file a disability claim. We want to make sure that if or when these illnesses occur, veterans have access to great VA healthcare.”