By MOAA Staff
After an unexpected delay caused by a procedural issue, a MOAA-backed bill set to provide health benefits to millions of toxic-exposed veterans has been put on course for quick passage.
By a 342-88 vote, the House on July 13 overwhelmingly passed a bill including the text of the Senate-passed Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act – bipartisan legislation expanding toxic exposure benefits and supporting the VA as it provides those benefits. The bill’s text overrode another Senate-passed bill under consideration by the House Rules Committee (S. 3373); this maneuver helped the House take the bill to the floor on very short notice.
The approach will also speed things up in the Senate, but final passage is not a done deal. The Senate passed the bill 84-14 last month (after the House passed the initial version 256-174), and MOAA and the dozens of other advocacy groups supporting the legislation will keep pressure on the chamber to keep this moving.
“We would like to thank all the House and Senate lawmakers and staff who worked tirelessly to overcome this procedural issue,” said Cory Titus, MOAA’s director of government relations for veteran benefits and Guard/Reserve affairs. “We’re grateful to see the bill moving forward and need to get this to the president’s desk as quickly as possible.”
The PACT Act will benefit 3.5 million veterans who currently do not have access to VA care and do not have their toxic-exposure related illness recognized by the VA. While this bill does a lot for burn pit-exposed veterans, this is a multi-generational bill helping veterans dating back decades, including those exposed to Agent Orange and other toxins. Learn more about the wide-ranging effort at this link and via this fact sheet from the office of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and a critical supporter of the legislation.
This comprehensive bill is backed by over 60 groups supporting our veterans and is a compilation of the needs these groups shared with Congress. Call or write your senators today and ask them to fast-track this legislation and get it to the president’s desk.
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