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Jun 7, 2022

Tester Calls on Senate to Pass His Bipartisan Toxic Exposure Legislation: ‘We are too close to fail’

On Senate floor, Chairman urged support for Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester took to the Senate floor today urging his colleagues to quickly pass his bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 ahead of consideration of the historic bill later this week. Following Tester's remarks, the bill cleared the Senate's first procedural vote 86-12. A final vote will occur in the coming days.

"Generation after generation, war after war, servicemembers have returned home only to face yet another battle here at home when seeking the care and the benefits they desperately need," said Chairman Tester. "Because Washington has been unwilling, simply unwilling, to give the Department of Veterans Affairs the tools to take care of our veterans. Our men and women in uniform answered the call of duty. They held up their end of the bargain. So we need to hold up ours."

He continued, "Right now, veterans across this country are the ones paying for that cost of war-and they can't any longer. No more empty promises. We've got a unique opportunity to make history with this comprehensive toxic exposure package that'll recognize our veterans' service and their sacrifice. We are too close to fail."

Earlier in the day, Tester held a bipartisan press conference alongside Ranking Member Jerry Moran, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich, John Boozman, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), the Robinson family, and veterans advocates Jon Stewart and John Feal to underscore the need to pass this comprehensive, bipartisan package.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 will deliver all eras of toxic-exposed veterans their earned health care and benefits under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the first time in the nation's history. Among its many priorities, the legislation would expand health care for Post-9/11 combat veterans, create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure, expand VA's list of presumptions, and improve resources to support VA's claims processing.

Tester is the only member of the Montana delegation who sits on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. He has long been dedicated to identifying a path forward for unaddressed toxic exposure issues alongside VSOs-remaining committed to delivering comprehensive relief to all generations of toxic-exposed veterans. Last month, he announced a bipartisan agreement on the comprehensive bill and expressed urgency that a Senate floor vote take place swiftly.

Watch Tester's press conference remarks HERE.

 

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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