Tester, Takano Announce Coordinated Legislative Hearings on Bills to Address Military Toxic Exposure

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to host a legislative hearing on April 28th

Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairmen Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.) today are announcing coordinated, bicameral legislative hearings to consider more than 24 bills related to toxic exposure. These hearings follow the leaders’ commitment to addressing toxic exposure in the 117th Congress and building on previous legislative accomplishments including the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act and Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act.

In recent months, both Chairmen affirmed their plans to address military toxic exposures through a comprehensive and holistic approach in order to provide timely benefits and care to generations of exposed veterans. A Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs legislative hearing will be held on April 28th, followed by a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs legislative hearing on May 5th, to identify a path forward for outstanding toxic exposure issues.

“This year, Congress has an historic opportunity to look at the critical issue of toxic exposures that affect all generations of veterans and their families, and determine the best ways to address it,” said Chairman Tester. “While we were successful in bringing long-overdue relief to Vietnam-era veterans dealing with service-connected illnesses last Congress, we have a lot of urgent work ahead to provide health care and benefits to other veterans suffering from their exposure. These hearings are critical in helping Congress find common ground on toxic exposure issues and craft legislation that’ll best serve our nation’s veterans.”

“It is abundantly clear that we need to recognize toxic exposure as a cost of war,” said Chairman Takano. “Passing the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act was a major accomplishment, but it took more than 40 years—we cannot let another 40 years go by before we ensure all veterans exposed to toxic substances can access the care and benefits they’ve earned. I’m so pleased to announce that Senator Tester and I have agreed to hold coordinated legislative hearings in our respective chambers over the next two weeks. It is critical that we hear from experts and veteran stakeholders as we figure out the best way to care for all veterans who’ve been exposed to toxic substances—regardless of where or when they’ve served.”