BREAKING: Tester’s Bipartisan Toxic Exposure Bill Passes Senate
Chairman urged quick passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act ahead of vote on Senate floor
The Senate today passed U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022—comprehensive legislation to deliver eras of toxic-exposed veterans their earned health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the first time in the nation’s history.
“The Senate took a historic step today to deliver all eras of veterans their earned support through passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act,” said Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “For hundreds of thousands of veterans, generations of our all-volunteer military and their families—this bill is putting us on a path to finally recognizing the toxic wounds of war. This bill is the legislation we envisioned when we set out to right the wrongs to our toxic-exposed veterans, and I’m grateful to Ranking Member Jerry Moran, our committee colleagues, Veterans Service Organizations, veterans’ advocates, and the Biden Administration for making this possible. Our men and women in uniform held up their end of the bargain, and I’m proud we’re holding up ours.”
The bill now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives where it must pass before heading to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Among its many priorities, this legislation will 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 service 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.
Last week, 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.