Statement of Administration Policy: Senate Substitute Amendment to H.R. 3967 - Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
(Senator Tester, D-MT and Senator Moran, R-KS)
The Administration strongly supports the bipartisan Senate Substitute Amendment to H.R. 3967, which would expand veterans' access to health care and benefits to address the health effects of harmful environmental exposures that occurred during military service.
The President believes that our Nation has one truly sacred obligation: to properly train and equip our service members when we send them into harm's way and to care for them and their families when they return home. Additionally, he has set bold goals to drastically decrease the death rate by cancer and to better care for patients, including veterans, as part of his moonshot to end cancer as we know it. Far too often, military service comes with a cost, and we owe it to our veterans and their families to address these consequences comprehensively. Unfortunately, it has taken decades to understand the deleterious effects of harmful environmental exposures—leaving too many veterans without the benefits and services they need and deserve. H.R. 3967 represents one of the most significant and substantive expansions of benefits and services in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA's) history.
H.R. 3967 would make changes to the definitions for who is eligible for VA health care based on presumed harmful exposure during military service, including from burn pits, radiation, or other harmful environmental conditions. It would extend the period of eligibility for VA health care for certain veterans of combat service. H.R. 3967 would also make changes to the process for determining future presumptive service connection and mandate several research studies related to military related environmental exposures. The bill would establish a presumption of service connection for veterans who served in certain locations and create a presumption of service connection for specific medical conditions. H.R. 3967 would establish training requirements for health providers and require a publication of VA resources to educate veterans about their eligibility for benefits and services related to toxic exposure. The bill would also modernize the agency's use of scientific evidence to assess environmental health effects.
America's veterans are the best of us. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to swiftly enact this legislation and ensuring it is effectively resourced and implemented. We must address the legacy of harmful environmental exposures sustained by veterans during their military service and fulfill our sacred obligation to our veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors. H.R. 3967 delivers on that promise.
Joseph R. Biden, Statement of Administration Policy: Senate Substitute Amendment to H.R. 3967 - Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/357928