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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Veterans Across America Make Voices Heard on Toxic Exposures Legislation

June 06, 2022

President Biden believes we have a sacred obligation to support veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors, which is why supporting veterans is a foundational pillar of his Unity Agenda. Throughout his career, he has championed bipartisan legislation to deliver the benefits and health care services veterans have earned, including those impacted by toxic exposures. The PACT Act is a historic, comprehensive bill that will do just that.

As the Senate is slated to vote on the PACT Act next week, veterans across America have been making their voices heard about need for health care and benefits for veterans who are dealing with the harmful effects of toxic exposures that occurred during military service. The PACT Act would help advance President Biden's commitment to our veterans by expanding health care access and benefits for veterans and their survivors.

Here's what veterans are saying:

West Virginia

Charleston Gazette-Mail: We can't bill our troops for their suffering (Opinion)
For decades, Congress wrote blank checks to send our troops to war but didn't consider the cost to take care of our troops once they returned home. The practice of sending our young men and women off to war and leaving them to fend for themselves once they return must stop.

Thankfully, there is hope on the horizon. The Sergeant First Class Health Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, known also as the "PACT Act," is comprehensive legislation that will take care of generations of veterans, allowing them to finally receive the care and benefits they have earned. This legislation is the culmination of years worth of advocacy and is supported by 65 major veterans organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Senate must pass PACT Act for veterans
Each day, other veterans like me suffer from chronic illnesses and face devastating health prognoses as a result of toxic exposure during their time in service. These veterans must often fight a war on two fronts – one against the conditions that ravage their bodies and the other against the government as they try to obtain the health care and benefits they need. Many die before that ever happens…The PACT Act is the closest we have ever come to addressing this issue for our military veterans, and the bill has wide support. President Joe Biden said in April that, if comprehensive, bipartisan toxic exposure legislation comes to his desk, he will sign it immediately…We cannot waste this opportunity to achieve justice for toxic-exposed veterans. We must end this seemingly perpetual cycle in which veterans are first made ill in the line of duty and then forced to fight for the health care and benefits they so desperately need.

Iowa

Globe Gazette: Letter to the Editor: PACT Act
Since the Farwell family landed in New England in 1620, we've served in every major war…It took a move to Iowa and several years to obtain my 100% P&T Service-Connected PTSD Housebound Disabled Veteran and receive Medical Care and Compensation owed to me by law…The U.S. House passed the PACT Act to expand healthcare eligibility to 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxins…please join me in asking Sens. Grassley and Ernst to do the right thing and vote yes for the PACT Act in June.

Indiana

Indianapolis IndyStar: Senators can meet Lincoln's promise to veterans with Honoring Our Pact Act support
Any day now, the U.S. Senate will consider a bill that will be a life-changer for veterans that have been exposed to poisons of war. The Honoring Our Pact Act has passed the House of Representatives and has the bipartisan support of Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester, D-Montana, and Ranking Member Jerry Moran, R-Kansas…The Honoring Our PACT Act will provide health care for more than 3.5 million veterans who were exposed to contaminants as a result of burn pits during the Global War on Terror…

President Lincoln's promise – "To Care for Him Who Shall Have Borne the Battle" … Does Lincoln's promise define us as a country? That is a question that I am hoping Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun can answer on behalf of Hoosier veterans and the men and women across this country who have answered their nation's call.

Kentucky

Courier Journal: Sens. Paul and McConnell must support the PACT act for veterans exposed to toxic materials

The PACT Act is the closest we have ever come to addressing this issue for our military veterans. The bill has wide support, including from President Biden, the VA and more than 60 veteran and military service organizations like DAV, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Military Officers Association of America, and Wounded Warrior Project. Comedian and advocate Jon Stewart is also behind the PACT Act.

The Senate, including our own lawmakers in Kentucky— Sens. McConnell and Paul—must vote YES on the Honoring Our PACT Act.

There are nearly 300,000 veterans in Kentucky, each proud of their service. But many of them—from World War II to present day—have been placed in contact with extremely dangerous materials as part of their jobs in the military and now suffer the lifelong consequences of those exposures. We need the PACT Act to become law before our same fate befalls one more generation of our nation's veterans.

North Carolina

The Carolina Journal: I lost my daughter due to toxic water exposure -- I deserve my day in court
I dedicated my life to the Marine Corps. For almost 25 years, I served this country and trained thousands of recruits. I spent nearly 12 years at Camp Lejeune, where my youngest daughter Janey was conceived. For the entirety of her first trimester—a crucial period for development—Janey's mother unknowingly consumed water filled with known carcinogens such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE).

At age nine, Janey died of leukemia. Janey was the only of my four children conceived at Camp Lejeune, and we have no history of cancer in either family. Her suffering resulted directly from exposure to the toxic water on the base…Unfortunately, my story is not unique…

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, currently under review by the Senate and part of the Honoring our PACT Act, provides the wrongfully harmed citizens stationed or working at Camp Lejeune, along with their dependents, a genuine chance for justice. Without this legislation, no one will be held accountable for my daughter's death or the hundreds of thousands of dependents suffering health problems due to this exposure. They have no way of recouping a fraction of what they lost, or access to medical support, without having their day in court. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act will allow that to happen.

Joseph R. Biden, WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Veterans Across America Make Voices Heard on Toxic Exposures Legislation Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/356327

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