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Senate passes historic bipartisan toxic exposure legislation

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    Senate passes historic bipartisan toxic exposure legislation

    On June 16, with a vote of 84-14, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 (H.R. 3967). The bill, which amends legislation previously passed in the U.S. House, would provide $278 billion over the next ten years to expand U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and disability benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service.

    The Senate bill costs about $43 billion less than the House-passed measure due to provisions that phase-in implementation of some benefits and create savings by shifting certain medical tests and check-ups to community care programs. The Senate also added billions in funding for additional VA staff in medical offices and benefits processing centers, and new health care facility leases.

    Due to these changes, the House must now pass the legislation before it heads to the President’s desk for a signature.

    The National Association of Counties (NACo) has been working with lawmakers and the administration to pass bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to address veterans’ toxic exposure issues. Counties are deeply invested in veterans’ health and well-being, often serving as a veteran’s first point of contact in the community for accessing services, and in 29 states we fund County Veteran Service Officers (CVSOs) who are responsible for helping veterans obtain more than $80 billion annually in federal health, disability, pension and compensation benefits.

    While the passage of the PACT Act will benefit county health systems and our many veteran residents, the Senate bill removed funding for states to increase resources for CVSOs, many of whom will be responsible for processing the millions of new claims expected to arise from the bill’s implementation. Counties urge Congress to swiftly pass the Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach (CVSO) Act to ensure CVSOs can meet growing caseloads and ensure veterans receive the care they need.

    Find the full text of the PACT Act here. A one-pager on the bill can also be found here.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

    • NACo Blog: VA launches $20 million innovation challenge to reduce veteran suicide
    • NACo Blog: VA establishes presumptive service connection for nine respiratory cancers
    • NACo Blog: U.S. House passes legislation to fund County Veterans Service Officers, address toxic exposure

     

     

    The bill, which amends legislation previously passed in the U.S. House, would provide $278 billion over the next ten years to expand U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care and disability benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service.
    2022-06-16
    Blog
    2022-06-17
U.S. Senate passes bill to provide toxic-exposed veterans earned health care and benefits Counties strongly support expanding VA benefits for our veteran residents

On June 16, with a vote of 84-14, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 (H.R. 3967). The bill, which amends legislation previously passed in the U.S. House, would provide $278 billion over the next ten years to expand U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and disability benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service.

The Senate bill costs about $43 billion less than the House-passed measure due to provisions that phase-in implementation of some benefits and create savings by shifting certain medical tests and check-ups to community care programs. The Senate also added billions in funding for additional VA staff in medical offices and benefits processing centers, and new health care facility leases.

Due to these changes, the House must now pass the legislation before it heads to the President’s desk for a signature.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has been working with lawmakers and the administration to pass bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to address veterans’ toxic exposure issues. Counties are deeply invested in veterans’ health and well-being, often serving as a veteran’s first point of contact in the community for accessing services, and in 29 states we fund County Veteran Service Officers (CVSOs) who are responsible for helping veterans obtain more than $80 billion annually in federal health, disability, pension and compensation benefits.

While the passage of the PACT Act will benefit county health systems and our many veteran residents, the Senate bill removed funding for states to increase resources for CVSOs, many of whom will be responsible for processing the millions of new claims expected to arise from the bill’s implementation. Counties urge Congress to swiftly pass the Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach (CVSO) Act to ensure CVSOs can meet growing caseloads and ensure veterans receive the care they need.

Find the full text of the PACT Act here. A one-pager on the bill can also be found here.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES