Backed by Senator Reverend Warnock, Bipartisan Bill to Help Georgia Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits, Chemical Toxins Passes Senate

Senator Reverend Warnock, a steadfast supporter of Georgia’s veterans, helped pass a bill to expand VA health care eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans; bill now one step closer to reaching President Biden’s desk 

The bipartisan Honoring Our PACT Act will expand VA health care for veterans affected by toxic exposure connected to their military service

ICYMI: Sen. Warnock sent a letter to VA Secretary McDonough demanding more information on the 10-month mail backlog at the Atlanta VA

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) voted in favor of bipartisan legislation to expand VA health care eligibility to 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxins while they were deployed abroad. The Honoring Our PACT Act, which passed the Senate 84-14 returns to the House, then heads to the White House; President Biden says he will sign it. The bill builds on Senator Warnock’s previous work to secure benefits for Georgia’s veterans by expanding VA health care for veterans affected by toxic exposure while serving.

The Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act will:

  • Expand VA health care eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans, which includes more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans;
  • Create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
  • Add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions, including hypertension;
  • Expand presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure;
  • Includes Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;
  • Strengthen federal research on toxic exposure;
  • Improve VA’s resources and training for toxic-exposed veterans; and
  • Set VA and veterans up for success by investing in VA claims processing, VA’s workforce, and VA health care facilities.

Click here to learn more about the Honoring Our PACT Act.

Senator Warnock has been laser-focused on improving services for Georgia’s veterans . Last month, Senator Warnock sent a letter to VA Secretary McDonough demanding more information on the 10-month mail backlog at the Atlanta VA. Over the summer, Senator Warnock led a bicameral letter to VA Secretary McDonough to address concerns with care for veterans in Atlanta, including delays in community care, problems with the phone system, delays in implementing recommendations by the internal Inspector General, and poor protection of whistleblowers. In September, Senator Warnock visited the Atlanta VA Medical Center and met with Director Ann Brown to receive an update on the concerns raised in his letter to Secretary McDonough.

A son of a veteran, Senator Warnock is committed to providing the best care for all veterans. Last year, Senator Warnock introduced and passed the Veterans Care Disparities Bill in the Senate, which will initiate a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study if there is a gap in care, disability assessment, and other VA policies to determine if veterans of color are treated differently than their white counterparts. Senator Warnock secured language in the Senate VA appropriations bill directing VA staff to have timely access to relevant guidelines, research and practice standards on topics related to pressure injury risk, prevention, and management. Additionally, Senator Warnock secured a multi-million-dollar grant for homeless veterans with Senator Ossoff that will support six organizations that serve local veterans. The Senator has also visited Tiny Homes for homeless veterans in Savannah and held a roundtable with veterans who’ve experienced homelessness.