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Historic Veterans Toxic Exposure Legislation Supported by Senator Collins to be Signed into Law

Washington, D.C. – This evening, U.S. Senator Susan Collins voted in support of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. This legislation was negotiated by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT) – the ranking member and chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  The PACT Act overwhelmingly passed the Senate again by a vote of 86-11 and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.


“The brave men and women who have served in our military put themselves in harm’s way to defend our nation, and it is our responsibility to provide them with the highest quality health care for any illnesses linked to their military service,” said Senator Collins.  “For far too long, veterans exposed to toxic substances such as Agent Orange and burn pits during their deployments have not received the recognition or resources they needed.  This comprehensive legislation puts us on the path to fulfilling the enormous debt we owe these veterans by expanding critical research on toxic exposure and providing relief to toxic-exposed veterans who may be experiencing serious illnesses and debilitating symptoms.”


The PACT Act will ensure all generations of toxic-exposed veterans receive the health care and benefits to which they are entitled by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  


Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson deployed to Kosovo and Iraq with the Ohio National Guard. He died in 2020 from toxic exposure as a result of his military service. Among its many priorities, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 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;


  • 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 for toxic-exposed veterans and training for VA health care and benefits professionals; and


  • Set VA and veterans up for success by investing in:


    • VA claims processing;
    • VA’s workforce; and
    • VA health care facilities.