Last week we welcomed Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough to Colorado to celebrate the passage of our bipartisan PACT Act, which is the largest expansion of VA benefits in our nation’s history. The law will help ensure veterans suffering from the effects of toxic exposure get the health care they deserve.
During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, burn pits were commonly used by the military for open-air disposal of nearly all waste – including plastic, medical supplies, and chemicals. The resulting smoke has been linked to a variety of cancers and terminal illnesses in service members. But for years, veterans have been denied coverage for medical conditions thought to be associated with burn pits.
The PACT Act changes that. It will dramatically expand VA health care eligibility, fund federal research on toxic exposure, and improve other resources and training for veterans who were exposed to toxins in the line of duty.
That’s not all we’re doing to keep our promise to our veterans. I was proud to stand next to President Biden as he recently signed nine other bipartisan bills honoring veterans and compensating workers who were exposed to harmful radiation while serving our country, including two we co-sponsored.
Colorado is home to over 400,000 veterans, including 70,000 who served in post-9/11 wars. These brave men and women sacrificed so much for us. We owe them the high-quality health care they rightfully earned.
Until next time,
Senator John Hickenlooper