Press Release

Cuellar Votes in Favor of Bipartisan PACT Act to Support Veterans Exposed to Toxic Substances

Washington | Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary (202-340-9148), July 14, 2022

Washington, DC—U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) released the below statement following the Congressional passage of the bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022:

“The passage of the bipartisan PACT Act is a crucial step forward to ensure that our veterans have access to health care services—many of which are currently unavailable for soldiers recovering from post 9/11 wartime toxic exposures,” said Congressman Cuellar. “I have always supported our veterans and look forward to President Biden signing this bill into law expeditiously. Thank you to my colleagues, across both chambers and parties, for prioritizing our service members. ”

The PACT Act opens up access to VA health care to 3.5 million post 9/11 combat veterans potentially exposed to deadly toxins. It is historic legislation that will deliver all generations of toxic-exposed veterans their long-overdue VA health care and benefits.

Among other requirements, the VA must:

  • provide a veteran with a medical examination regarding the nexus between a disability and toxic exposure risk activity if a veteran submits a disability compensation claim for a service-connected disability with insufficient evidence,
  • incorporate a clinical questionnaire to help determine potential toxic exposures as part of the initial screening conducted for veterans with a VA primary care provider, and
  • establish a registry for current or past members of the Armed Forces who may have been exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances due to the environmental release of aqueous film-forming foam at a Department of Defense location.

 A summary of the bill can be found here.