VA will be processing PACT Act claims in January

The Department of Veterans Affairs is expected to start processing disability claims in January pursuant to the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden last summer.

“This law will help veterans facing toxic exposure, and surviving family members and friends,” said Army veteran Karl Williams. “It will also provide generations of veterans and their survivors the care and benefits they have earned and deserve. The PACT Act is a critical step towards fulfilling our nation’s obligation to care for our veterans.”

“Democrats successfully fought to get this legislation through Congress and to the president’s desk, in the face of dishonorable Republican obstruction,” said Lisa McCormick, a progressive activist in New Jersey. “Veterans and their family members can go to to find out more about these benefits.”

McCormick explained that Republicans scuttled the PACT Act last summer, because they were surprised when Senate Democrats announced a deal on environmental policies and health care that allowed them to add the Inflation Reduction Act to the FY2022 Budget Reconciliation bill.

In other words, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin struck a deal on a domestic spending package, so Republicans were outraged by Democratic efforts to govern that they threw a tantrum that would undermine veterans’ needs.

Veterans advocate Jon Stewart and veterans service organizations called out the 25 Republican senators who —after previously voting for the bill—changed their vote to vote against the PACT Act on July 27, 2022.

The bill previously passed the Senate by a large margin with a bipartisan vote of 84-14 but it was being reconsidered due to a technical error during initial passage but the cloture vote on the toxic exposure legislation failed by a vote of 55-42.

Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Senate blocked passage of the bill that will now expand health care coverage for military veterans who were exposed to toxins and burn pits during their service.

In his State of the Union address last year, Biden highlighted an issue that doesn’t generally get a lot national attention: U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan who were exposed to toxic smoke from burn pits. “These burn pits that incinerate waste — the wastes of war, medical and hazardous material, jet fuel, and so much more,” the president explained.

As a result, servicemen and women who breathed in fumes from these burn pits often return home and experience serious symptoms. There are concerns that prolonged exposure to burn pits might even be responsible for giving some veterans cancer. Indeed, it’s no secret that the Democrat believes toxic exposure may have contributed to the brain cancer that killed his son.

With this in mind, Biden called on Congress to approve a law “to make sure veterans devastated by toxic exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan finally get the benefits and the comprehensive healthcare they deserve.” The legislation, known as the Honoring Our PACT Act (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act), would expand treatment eligibility, and it has plenty of champions on Capitol Hill.

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