Procedural Issue Delays Much-Needed Toxic Exposure Benefit Reforms

Procedural Issue Delays Much-Needed Toxic Exposure Benefit Reforms
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Despite a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate on June 16, a procedural issue has prevented the House from taking up the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.


The delay could put the bill in jeopardy as competing legislation clogs up a busy legislative calendar. MOAA has worked to keep the comprehensive reform bill on the radar, but lawmakers need to hear from their constituents to ensure the long-sought benefits aren’t delayed further.


[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Lawmakers to Vote for the Honoring Our PACT Act | Call Your Lawmakers Today]


The Senate bill includes a tax-related clause unrelated to specific toxic exposure benefit changes. This provision was not part of the original House bill, and because tax and revenue measures are required to originate in the House, the Senate must pass an amended version to take out the provision.


Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), an ardent supporter of the legislation and the chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, proposed a fix via unanimous consent, but Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) objected, citing funding concerns unrelated to the underlying procedural issue. This means the chamber must reconsider the updated legislation when senators return from recess the week of July 11.


While the 84-14 Senate vote on June 16 showed strong bipartisan support among legislators, and the House passed the original legislation by a 256-174 margin, the risk comes in the timing – the House will be in session for less than a full month between now and the election, and with competing priorities, it’s up to advocates like you and others you know to make sure both chambers move on this bill with deliberate speed.


MOAA and the dozens of other advocacy groups supporting this legislation have increased efforts on the Hill to rally support for the measure. Veterans who’ve waited decades for these earned benefits shouldn’t have to wait a day longer – call or write your lawmakers today and encourage them to support the Honoring Our PACT Act.


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About the Author

Cory Titus
Cory Titus

Titus separated from the Army in 2017 as a captain and is MOAA's Director of Veteran Benefits and Guard/Reserve Affairs. He is currently studying social entrepreneurship at George Mason University with a focus on improving military financial education.