May 05, 2021

At Legislative Hearing, Chairman Takano Announces Progress on Comprehensive Package to Recognize Toxic Exposure as a Cost of War

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Jenni Geurink | 202-819-4684

WASHINGTON, D.C — Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) announced progress on the Committee’s comprehensive legislative package to address toxic exposure at the full Committee legislative hearing. The Committee heard from Members, VSO leaders, and VA officials about 15 bills that align with the Committee’s efforts to comprehensively grant benefits and presumptions for all veterans exposed to toxic substances—regardless of where or when they served. You can watch the full hearing here and find all bill text here.


Earlier this year, Chairman Takano announced that he will prioritize toxic exposure during the 117th Congress and committed to moving comprehensive legislation forward jointly with Senator Tester. As part of this effort, the Committee has worked to raise awareness of the effects of toxic exposure and has spoken to many veterans living with the effects of toxic exposure like MSgt. Brian Graves & Lt. Col. (Ret.) Nate Brauner. All of these efforts build off the monumental passage of Chairman Takano’s Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act last Congress that finally granted benefits to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their service off the coast of Vietnam.


“I was proud to lead the effort last Congress to finally ensure our Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans got the benefits they earned, but forty years is far too long to wait,” said Chairman Takano. “Every day more and more veterans living with the effects of toxic substances come forward and share their heartbreaking stories—that’s why I made this a top priority this Congress and it’s why I’m so pleased to announce that the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is one step closer to having our comprehensive package ready to address toxic exposures. We cannot continue to tackle this topic one disability at a time and one exposure group at a time -- we need to reform and overhaul the process within VA so that the agency can provide support to veterans without the need for continued congressional intervention.  I want to thank all of my colleagues who testified today on their solutions and our experts and veterans stakeholders that provided much needed guidance. The 15 bills on the agenda today offer a blueprint for our comprehensive legislative package-- 2021 will be the year we pass comprehensive legislation that meets the needs of all veterans, current and future, who are exposed to toxics substances while serving our country.”


Full list of toxic exposure legislation here:


1. H.R. 2127, Toxic Exposure in the American Military Act (Rep. Bost)

2. H.R. 2368, COVENANT Act (Rep. Luria)- VIDEO

3. H.R. 2530, Enewetak Atoll Cleanup Radiation Study Act (Rep. Nehls)

4. H.R. 2742, PFAS Registry Act of 2021 (Rep. Pappas)

5. H.R. 2436, Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act of 2021 (Rep. Slotkin) - VIDEO

6. H.R. 2607, FASTER Presumptions Act (Rep. Trone) - VIDEO

7. H.R. 2372, Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act (Rep Ruiz) VIDEO

8. H.R. 2268, Keeping Our Promises Act (Rep. Westerman)

9. H.R. 1355, K2 Veterans Care Act of 2021 (Rep. Lynch)

10. H.R. 1273, Vietnam Veterans Liver Fluke Study Act (Rep. Zeldin)

11. H.R. 2825, Fort McClellan Health Registry Act (Rep. Tonko) - VIDEO

12. H.R. 2569, Veterans Agent Orange Exposure Equity Act (Rep. Cartwright) - VIDEO

13. H.R. 1585, Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act of 2021 (Rep. Meng)

14. H.R.1972, Fair Care for Vietnam Veterans Act of 2021 (Rep. Harder)

15. H.R. 2580, Palomares Veterans Act of 2021 (Rep. Hayes)