June 17, 2021

Chairman Takano Introduces the Bipartisan Honoring our PACT Act

Comprehensive legislation honors our pact to address military toxic exposure with wide VSO support

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink | 202.819.4684


WASHINGTON, D.C —Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) introduced his monumental Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021 or the Honoring our PACT Act with 25 original cosponsors—including all HVAC Democrats. This critical bipartisan legislation will finally address toxic exposure as a cost of war and is based off 15 proposals from Members on both sides of the aisle. Reps. Elaine Luria (D-Vir.), Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-Calif.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), David Trone (D-Mary.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Mike Levin (D-Calif.), Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Anthony G. Brown (D-Mary.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Vir.), Josh Harder (D-Calif.), Gregorio Sablan (D-NMI), Frank Mrvan (D-Ind.), Colin Allred (D-Tex.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.), Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), Conor Lamb (D-Penn.), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), and Lois Frankel (D-Fl.) joined as original cosponsors and 9 Veteran Service Organizations have come out in support the Honoring our PACT Act. See full bill text here and watch last month’s press conference with Jon Stewart and John Feal here.


“When we send our servicemembers into harm’s way, we do so with a promise to care for them when they come home, but for too long, we haven’t honored our end of the deal. That’s why I’m introducing the Honoring our PACT Act with 25 of my colleagues,” said Chairman Takano. “Our bill is the culmination of 15 proposals from Members on both sides of the aisle, and with wide VSO support, I’m confident that 2021 will be the year we pass comprehensive legislation. Caring for veterans exposed to toxic substances is more than another line item in the budget – it's the cost of war. I look forward to passing this bipartisan legislation to finally recognize that fact.”


The Honoring our PACT Act will:


  • Provide healthcare for potentially as many as 3.5 million veterans exposed to airborne hazards and burn pits
  • Streamline VA’s review process
  • Finally concede exposure to airborne hazards and burn pits
  • Require medical exams and opinions for veterans with toxic exposure disability claims
  • Establish a presumption of service connection for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers related to burn pits and airborne hazards exposure
  • Create a presumption of exposure to radiation
  • Expand Agent Orange exposure & add hypertension and MGUS to the list of presumptions
  • Require VA provide standardized training & conduct outreach
  • Improve data collection between VA & DOD and commission studies




Earlier this year, Chairman Takano announced that he will prioritize toxic exposure during the 117th Congress and committed to moving comprehensive legislation forward based off 15 bills that were discussed at the Committee’s legislative hearing. 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. Last month, Chairman Takano led a press conference with Jon Stewart, John Feal, and VSO leaders to unveil the Honoring our PACT Act, and nine VSOs have come out in support of the legislation. 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.