April 02, 2021

Chairman Takano Praises Introduction of Chair Luria’s COVENANT Act

Comprehensive bill grants benefits, presumptions for veterans exposed to toxic substances - demonstrates commitment by Committee to address toxic exposures

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Miguel Salazar | 202-779-1486

WASHINGTON, D.C — Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) praised the introduction of the Conceding Our Veterans’ Exposure Now and Necessitating Training or COVENANT Act by Subcommittee on Disability Assistance & Memorial Affairs Chair Elaine Luria (D-Vir.) as part of the Committee’s continued effort to prioritize the issue of toxic exposures. The COVENANT Act would ensures veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their service in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, East Africa, and the Philippines can access VA benefits. 


“It is abundantly clear that we need to do more for our veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances during their service—regardless of where or when they served,” said Chairman Takano. “Earlier this year, I made addressing toxic exposure a top priority for this Congress, and I am so pleased to support Chair Luria’s comprehensive COVENANT Act as part of this effort. Recognizing toxic exposure as a cost of war not only restores veterans’ trust in VA, but reassures future generations that should they answer the call to serve, VA will always be there to care for them.”


“This legislation is going to secure benefits for thousands of veterans who have sacrificed for their country only to be denied what they deserve,” said Congresswoman Luria. “People like Brian Graves, a veteran from Virginia Beach, who served in Iraq and is living with toxic exposure, deserve to have a VA that is responsive to their needs and a Congress that will prioritize their health care.” 


Background: Earlier this year, Chairman Takano announced that he will prioritize toxic exposure during the 117thCongress and committed to moving comprehensive legislation forward. As part of this effort, the Committee has worked to educate about the effects of toxic exposure and has spoken to several veterans living with the effects of toxic exposure like MSgt. Brian Graves & Lt. Col. (Ret.) Nate Brauner, constituents of Rep. Luria. Last Congress, Chairman Takano led the effort to finally pass the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act into law—finally granting benefits to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their service off the coast of Vietnam.