Chairman Takano Statement on VA’s Move to Add 9 New Presumptions for Toxic-Exposed Veterans
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
WASHINGTON, D.C—Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif) made the following statement after Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough announced that VA will propose adding new presumptions for toxic-exposed veterans living with 9 rare respiratory cancers as a result of their service. Chairman Takano’s comprehensive Honoring our PACT Act includes these 9 conditions and will be considered on the House floor this week.
“Secretary McDonough’s announcement that VA will now accept claims for 9 presumptions related to rare cancers is a major victory for toxic-exposed veterans. These presumptions are included in my bipartisan Honoring our PACT Act, and I’m so pleased to see that Secretary McDonough agrees that they are needed immediately. However, this announcement alone will not comprehensively address the full gamut of issues facing toxic-exposed veterans. To do that, we need to pass the Honoring our PACT Act. In the past, even when the science is there, presumptions have not always been created—that’s why it should not be solely up to the Secretary to make those presumptions a reality. Congress must codify presumptions and a process for granting them that is regular, transparent, and ensures veterans are not held hostage to the whims of bureaucracy or presidential administrations. I look forward to passing the Honoring our PACT Act later this week to change that and ensure we fully recognize toxic exposure as a cost of war.”
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