June 24, 2021

Chairman Takano’s Bipartisan Honoring our PACT Act Passes through Committee

Comprehensive legislation will address military toxic exposure

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink| 202.819.4684

WASHINGTON, D.C —Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) made the following statement after his landmark legislation, H.R. 3967, the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021 or the Honoring our PACT Act passed in the Full Committee MarkupWith 25 original cosponsors—including all HVAC Democrats-- and the support of 9 Veteran Service Organizations, this critical bipartisan legislation will comprehensively address toxic exposure. Watch Chairman Takano’s opening remarks here and see full bill text here.

 mt - markup

“From my very first day in Congress, I have been fighting to ensure veterans exposed to toxic substances get the care and benefits they’ve earned,” said Chairman Takano. “Passing the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act last Congress was a major accomplishment, but for too many veterans, help came too late or not at all. Today our Committee passed the bipartisan Honoring our PACT Act taking us one step closer towards finally recognizing toxic exposure as a cost of war. With the support of 25 of my colleagues and 9 VSOs, we have a unique opportunity to honor the pact we make when we send our servicemembers into harm’s way. Together, by working with our Senate colleagues and the Biden Administration, we can make good on our promise to care for our servicemembers—and pay for that care—when they come home. This is the right thing to do, and I will do everything I can to turn this bipartisan legislation into law.”


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 Actlast Congress that finally granted benefits to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their service off the coast of Vietnam.