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Blunt-Backed SFC Heath Robinson PACT Act Headed to President’s Desk

Includes Measure That Could Boost Missouri’s Role in VA Health-Related Research

August 02, 2022

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) voted in favor of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022, which passed the Senate by a vote of 86-11, and is now headed to the president’s desk.

“We know the damaging impact of toxic burn pits, and we know that toxic-exposed veterans may not develop an illness for several years after their time in the service. Today, the Senate took action to ensure these brave men and women receive the care and benefits they have earned,” said Blunt. “The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act expands VA health care eligibility to include millions of post-9/11 veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits. The PACT Act also expands the VA’s list of service presumptions to include more than 20 toxic exposure-related conditions and provide resources to the VA to help them better care for all generations of toxic-exposed veterans. This legislation could significantly boost Missouri’s role in developing new precision medicine therapies by providing resources for critical VA health-related research. I’m glad the Senate approved this legislation with strong, bipartisan support, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law.”

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022:

  • Expands VA health care eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans, which includes more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans;
  • Creates a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
  • Adds 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions, including hypertension;
  • Expands presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure;
    • Includes Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;
  • Strengthens federal research on toxic exposure;
  • Improves VA’s resources and training for toxic-exposed veterans; and
  • Sets VA and veterans up for success by investing in:
    • VA claims processing;
    • VA’s workforce; and
    • VA health care facilities.

The PACT Act also includes authorization for major medical leases, including leases for a facility for research in Columbia and outpatient clinics in Farmington, Kansas City, and Rolla. Blunt has long led efforts supporting a lease for a research facility in Columbia to establish a Department of Veterans Affairs partnership with public research universities to further the discovery and application of precision medicine therapies. The University of Missouri’s NextGen Precision Health Initiative will be eligible to compete for the lease.    

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