The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (the PACT act), which I discussed last week, as well as in February and May, has finally passed in the Senate, on August 2, 2022, and will go before the President to be signed into law. It is expected that the Act will be signed soon as President Biden has long stated that he believes his son Beau’s death from brain cancer was due to exposure from burn pits used during the Iraq War.
The PACT Act is a comprehensive legislation that addresses not just burn pit toxin exposed Veterans, but also adds presumptive conditions to herbicide exposed Veterans. The PACT Act would add 23 cancers and respiratory illnesses caused by exposure to burn pits to the list of conditions that would qualify veterans for VA benefits and health care. Additionally, it expands the list of locations where there is an acknowledged presence of herbicides, as well as a new presumptive condition.
Further, since its initial draft, significant legislation has been added to the PACT Act – the Camp LeJeune Justice Act, which would allow soldiers stationed at the base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 to sue the government for damages after exposure to toxic substances in the water. Almost one million people lived and worked at the base between 1953 and 1987, and a study found that people staying in Camp Lejeune had significantly higher mortality rates for several forms of cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and other conditions.
It has been opined that as many as one in every five veterans living in America today could directly benefit from the new legislation.
The PACT Act has been through several changes. It is a combination of different bills from both the House and the Senate. The Act has had strong bipartisan support, with cost being the only concern. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, who worked closely with Sen. Tester, D-Mont. to craft the bill stated: “There’s absolutely no reason that this bill should be a Republican bill or a Democrat bill. It should just be a bill passed by the United States Senate.”
Gardberg and Kemmerly is open for calls and online assistance and will continue to help our Veterans in any way possible, including staying up to date on pending legislation like the PACT Act. If you have a claim for disability and need assistance, please call our office and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call the office at 251-343-1111 or 800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama.