Press Releases

Kuster Passes Legislation To Support Veterans Exposed to Toxins During Service

**The Honoring Our PACT Act will provide care to over 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans and create a presumption of service connection for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers**


Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) voted to pass the Honoring Our PACT Act, comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to finally recognize military toxic exposure — from contaminated water at military bases, airborne hazards from burn pits, agent orange in and beyond Vietnam, or radiation from atomic testing — and provide health care for as many as 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxins. The Honoring Our PACT Act builds on the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which Kuster helped introduce and pass last Congress to expand benefits to 90,000 Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their service in the coastal waters of Vietnam. 


“Our nation’s veterans make tremendous sacrifices to protect our country — it is our responsibility to ensure they have the high-quality care and services they need when they return home,” said Rep. Kuster. “I was proud to vote for this legislation and finally get it over the finish line to address the impact of toxic exposure on millions of veterans while wearing our nation’s uniform. I urge the president to quickly sign this long-overdue legislation into law and honor the sacrifice of toxic-exposed veterans. I will continue fighting to ensure no veteran is left behind.”


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

  • Expand VA health care eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans, which includes more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans;
  • Create a streamlined framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
  • Add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service-connected presumptive illnesses, including hypertension;
  • Expand coverage for illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure;
  • Include Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;
  • Strengthen federal research on toxic exposure;
  • Improve VA’s resources and training for toxic-exposed veterans; and
  • Set VA and veterans up for success by investing in:
    • VA claims processing;
    • Recruiting and retaining VA’s workforce; and
    • Expanding VA’s healthcare infrastructure via leases.


The full bill text of the Honoring Our PACT Act can be found here.


Kuster has been a strong advocate for Granite State service members, veterans, and their families throughout her career, and advocated on behalf of veterans exposed to toxic waste as a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee. This year, President Biden signed Rep. Kuster’s bipartisan legislation, the Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act, into law, finally granting the members of the top-secret WWII Ghost Army the long-overdue recognition they deserve.