Lawmakers recently gathered to address toxic exposure related to military service and a bill regarding how veterans exposed to toxic substances receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) care and benefits.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) led the bipartisan roundtable discussion hosted by Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jerry Moran (R-KS) on Toxic Exposures During Military Service: The Way Forward, noting the effort as included leaders from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Academies of Sciences and
veterans service organizations.
“Veterans exposed to toxins is a very personal issue for me since my wife’s uncle died of exposure to Agent Orange,” Tillis said. “And I have been working since the day I was sworn in to ensure we don’t repeat the decades-long mistakes that resulted in lost time and a lack of care for Vietnam War veterans and service members and military families at Camp Lejeune.”
Tillis said the nation faces another crisis with toxic exposure from burn pits in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
“Ensuring veterans have timely access to benefits, and quality health care has always been a top priority of mine,” Moran said. “However, veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances during the course of military service have faced barriers to get the VA care and service they deserve – the burden of proof is significant, and we must find a way to bridge the gap.”