(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester took to the floor today to urge his colleagues to quickly pass his bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 ahead of its final consideration by the Senate this week.
“Let me be clear—this bill isn’t about Democrats versus Republicans. It’s not about political posturing. It’s about Americans standing up for those who have served and sacrificed on behalf of this country and the freedoms we have today,” said Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “In fact, it’s even more than that. It’s about righting a wrong that has been ignored for too damn long.”
“This body has a chance to do the right thing by their families and future generations of our all-volunteer military by advancing the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act,” he continued. “If we do what Senator Moran and I have done—and that is put politics aside—if we put our American men and women's bravest first, if we can begin settling our debts to millions of other veterans and their families by getting this bill across the finish line, we’ll have done something great.”
Named after Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson who died in 2020 from toxic exposure as a result of his military service, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 is comprehensive legislation championed by Senator Tester to deliver eras of toxic-exposed veterans their earned health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the first time in the nation’s history. Among its many priorities, this legislation will expand health care for Post-9/11 combat veterans, create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure, expand VA’s list of service presumptions, and improve resources to support VA’s claims processing.
Tester is the only member of the Montana delegation who sits on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He has long been dedicated to identifying a path forward for unaddressed toxic exposure issues alongside Veterans Service Organizations—remaining committed to delivering comprehensive relief to all generations of toxic-exposed veterans. Last month, he announced a bipartisan agreement on the comprehensive bill and expressed urgency that a Senate floor vote take place swiftly.
Watch Tester’s floor speech HERE.