(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today released the following statement following a failed vote to advance the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022:
“This eleventh-hour act of cowardice will actively harm this country’s veterans and their families. Republicans chose today to rob generations of toxic-exposed veterans across this country of the health care and benefits they so desperately need—and make no mistake, more veterans will suffer and die as a result.”
Tester was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to vote to advance the bill.
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 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. In May, he announced a bipartisan agreement on the comprehensive bill and expressed urgency that a Senate floor vote take place swiftly.