U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today issued the following statement after voting for the Honoring Our PACT Act, comprehensive legislation to provide toxic-exposed veterans with health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):
“I am committed to ensuring that our veterans have access to the care they have earned, which is why I voted for this important bill. The PACT Act will provide new and important benefits to thousands of veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances. The bill also includes authorization for a new medical lease in Lawrence, Indiana, which will help our Hoosier veterans receive better service.
“While I support this bill, I am disappointed that Senate Democrats rejected an amendment to fix a budget gimmick issue included in the legislation. I voted for an amendment to fix this issue, because I believe this fix would help ensure the PACT Act’s ultimate success.
“When this bill becomes law, oversight will be essential. We must not allow the presumptions of exposure that are extended under this legislation to overwhelm the VA system. The VA must be provided with the resources necessary to prevent any veteran covered under this legislation from waiting for care,” said Senator Young.
The legislation passed the Senate 86 to 11. The bipartisan 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 the VA’s list of service presumptions, and improve resources to support VA’s claims processing.
Senator Young previously voted for this bill in June. Due to technical errors in the version he voted for and the Senate passed in June, the bill had to be approved again by Congress, allowing for an opportunity to improve the bill via amendments.