AG Kaul Joins Coalition Urging Passage of the PACT Act
Federal Legislation Would Expand Medical Coverage for Millions of Veterans Exposed to Toxins
MADISON, Wis. - Attorney General Josh Kaul joined a coalition of nine attorneys general urging the U.S. Senate to pass proposed legislation that would expand health care coverage to millions of veterans who were exposed to burn pits and other military toxins.
In a letter to Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, AG Kaul and the coalition urge passage of S. 3373, which would expand health care eligibility to post-Sept. 11 combat veterans, including more than 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxins. The proposal would also add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to the federal Department of Veterans’ Affairs list of service connection presumptions and create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure. AG Kaul and the coalition are calling for the passage of S. 3373, the PACT Act, after the measure failed to pass the U.S. Senate when it was called for a vote July 27.
“The veterans who courageously served our country—many of whom now serve as law enforcement officers—must be able to get the health care they need,” said AG Kaul. “The U.S. Senate must stand with our veterans and pass the PACT Act without further delay.”
For decades, the Department of Defense (DOD) utilized open-air burn pits to dispose of garbage, paint, plastics, jet fuel and human waste generated on military bases overseas. The burning of these contaminants released an array of pollutants into the air, including known carcinogens and particulate matter. Active burn pits existed as recently as the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the DOD has now closed most burn pits, closure has not prevented veterans from becoming ill years after exposure. Medical conditions linked to burn pit exposure include a host of cancers affecting the head, neck, kidneys, brain and pancreas. They have also resulted in veterans being diagnosed with emphysema and asthma after service.
Joining AG Kaul in signing the letter are the attorneys general of California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.