WASHINGTON– President Joe Biden signed landmark legislation championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to deliver all eras of toxic-exposed veterans their earned Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and benefits into law.
“Providing generations of men and women who served in uniform the benefits they deserve honors the promise our nation made for their service and sacrifice. This is a long overdue day for veterans and their families living with illnesses as a result of toxic exposure who will now be able to get the care they earned,” Boozman said.
The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 includes a Boozman-authored provision to expand benefits to Vietnam War-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their service in Thailand after Arkansas veteran Bill Rhodes shared his benefits were denied because the VA didn’t allow him to prove toxic exposure based on his service location.
Rhodes has been a relentless advocate for making this legislative update and helping veterans who face similar circumstances. He attended the signing ceremony at the White House Wednesday.
“This is an important bill for veterans. I did my own research after being denied VA benefits and raised the issue with Senator Boozman who fought to right this wrong. This goes to show that one person can make a difference. I appreciate the senator’s leadership and guidance for getting the PACT Act across the finish line,” Rhodes said.
This is the latest successful push by Boozman to ensure toxic-exposed veterans get the benefits they earned.
In June, President Biden signed into law the Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas SERVICE Act, legislation authored by the senator requiring the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.