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July 13, 2022

Trone’s FASTER Presumptions Act Passes U.S. House Through Comprehensive Veterans Package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2022

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, Sasha.Galbreath@mail.house.gov 

Trone’s FASTER Presumptions Act Passes U.S. House Through Comprehensive Veterans Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman David Trone (MD-06) issued the following statement upon the final House passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022, which included Trone’s bill, the Fairly Assessing Service-related Toxic Exposure Residuals (FASTER) Presumptions Act. The legislation now heads to the Senate for final passage, and then to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“Veterans across the country, including the over 42,000 in my district, will receive expanded access to care and benefits through the Honoring our PACT Act. Today, I was proud to cast my vote to help get our veterans the help they deserve.

“Approximately 3.5 million veterans were exposed to toxic substances during active service, and many are now experiencing horrific health impacts, from aggressive cancers to chronic multisystem illnesses. To add insult to injury, the disability benefit claims process is cumbersome and places the burden to prove toxic exposure on veterans themselves.

“This is a sad reality compared to how this country treated its veterans after World War II, which included my father, who served as a U.S. Navy quartermaster in the Pacific. For him, and the millions of other American veterans, the G.I. Bill cared for the wounded and set service members up for success in life after service.

“This generation’s veterans served our country with honor; we must now honor their service.

“I applaud my colleagues for passing this bill to Honor Our Pact and deliver much-needed health care to America’s veterans.”

Trone introduced the FASTER Presumptions Act in May of 2021 to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs’ presumptive decision-making process, reduce the burden of proof for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service, and ensure faster access to their VA disability benefits.

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our PACT Act of 2022 will:

  • Expand VA healthcare eligibility to Post-9/11 combat veterans, which includes more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed veterans;
  • Create a streamlined framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
  • Add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service-connected presumptive illnesses, including hypertension;
  • Expand coverage for illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure;
  • Includes Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;
  • Strengthen federal research on toxic exposure;
  • Improve VA’s resources and training for toxic-exposed veterans; and
  • Set VA and veterans up for success by investing in:
    • VA claims processing;
    • Recruiting and retaining VA’s workforce; and
    • Expanding VA’s healthcare infrastructure via leases.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the mental health and addiction crises, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

Follow Congressman Trone at @RepDavidTrone for updates on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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