Washington, D.C.—Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the bipartisan Honoring Our PACT Act, which will enable veterans exposed to toxic substances to receive the benefits and care they deserve. The legislation includes an amendment spearheaded by Representatives Deborah Ross (NC-02) and David Rouzer (NC-07) requiring the Department of Defense to study additional sources of exposure to PFAS – so-called “forever chemicals” – on military bases and make recommendations to expand eligibility for toxic exposure benefits. Congresswoman Ross spoke in support of the legislation on the House floor.

The Honoring Our PACT Act also includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Congresswoman Ross that gives affected veterans the opportunity to seek compensation for exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina. For decades, Marines and their families stationed at this base unknowingly consumed, bathed in, and used water containing harmful chemicals and industrial solvents. However, North Carolina law has prevented them from seeking relief in court. The Honoring Our PACT Act corrects this injustice.

“During his State of the Union address, President Biden called on Congress to pass legislation to improve care and benefits for brave Americans who were exposed to toxic chemicals while serving our nation in uniform. The Honoring Our PACT Act meets this urgent need,” said Congresswoman Ross. “North Carolina veterans put themselves in harm’s way to defend our nation, and we have an obligation to provide them with the resources they need to live with dignity. I am especially grateful that this legislation includes my amendment to support veterans exposed to PFAS, as well as legislation that will enable servicemembers from Camp Lejeune who were exposed to toxic chemicals to finally pursue long-overdue justice in court.”

The Honoring our Pact Act:

  • provides access to VA health care to millions of veterans exposed to toxic substances;
  • requires the VA to presume vets exposed rather than forcing vets to prove their exposure; and
  • makes key improvements to streamline the VA's review processes for veterans to receive care for toxic exposure-related illnesses.

Congresswoman Ross spoke in support of the legislation on the House floor.