+Toxic Exposures Legislation

Last updated: June 26, 2021

Congress is in the process of passing comprehensive toxic exposures legislation.  The two bills, which combined around 15 individual toxic exposure bills, are:

U.S. House: Honoring Our PACT Act (Rep. Takano – H.R. 3967)

U. S. Senate:  COST of War Act (Sen. Tester – S. )

      • Full bill name: Comprehensive and Overdue Support for Troops (COST) of War Act of 2021  [bill text]  [bill summary]  [bill status/information]
      • Status: Passed out of Committee 5/26/2021

Among the bills’ major provisions:

    • Specifying new presumptive conditions for VA service-connection claims by toxic exposure veterans
    • Presuming exposures for VA service-connection claims by toxic exposure veterans
    • Creating a new framework for future presumptive condition determinations
    • Expanding VA healthcare to veterans with toxic exposure
    • Requiring various studies and reports

The two bills have many similarities but critical differences.  Veterans for Common Sense has developed comparison documents to help understand what each of these extremely complex bills is doing, including who qualifies as a covered veteran.

Comparison charts of provisions in the bills:

Veterans for Common Sense position statements:

The two bills would create or amend the following sections of Title 38 (“Veterans Affairs”) U.S. Code:

Service, Campaign, and Expeditionary Medals referenced in the bills (covered veterans provisions):

    • Afghanistan Campaign Medal (ACM)
    • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM)
    • Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (GWOT-EM)
    • Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal (IRCM)
    • Iraqi Campaign Medal (ICM)
    • Southwest Asia Service Medal (SWASM)