WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) today led a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of colleagues in calling for inclusion of the Reducing Exposure to Burn Pits Act in the final version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (NDAA). The bipartisan provision, which was included in the Senate-passed NDAA, builds upon the Honoring our PACT Act and would help protect servicemembers from exposure to toxic substances.
The bipartisan coalition calling for the inclusion of the Reducing Exposure to Burn Pits Act includes Senators Welch, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Representatives Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA-25) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12), the original sponsors of the bill. The letter was sent to the Majority and Minority leadership of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services and the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services.
“This bipartisan provision…would help protect servicemembers from exposure to toxic substances and should be included in the final version of this year’s NDAA,” the lawmakers wrote. “[The Reducing Exposure to Burn Pits Act] builds upon the PACT Act’s progress by directing the Department of Defense to explore alternatives to burn pits for waste disposal, helping to prevent veterans’ exposure to toxic substances in advance.”
The Reducing Exposure to Burn Pits Act is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Wounded Warriors Project, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, and the Non-Commissioned Officers Association.
The Honoring our PACT Act was signed into law on August 10th, 2022, and represents the largest expansion of health care and benefits for veterans in decades, expanding U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances during their service.
Read and download the letter here.