March 03, 2022

Cori Bush Passes 4 Amendments, Votes to Honor and Care for Veterans Exposed to Toxic Waste

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), voted in favor of H.R. 3967, the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act or Honoring Our PACT Act, which will finally treat toxic exposure as a cost of war by addressing the full range of issues impacting toxic-exposed veterans, including access to earned benefits and health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Included in the PACT Act’s final text were four of Congresswoman Bush’s amendments:

  1. Amendment 32: This amendment would require that veterans who worked or spent time near the Manhattan Project in St. Louis be studied to determine the impacts of toxic exposure on their health. 
  2. Amendment 22: This amendment would require the Department of Defense to look back and review all known cases of toxic exposure on their military bases not only here in America, but also abroad. 
  3. Amendment 17: This amendment would incorporate race and ethnicity as demographic options in a study on the rate of cancer in veterans. 
  4. Amendment 18: This amendment would include a variety of external factors to be considered in a medical study on all veterans serving after September 11, 2001. Those factors include race, age, period service, military occupation, gender and disability status. 

“Every person deserves the best care and support our country has to offer, and especially our veterans,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush.? “Today, I voted yes on the bipartisan Honoring Our PACT Act to ensure that we take care of every trauma survivor, every family member, and every veteran exposed to toxic waste. I'm thrilled to see my amendments included for St. Louis, all of which are designed to more equitably and efficiently protect our veterans from toxic exposures to their health and well-being in St. Louis and abroad.” 

The Honoring Our PACT Act is a comprehensive legislative package that will open up healthcare to over 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service and finally concede exposure to burn pits and airborne hazards. It will create presumptions for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers, shifting the burden of proof off our veterans. This means that if a veteran served in a particular theatre at a particular time, they will be presumed to be exposed to toxic substances and therefore potentially eligible for healthcare and benefits. Critically, this bipartisan legislation will also streamline VA’s presumption decision making process, so that Congress does not have to keep intervening, and our veterans don’t have to wait decades for help. 

Leaders from 11 Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) including the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), The American Legion (TAL), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), Minority Veterans of America (MVA), and Burn Pits 360, among others, support the comprehensive bipartisan package. 


Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.