Dear American Legion Family and Friends,
I hope you were as proud last week as I was when I learned the Senate passed the PACT Act, which will improve the lives of millions of veterans suffering from toxic exposure.
The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act is the most comprehensive toxic exposure legislation ever to pass Congress. It is a monumental, once in a generation, piece of legislation that will carry an impact similar to that of the original GI Bill.
The House will need to approve the Senate bill, which should happen as early as today. Once signed into law, the PACT Act will mean that veterans who were exposed to noxious fumes emanating from burn pits will have access to VA care and benefits. It also will reform VA’s presumptive decision-making process.
This achievement, in part, is thanks to the nearly 19,000 American Legion Family members who took action on our advocacy alerts and contacted their senators to encourage passing this legislation. To sign up to receive future advocacy alerts in participate in campaigns, visit the Legion’s Legislative Action Center.
The PACT Act closely followed the signing of nine new legislative achievements into law by President Biden. Among the bills were those that expand veterans’ access to breast cancer screenings; strengthen oversight by VA’s Office of Inspector General to issue subpoenas in certain circumstances; and extending a program to compensate veterans exposed to radiation.
But we still have work to do.
The recent legislation has accomplished several of our priorities for this session of Congress. However, there are still critical bills that Congress should approve on behalf of our nation’s veterans, including ones that would:
• Ensure the process of naturalization through military service is completed prior to discharge. Unfortunately, many veteran immigrants have been deported after discharge because they were unable to acquire U.S. citizenship while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
• Create a National Buddy Check week to help address the veteran suicide epidemic. Not only did The American Legion create the Buddy Check concept but it recent Be The One campaign broadens the initiative to include building awareness to reduce the suicide rate.
We will keep advocating for these important measures. But we need your support, too.
There are many ways in which you can help The American Legion continue its legacy of legislative achievements. One simple way is to sign up to receive our action alerts. These easy-to-fill-out forms allow you to contact your members of Congress directly and convey your support for important legislation.
Your support is critical to supporting our nation’s veterans, servicemembers and their family members. And it is just one of many ways that The American Legion demonstrates that we are …
Veterans Strengthening America.
Paul E. Dillard
The American Legion