On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed into law nine bills that “honor and improve care” for United States military veterans.
The bills expand veteran care in a number of ways, including requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to perform breast cancer screenings on women who are exposed to toxic conditions and expanding preventative care for veterans who served near burn pits.
“Less than one percent of the population risk everything to defend our nation and our values and everything we hold dear. And you know, the 99 percent of us who don’t, we owe them, we owe them big,” Biden said prior to signing the bills. “And that’s what today is all about, is paying a debt in my view.”
“In the State of the Union, I talked about needing to talk about the burn pits that incinerate waste of war. Tires, poisonous chemicals, jet fuels, and so much more I won’t even mention. Toxic smoke with thick poison spreading through our bases and into the lungs of our troops. And when they came home, many of the fittest and best trained warriors we ever had were not the same. Headaches, numbness, dizziness, cancer,” he said, adding, “My son Beau was one of them.”
Sens. John Boozman (R-AR) Susan Collins (R-ME), and Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) were among the lawmakers who attended the signing.
Senator Tester, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, tweeted, “Honored to be at the White House as three of my veterans bills were signed into law. These new laws will expand our vets’ access to lifesaving breast cancer screenings and care, strengthen VA oversight, and improve VA’s facility-naming process. Today is a great day for our vets!”
The White House sent American Military News the following list of the bills that Biden signed:
- United States Army Rangers Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act
- Daniel Kahikina Akaka Department of Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinic
- Col. Gail S. Halvorsen “Candy Bomber” Veterans Center
- VA Facility Name Transfer Act
- Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act of 2021
- Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program Restoration and Recovery Act of 2022
- Radiation Exposure Compensation Extension Act of 2022
- Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options for Veterans Act
- Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act’