Legislation Includes a Number of Provisions to Reform VA and Hold VA Employees Accountable
May 13 2016
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, this week sponsored the Veterans First Act (S. 2921) – bipartisan legislation to demand a higher level of accountability from employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Included in the Veterans First Act are key provisions of the Moran-Blumenthal Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015, which prioritize studying toxic exposure and the potential connection to heath conditions affecting descendants of veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service.
“Those who serve our country with honor and duty do not expect their choices to negatively impact the health of their children or grandchildren,” Sen. Moran said. “Often the impacts of toxic exposure don’t appear until long after veterans have returned home. We must address these painful wounds of war for future generations by understanding the health risks and symptoms of exposure. I am pleased that toxic exposure research was prioritized in the Veterans First Act. With nearly half the U.S. Senate in support of addressing the potential health conditions in family members of veterans exposed to toxins, I am hopeful this legislative measure will quickly pass the full Senate.”
Key provisions stemming from the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015 were included in the Veterans First Act (S. 2921). These include a scientific review and assessment conducted by National Academy of Medicine regarding toxicological and epidemiological research on descendants of individuals with toxic exposure and addressing the scope and methodology required to conduct adequate scientific research of descendants of individuals with toxic exposure in the future. Additionally, the bill would create a board to advise the VA Secretary and the research entity conducting the research on toxic exposure.
This bipartisan, bicameral bill has 48 co-sponsors and is supported by the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), AMVETS, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and Rolling Thunder.
Sen. Moran has been a vocal advocate for research into toxic exposure, securing the inclusion of a study on the subject during the April mark-up of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.
Click here to view the full text of S. 2921, the Veterans First Act.
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