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Five New Members of Congress Back IAVA-Led Burn Pits Bill

WASHINGTON, DC (October 30, 2018) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading voice of the Post-9/11 generation of veterans, is proud to announce that U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Bill Foster (D-IL), Daniel Donovan (R-NY), Mo Brooks (R-AL), and Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) have become cosponsors of the Burn Pits Accountability Act (S. 3181/H.R. 5671), to improve the tracking and reporting of servicemembers’ exposure to burn pits and airborne toxins during their deployments.

Rep. Gallagher, of Wisconsin, is a Marine Corps veteran who deployed twice to Iraq’s Al Anbar Province as a Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence Officer and Regional Affairs Officer. In Congress since 2016, he serves on the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.

Rep. Foster serves on the House Financial Services and Science committees. Before he was elected to Congress in 2012, he worked as a high-energy physicist and particle accelerator designer in Illinois.

Rep. Donovan served as a New York District Attorney for 12 years before coming to Congress in 2015. He Chairs the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications with oversight of federal anti-terror and disaster response policies.

Rep. Brooks, who came to Congress in 2010, serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees and is the founder of the Army Aviation Caucus. He previously served as a District Attorney, Special Assistant Attorney General, and as an Alabama state legislator.

Before coming to Congress in 2016, Rep. Smucker owned and operated the Smucker Company for 25 years and served two terms in the Pennsylvania Senate. He now serves on the House Budget, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Education and the Workforce committees.

“Our most recent IAVA Member Survey told us that 80% of IAVA members report being exposed to burn pits and 63% of those exposed report symptoms,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “Approximately 3.5 million servicemembers and veterans are eligible for enrollment in the VA’s Burn Pit and Toxic Exposures Registry, according to the VA, yet only 154,000 are enrolled. We want to thank Reps. Gallagher, Foster, Donovan, Brooks, and Smucker for cosponsoring this important legislation to require accountability by the Department of Defense to track airborne toxic exposures.”

The Burn Pits Accountability Act, sponsored by Reps. and post-9/11 veterans Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Brian Mast (R-FL), now has 143 House cosponsors, and 10 in the Senate. The bill is among IAVA’s Big Six priorities for 2018, including Suicide Prevention, Government Reform, #SheWhoBorneTheBattle, #DefendTheGIBill, and Medicinal Cannabis Research for Veterans.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.