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Representative DeFazio Cosponsors IAVA-Backed Burn Pits Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC (August 21, 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. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has become a cosponsor 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. DeFazio has served Oregon’s 4th District since 1986, and is the longest-serving House member in Oregon’s history. He currently serves as Ranking Member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Coast Guard, a position he has held since 2014.

“Per our most recent IAVA Member Survey, 80% of IAVA members report being exposed to burn pits and 63% of those exposed report symptoms. I count myself among the 63%,” said IAVA Chief Policy Officer, Melissa Bryant. “According to the VA, about 3.5 million servicemembers and veterans are eligible for enrollment in the VA’s Burn Pit and Toxic Exposures Registry yet only 154,000 are enrolled. We want to thank Rep. DeFazio for signing onto this important piece of legislation.”

“Taking care of our military personnel and their families is an obligation of the federal government, not an option,” said Rep. DeFazio. “Burn pits used during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been linked to serious medical complications among service members, and unnecessarily placed our troops at risk for serious, and potentially fatal, health complications. The men and women in the United States military put their lives on the line on a daily basis to fight for their country, and in return Congress has an obligation to provide for their health and safety in every manner possible.”

The Burn Pits Accountability Act, sponsored by Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Brian Mast (R-FL), now has 119 House cosponsors, and 5 in the Senate. The bill is among IAVA’s Big Six priorities for 2018, including Suicide Prevention, Government Reform, #SheWhoBorneTheBattle, #DefendTheGIBill, and #CannabisForVets.

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.