Seven House Members Cosponsor IAVA-Backed Burn Pits Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC (September 14, 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. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Albio Sires (D-NJ), David Valadao (R-CA), Doug Lamborn (R-CA), and Bill Keating (D-MA) have become cosponsors of the Burn Pits Accountability Act (S. 3181/H.R. 5671), to require the Department of Defense to track and report servicemembers’ exposure to burn pits and airborne toxins during their deployments.
Rep. Thompson is the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Kuster serves on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Meeks sits on both the Financial Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, Rep. Sires sits on the Foreign Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees, Rep. Valadao serves on the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Lamborn sits on the Armed Services and Natural Resources Committees, and Rep. Keating serves on both the Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committees.
“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 the leadership of Reps. Thompson, Kuster, Meeks, Sires, Valadao, Lamborn, and Keating in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.”
The Burn Pits Accountability Act, sponsored by Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Brian Mast (R-FL), now has 132 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.