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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Remarks by Secretary Denis R. McDonough

PACT Act Bill Signing
Washington, DC
August 10, 2022

Good morning. It’s an honor to be here with so many Veterans, their families, survivors, and of course, President Biden.

This is a monumental moment.

It’s our job as a nation to provide toxic-exposed Veterans, and their survivors, with the care and benefits they deserve.

But for too long, that didn’t happen—for too long, too many Veterans who got sick while fighting for our country had to fight for their health care, too.

But from the day he took office, President Biden has made it clear that those days are over.

He’s become the first President to proactively deliver toxic exposure care and benefits for the Veterans who fought our wars for the past 30 years, establishing presumptions of service connection for asthma, sinusitis, rhinitis, and nine rare respiratory cancers.

And now, by signing the PACT Act into law, President Biden has empowered VA to deliver the care that millions of toxic-exposed Veterans need, and the benefits that they and their survivors deserve.

And VA stands ready to implement the PACT Act now.

Veterans can visit to learn more about how this law will help them and their families—and we encourage anyone who might be eligible for PACT Act benefits to apply right away. 

Because we’ll stop at nothing to make sure every Veteran, every family member, and every survivor gets everything they’ve earned and deserve.

Now, there are so many people to thank for making this day possible, including President Biden, who has made this a top priority of the Unity Agenda.

  • our leaders in Congress, who came together to get this done.

  • and, of course, the Veterans who have advocated for this legislation for years, and their family members and survivors—who have served and sacrificed right alongside the Veterans they love.

In fact, it is my great honor to introduce two of those family members as our next speakers: Danielle and Brielle Robinson.

Danielle and Brielle are the surviving wife and daughter of Sgt. First Class Heath Robinson—the hero for whom the PACT Act is named.

And they’re joined today by Danielle’s mother and Brielle’s grandmother, Susan Zeier [ZY-er].

Danielle and Brielle are not only the survivors of an American hero—no, they are very much heroes themselves for holding our country, and VA, accountable for advocating for this legislation, knowing full well that it can’t bring back what they’ve lost and for making this day possible, so other families won’t have to suffer they loss that they have.

Danielle, Brielle: thank you, for everything.

Over to you.