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Garamendi Introduces OATH Act to Help Veterans and Service Members Seeking Health Services

May 9, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC—Today, Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA) and Austin Scott (R-GA) introduced H.R. 2617, the bipartisan Occupational and Environmental Transparency Health (OATH) Act.

Garamendi serves as Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee within the House Armed Services Committee, which oversees issues pertaining to U.S. service members. 

“Our service members and veterans deserve the best care available and to have their medical records accurately reflect any Occupational and Environmental Health hazards they have been exposed to during their service to our great country,” Garamendi said. “Currently, active duty members and veterans are unable to make disability claims with the Veterans Administration based on exposure to toxic hazards such as mold, chemicals, and open-air burn pits because those exposures are not tracked in their medical records. This bill will change that and provide our nation’s service members with the support they deserve.”

"Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a service member to be exposed to toxic substances while performing duties and missions both here at home and abroad. The OATH Act will ensure medical records of our active duty service members and veterans accurately track exposure to harmful chemicals, open-air burn pits, and mold in an effort to better diagnose and treat illnesses down the road,” said Rep. Austin Scott.  

The OATH Act is a bipartisan effort to ensure active duty military personnel and veterans can accurately document any toxins they were exposed to while deployed supporting military operations. Currently, only 173,000 veterans and service members have registered for the VA’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, out of a total of more than 3 million post-9/11 veterans.  

The OATH Act is endorsed by:

Military Officers Association of America; Reserve Officers Association; Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America; Association of the United States Navy; Air Force Sergeants Association. 

The full text of the OATH Act can be read here