Washington, D.C. – This week, President Joe Biden signed into law two bills authored by Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) to address the military’s use of toxic burn pits as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022. Ruiz’s bills will expand the Burn Pits Registry and enhance medical training on the health effects of burn pits.
“Today is an incredible step forward in our fight to get our veterans affected by toxic burn pit exposure the care they deserve,” said Dr. Ruiz. “With my legislation included and now signed into law, this year’s NDAA will help address the urgent public health crisis facing our veterans by expanding the Burn Pit Registry and helping physicians quickly identify at-risk servicemembers. Today is a great victory for our nation’s veterans and servicemembers, and I look forward to continuing the fight to give them the timely care they need and end the use of burn pits once and for all.”
“ROA hails Rep. Ruiz’s holistic approach to raising awareness and broadening treatment eligibility to take care of servicemembers who have been affected,” said Retired Officer’s Association (ROA) executive director, retired Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips.
Ruiz’s two bills that were signed into law as part of this year’s NDAA are:
1. H.R. 4397, the Department of Defense (DOD) Burn Pits Health Provider Training Act, which requires DOD to implement mandatory training for all medical providers working under DOD on the potential health effects of burn pits.
2. H.R. 4400, Burn Pit Registry Expansion Act, which requires DOD and VA to expand the Burn Pits Registry to include Egypt and Syria.
As the co-founder of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Burn Pits Caucus, Ruiz has been a consistent advocate for servicemembers exposed to toxic burn pits and their families.
Earlier this year, Ruiz joined Jon Stewart, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano (CA-42), Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02), and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) in introducing H.R. 3967, the Honoring our PACT Act, comprehensive legislation to get veterans who have been exposed to burn pits and other toxins the health care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.
In June, the House Veterans Affairs Committee advanced H.R. 3967, which includes several of Ruiz’s provisions to help veterans who have been exposed access crucial health care services.