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Veterans' toxic exposure bill called 'the cost of war'

Legislation would help 3.5 million vets, but could cost $1 trillion.

WASHINGTON — Congress is working to help helping veterans who suffer from toxic exposure.

The "Honoring Our Pact Act" is believed to be the most ambitious legislation regarding military toxic exposure since the  "Agent Orange Act" following the Vietnam War.

The new measure would secure benefits and primary care for veterans exposed to toxic substances from burn pits.

It passed the House Veterans Affairs Committee last week on a 14-11 vote.

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia, 2nd District) is confident that the measure will pass in the full House, despite the projected $1 trillion price-tag.

"It's the cost of war," she said. "If veterans serve our country, defend our nation and put their lives on the line, we have to take care of them."

The bill will expand care to an additional 3.5 million veterans.