Lawmakers comment on the Senate passing of the bipartisan “PACT Act”
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Veterans exposed to toxic substances in the line of duty will soon receive better access to healthcare. That’s if a bipartisan bill that just passed the Senate becomes law.
The “PACT” Act has bipartisan support – and a group of senators from both parties held a press conference to celebrate its passing.
Sen. John Boozman, (R-Arkansas) praised the bipartisan nature of the bill. “One thing that we didn’t want this to do was to be like our Vietnam Veterans that literally took decades and decades and decades. So this has been a lot of hard work. It’s the Democrats and Republicans coming together. And that’s true of veteran’s issues in general, which is so important.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D-Ohio) said “For generations we’ve asked our soldiers and our Marines, and our sailors, our service men and women to commit to our country as they do when they join the armed services, and we have that same commitment to them when we get home. And we finally did it mostly right with agent orange. It took a generation. We’re doing it right now with burn pits.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-New York) added, “So many veterans and servicemembers and their families have fought for this. This is a generational bill, so it helps anyone who’s been exposed to toxic substances over the last many many decades.”
Senate leaders say more than 3.5 million veterans have been exposed to toxic chemicals like Agent Orange.
Many recent exposures came from contact with “burn pits” – which were prevalent to dispose of waste collected on military bases during wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Senate leaders say 80 percent of burn pit related claims were denied by the VA – and this policy will change that if passed.
The measure is expected to pass the House and be signed into law by President Joe Biden.
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